If you’re going camping, on the run a lot, or just plain love beef jerky like we do, you’ll definitely need to check out our list of the best 7 beef jerky options. And, if you’re the kind who wants to make your own beef jerky, we’ve collected a couple of the best beef jerky recipes you can make for yourself.
What is Beef Jerky?
Jerky is a type of food in which a piece of meat has the fat removed and is cut up into strips and dried. The word jerky itself originates from the word “ch’arki”. This is a word which means “dried, salted meat” and the word originates from the indigenous South American language of Quechua.
The drying process includes adding salt to the meat in order to preserve it from bacterial growth and the subsequent spoilage. Thanks to the preservation process, jerky is a ready to eat food that requires no additional preparation, nor refrigeration.
If the jerky is properly stored, it can be kept for months on end in a pantry, closet, or other moderately cool, dry place.
While there are multiple methods of creating jerky, the most basic of methods only require having a means of low-temperature drying, and enough salt to stave off bacteria from taking up residence on the meat.
Prior to drying the meat, the fat must be removed from the meat because fat does not dry and increases the risk of spoiling.
The more modern processes used for mass production of jerky for commercial sale involve different methods to be employed. This can involve seasonings in spice rub or liquid spice, and processes that involve dehydration or smoking with a low heat.
The Best Cuts for Making Jerky
The makers of jerky have a variety of choices to make when it comes to defining the “best” for their products. One of those choices is the cut of meat they use for making jerky.
Different cuts of meat will naturally result in different textures and flavors in the jerky.
These are just a few of the different options for jerky.
Beef Flank Steak
Beef Flank steak is a cut of beef that is made from a cow’s abdominal muscle. This cut is known for being both thin and flat. It is commonly used in cooking for fajitas, stir-fry and London broil.
When preparing this cut of beef for making jerky it needs to be sliced across the grain to insure tenderness. Beef flank steak also needs to be well marinated to help avoid toughness.
One great thing about beef flank is that is cooks in a short time which means you get to eat your jerky sooner than later.
Beef Tenderloin is a boneless cut of meat which comes from the hip section of a cow. It is the most tender cut of steak and is most known for being used in restaurants to create filet mignons.
Rump Roast is a slice of meat that comes from a cow’s hindquarters where big muscles can make for a rather lean cut of meat. This can make for good jerky; however, it can also be tough to chew.
In order to avoid unnecessary toughness, the meat from a rump roast should be properly marinated prior to being dried.
Wild Game Meat
Another great choice for making jerky is venison. Venison is a type of game meat and covers a variety of meats that come from deer, moose, and elk.
Compared to beef, venison tends to be leaner and can mean both more flavorful and aromatic than a lot of cuts of beef.
As there is naturally little fat on venison there needs to be caution given so as not to overcook the meat.
The Best Beef Jerky Recipes
Many people think they have the best jerky recipe in the world. While we can’t guarantee these actually meet that standard, they are pretty awesome recipes we think you’ll enjoy making and eating. Test them out and decide for yourself.
Aunt Chris’ Best Beef Jerky Ever
The provider of this first jerky recipe claims the recipe is for the absolute best beef jerky you will ever eat. It’s a family traditional recipe.
The author’s great aunt made a huge impact on the author with this jerky recipe – so much so that she wanted a dehydrator for Christmas when she was only 16 years old, so that she could make Aunt Chris’s beef jerky. That claim seemed pretty solid to us as a reason to give the recipe a try.
The author suggests using beef flank steak for this recipe. It’s a lean cut, and helps you make awesome, thin strips of jerky. The suggested marinade helps to create a peppery and savory taste to the jerky.
The ingredients include:
Once you’ve gathered all your supplies and equipment and tools, follow these instructions.
- 1Slice the beef into approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick pieces.
- 2Place the sliced beef into a large sealable plastic bag.
- 3Place the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until they are all combined.
- 4Pour the mixture in the sealable plastic bag along with the sliced beef.
- 5Toss until the steak is evenly coated.
- 6Place in refrigerator for up to a day to marinade.
- 7Next, lay the strips out in even layers on the dehydrator trays.
- 8Follow the dehydrator’s instructions to cook until the jerky is dry, firm and still a bit pliable.
- 9Remove the jerky and place in a sealed container.
- 10Share and enjoy.
“The Best Ever Beef Jerky”
Everyone claims their recipe is the absolute best, no matter the ingredients used. So, digging through, when we came across this one, we decided this one was actually a potential contender for the title of best beef jerky you can make at home.
You’ll use London broil beef for this one.
Ingredients to use:
Gather your supplies, tools, and equipment. Now, follow these directions.
- 1Take the London broil beef, and thinly slice it to your preferred length.
- 2Place the beef in refrigerator safe container.
- 3Take remaining ingredients and place in a mixing bowl.
- 4Whisk ingredients together until properly combined into a marinade
- 5Combine the marinade with the sliced beef in the refrigerator safe container.
- 6Place the marinating beef in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for 24 to 48 hours.
- 7After the beef has finished marinating, remove the meat from the marinade, and discard the excess.
- 8Place the beef onto food dehydrator trays.
- 9Throughout the dehydration process, rotate the dehydrator trays for even dehydrating.
- 10You will know the jerky is done when it cracks when bent but does not break.
The 8 Best Pre-Made Beef Jerky Options
Now, for most of us, we’re not going to make it ourselves. So, here are the best beef jerky options we found from manufacturers.
This one hundred percent all-natural, non-GMO, gluten-free jerky happens to be absolutely delicious, on top of being healthy. The company comes from the Land Down Under, formed by two best friends who wanted to have a healthy jerky option.
This beef jerky is marinated in coconut aminos, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and a select blend of natural spices. The flavors include: Mountain Pepperberry, Smoked Chipotle, Classic Sea Salt, and Habanero Chilli.
And you don’t have to live in Australia or fly on Qantas airlines to get some. Kooee! Beef jerky is available online as well.
2. Perky Jerky
Another all-natural jerky, Perky Jerky comes highly rated by Men’s Health Magazine. With a subtle lingering smoky flavor, the original beef jerky is awesome. The right spices combine to create just the right flavors, while the high-quality beef makes it okay to eat on a semi-regular basis.
Flavors from Perky Jerky include: Sweet & Snappy Beef, BBQ Beef with Seoul, More than Just Original Beef, and Tasty Teriyaki.
Perky Jerky also offers a variety of other types of jerky including pork, and turkey with a number of different flavors.
Oberto is not only delicious but offers a variety of types of jerky and snacks. For example, trail mix with jerky. A clever idea for hikers, this combo is perfect for outdoor activities where someone needs an extra boost of protein.
Oberto offers a ton of varieties, including some limited-edition options like the Old Fashioned All-Natural and Pale Ale All-Natural options.
One great thing about this brand is that you can find it almost anywhere. So, not only is it great tasting, but it’s easily accessible.
4. Chef’s Cut
Most users describe this particular jerky as “addictive” and “impossible to put down.” So, that might be your one issue with it and better to watch out on your diet! Softer than the rawhide varieties you usually come across, the texture on this one is perfect.
Some of their amazing flavors include: Original, Chipotle Cracked Pepper, Sweet & Spicy, Asian Style Teriyaki, and the Homestyle Beef Bar. They also offer blends of pork and beef in a variety of meat sticks like the Jalepeno Cheddar or Original Smokehouse meat sticks.
If the flavor options of Honey Bourbon, Chipotle BBQ, or Sea Salt & Pepper aren’t enough to get you on board with Duke’s, the chunky, chewy texture should do the trick.
Made from real, all-whole ingredients, the offerings from Duke’s make for a great hunting, hiking, or fishing trip snack.
The Shorty Sausages from Duke’s are equally delicious and come in an even wider variety of flavors: Original, Hot & Spicy, Chorizo & Lime, Hatch Green Chile, Hickory Peach BBQ, Cajun Style Andouille, and Tomato and Basil.
6. Three Jerks
If you’re looking for a fine cut beef jerky, then the Three Jerks are your guys. Their specialty is Filet Mignon beef jerky. Oh, and Kobe beef for a limited-edition jerky.
The cut of beef really does make all the difference, and the Three Jerks know it. The tenderloin, or the Filet Mignon, is the tenderest part of the cow, because it’s not overworked like the top or bottom round cuts of beef.
Offerings from Three Jerks include: Original, Memphis BBQ, Chipotle Adobo, Apple Bourbon Churro, Soy Vay Veri Teriyaki, Hamburger, and that very special edition, Wagyu Kobe Beef – Black Truffle.
The all-natural beef bars, strips, and bites from Epic live up to their name. Seriously, this is some awesome beef jerky. The hope of infusing all natural, high-quality, high-protein food into the diet of modern man drives Epic to create some intensely amazing flavors in their various meat product lines.
Flavors from Epic include: Beef Apple Bacon Bars, Beef Habanero Cherry Bars, Sweet & Spicy Sriracha Beef Bites, Beef Liver Bites with Sea Salt, Wagyu Beef Strips, and Coconut Carnivore Trail Mix, Honest Harvest Trail Mix, Mountain Medley Trail Mix, and Berry Blossom Trail Mix.
Epic’s beef jerky offerings are all grain and gluten-free, and 100% grass fed beef.
They also offer a variety of exotic jerkies from bison, turkey, lamb, wild boar, salmon, and venison.
Krave jerky is doing it right. The flavors, the textures, the availability. You can walk into almost any drugstore and find the stuff, and it’s worth trying, unlike many other brands you’ll find there. Some Amazon users who don’t even like jerky said that they love Krave.
The marinade and flavoring on Krave’s beef jerky tends to be heavy, so no light-weight snackers should attempt this brand. But for those who love a rich, thick flavor, Krave will do the trick.
Flavors include: Chili Lime, Black Cherry BBQ, Lemon Garlic, Sweet Grilled Teriyaki, Pineapple Orange, Sweet Chipotle, Garlic Chili Pepper, and Basil Citrus.
Beef Jerky: Chewy and Delicious
Whether you’re going to make it at home or buy from your local grocer or convenience store, the best beef jerky combines the best techniques for drying and seasoning, and the best cuts of beef. Grab a bag and share with someone today.