Last updated: August 16, 2021

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In the past, jerky was a popular food on journeys among the indigenous peoples of America. The meat was dried so that it would keep longer. A great side effect is that it not only keeps for a long time, but also tastes very good. Today, beef jerky is available in many variations from sweet, salty, smoky to spicy.

But what do you have to look out for when buying? First, we compared different beef jerky products and highlighted the most important features. Then we present the most important buying criteria and answer the most frequently asked questions about beef jerky.




The most important facts

  • Beef jerky comes in different flavours.
  • An indicator of good beef jerky is a high protein content.
  • If bought jerky is too expensive, you can simply make it yourself at home.

The Best Beef Jerky: Our Picks

In this section we have looked at different beef jerkies that are available on the market. This will make it easier for you to decide which beef jerky to buy, as we have also looked at different tastes.

Buying and evaluation criteria for beef jerky

To help you choose from a wide range of beef jerky products. We have put together various buying and evaluation criteria. These will help you find your new favourite beef jerky. The criteria are as follows:

Next, we will present you with the criteria that will simplify your decision and help you make the right choice.

Protein content

The protein content is a decisive criterion for quality, which is why we emphasise it. Bad beef jerky contains less protein than good beef jerky. The reason is cost saving, which is achieved by using a low-quality meat that is rich in fat and water.

In addition, when the meat is dried, it is not dried completely in order to gain more weight and keep the profit margin high. Because the meat now contains more water, there is a risk that the beef jerky can spoil more quickly, so more preservatives are then added. Which we don't want in our healthy diet.

Good beef jerky has a protein content of over 55% and less carbohydrates (sugar) than 15%. This means that you can tell directly from the packaging whether it is good beef jerky or not!

Taste

Taste is a very individual purchase criterion. Fortunately, there are many varieties of beef jerky. There are variations in sweet, spicy, smoky and salty. They are usually sold under the names Sweet & Hot, Barbecue, Honey and Teriyaki

Package size

In retail, most package sizes are in 30g to 250g, and online up to 1kg per package. Small packs have the advantage that the beef jerky always stays fresh, so you can feel your way through the range, e.g. with a tasting set. However, they have the disadvantage of increasing plastic consumption.

Large packs are ideal if you have already become a fan of beef jerky and want to save on larger quantities. Furthermore, you minimise the consumption of plastic. The size that suits you best depends on your preferences.

Origin

If you want to minimise the ecological rucksack of your food, you should make sure that the meat comes at least from Europe, preferably from Germany.

In addition, meat from Europe meets certain minimum standards that guarantee a certain meat quality. Of course, it is best to buy beef jerky from your local organic butcher. The price is highest here, but so is the quality.

Ingredients

Some beef jerky contains sugar and artificial flavourings to intensify the taste. These are not entirely beneficial to our health. That's why you should pay attention when buying beef jerky. There are good alternatives with the pure beef taste.

Be careful if you have a soy allergy, as most beef jerky is flavoured with soy sauce. There are good alternatives with the Pure Beef flavour.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about beef jerky answered in detail

We now present the most frequently asked questions and answer them so that you can become better acquainted with the topic of beef jerky.

What is beef jerky?

Jerky is dried meat and was a food of the Native Americans. Today it has become a popular snack for in between meals.

Beef jerky is made by cutting lean beef into thin pieces and marinating them. After marinating, it is dried until the meat contains hardly any water. If a smoky aroma is desired, the jerky is smoked in an oven.

This gives the meat a long shelf life and makes it easy to take with you on trips, to work or on hikes.

How healthy is beef jerky?

Beef jerky contains a lot of protein, magnesium, iron and is therefore a healthier snack if we compare it with chips, for example. However, some jerky is added with sugar and flavourings to increase the taste, so these additives reduce the benefits of beef jerky. That's why you should pay attention to our criteria when buying beef jerky.

Can you make beef jerky yourself?

Of course you can make beef jerky yourself! It also offers several advantages, it is much cheaper, you can adapt it to your own taste and you know what ingredients the beef jerky contains.

The beef jerky is cut into thin slices.(Image source: unsplash.com/ thapanee-srisawat)

Below we present a quick and easy basic recipe that you can adapt to your preferences.

  1. Lean beef, cut into thin slices
  2. Marinate the meat for at least 12 hours (e.g. salt+pepper+soy sauce+garlic)
  3. Lay out the marinated meat on a grid and dry it for 12 hours in a dehydrator/oven, but if you have a smoker, you can of course use it to add the smoky flavour.

Ready, now the homemade beef jerky can be eaten and shared with friends.

Conclusion

Beef jerky is a healthy snack for in-between meals if you look for a high protein content and a low sugar content when buying it. The origin of the meat can also be a sign of quality.

If beef jerky is too expensive for you or you want to know exactly what the ingredients are, you can easily make it at home.

(Cover photo: valenciamarkyv69/ Pixabay)

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