Last updated: October 25, 2021

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We know you love to snack as much as we do. Whether it's chips with lots of salsa and lime, or cucumber and grated jicama. Anything that whets our appetite is welcome, so today we're going to talk about the snack that raises the bar: beef jerky.

Originally from the North of the country, beef jerky is the perfect complement to any meal. Whether for its consistency or its incredible flavour, we can combine it with almost any food. From mashed up with egg to savouring the strips soaked with lemon and a bit of sauce.

Nowadays we are surrounded by many options, brands and presentations of dried meat that we can choose from. So in this article you will find all the information you need to help you compare, decide and finally choose the best option.




Summary

  • Beef jerky is prepared from the cuts of meat that contain a higher than average fat percentage of 18%.thanks to its dehydration method, the fat percentage is reduced and the flavour is amplified, as well as the sodium content of the meat.
  • There are three types of dried meat: Beef, Pork or Poultry; specifically turkey. The flavour as well as the nutrient content of each varies depending on the animal. On the other hand, dried meat usually keeps the original values intact.
  • Here are some criteria you should take into account before buying. These are factors such as presentation, quantities and even flavours that you can find on the market.

The best dried meat: Our Picks

 

Past Recommendations

La Diablita beef jerky

At the top of the list is this 3-pack of La Diablita beef jerky. Made with beef pulp, it offers a delicious option with 33% protein and not so much fat. It is marinated with lime and a blend of chillies.

It is a consumer favourite because of the quality and the easy-to-chew cut. It has TIF certification, which guarantees the quality of the meat used. It is a 100% Mexican product, ideal for anyone looking for a delicious snack.

Steakos beef jerky original recipe

Steakos offers us a meat of unbeatable quality. It has 70% protein and one of the lowest fat percentages. Prepared with a special recipe that includes fresh lime juice and chilli. It is TIF certified.

This is the ideal option if you are looking for a snack without too much fat, but still delicious. Due to the use of 100% lean meat, the percentage of protein increases considerably, making it one of the customers’ favourite options.

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An individual presentation, but delicious. Los Chumares offers a 95% fat-free beef jerky alternative. Marinated with a selection of the best chillies, it is the ideal option to whet the appetite before the main course.

Los chamares is distinguished not only by its 40 years of experience in the business, but also by the use of artisan methods in the preparation of its meat. They offer a completely handmade product, free of preservatives.

Buying guide: What you need to know about beef jerky

After this brief presentation of the best options, we will give you some information that will help you choose the best option. We recommend you to follow these factors or at least consider them, in order to make a more informed and conscious purchase.

The process of drying meat can take weeks or even years. (Photo: Anna Fedotova/ 123rf.com)

What is beef jerky and what are the benefits?

Jerky is strips of beef or pork, even poultry, that are dried in the sun. Once it has reached the ideal texture and dryness, it is cut into smaller strips, packaged and sold. It is one of the most popular forms of meat consumption in northern Mexico.

Nowadays, with the growing demand and business model, the processes are faster. The meat is usually marinated or salted, and then introduced into special ovens, which dry it, so production time is shorter.

In Mexico there are many presentations and brands dedicated to selling dried meat. There are even different types of flavours: with chilli, with lemon, with garlic, among others. As well as quantities ranging from 120 grams to a kilo.

Advantages
  • Food rich in protein
  • Can be preserved for longer periods of time
  • A source of iron, sodium and zinc
  • Usually less processed meats than salami, chorizo and ham
Disadvantages
  • High sodium content can be harmful
  • In excess it can cause kidney or heart damage
  • May contain carcinogenic compounds
  • Raises cholesterol levels

Dried meat: beef, pork or poultry - What should you pay attention to?

Dried meat occupies three specific types of meat: beef, pork or poultry. Regardless of which type is chosen, the process is usually the same. The change lies in the taste and nutrient content, which can differ from one option to the other.

Beef is the most widely produced and most popular beef jerky. It has an average protein content of 18%. The fat percentage is usually 8%. It is the option with the most variety of flavours, brands and presentations, as well as everyone's favourite.

Pork. It does not usually come in as many presentations as beef. It has the highest percentage of fat, between 15-30%, however it contains almost the same protein content as beef and the flavour is usually more intense.

Poultry. It is the option that contains the lowest percentage of fat, between 6 to 8%, approximately. However, the protein percentage is also lower and is estimated at an average of 16%. Turkey meat is usually used for the most part.

Beef Pork Poultry
Percentage of protein 18-23% 17-22% 16 to 20%
Percentage of fat 8-10% 15-30% 6-10%
Animal Cows and even bulls Pig Turkey

Buying criteria

Finally we will give you some buying criteria that will help you to compare between a brand, type and taste of beef jerky. We hope that these criteria will be sufficient to help you form a more informed buying criteria.

Presentation

There are two possible presentations in which beef jerky can be found. The choice of one will depend not only on our particular tastes, but also on the occasion and the way in which we wish to consume this delicious snack.

Strips. This is the recommended presentation if you are looking for a small snack. Ideal for sportsmen and women due to its high protein content and the practicality of this presentation. The strips are elongated, somewhat hard so you have to press them with your teeth.

Chopped. We recommend this presentation if you are looking to explore the use of dried meat in combination with other dishes. It is easy to eat, as the strips have been finely chopped to a texture similar to a denser powder. It is perfect for sprinkling on top of any dip.

Packaging

We must pay special attention to the packaging, as this is what will ensure the correct preservation of our beef jerky. The decision will depend on the approximate time in which we will consume our product: if we will use all the product in one meal or if we want to save it for later.

Resealable. The option that we highly recommend is the resealable one. Thanks to its system we can preserve the product fresh and make it last for much longer. It is the ideal option if you have decided to buy more than 100 grams of product and do not plan to use it all in one meal.

Standard. This is the simplest packaging. Recommended if you are willing to consume the product in its entirety during a meal, meeting or even as a snack. Ideal if you are not looking to clutter your cupboard with more products.

Dried meat usually keeps the meat values intact, although it can increase them in certain cases. (Photo: Agureeva/ 123rf.com)

Quantity

One of the most important factors is how much beef jerky you want. We should ask ourselves what kind of meeting or meal we want to prepare, so that we can choose the best option in terms of quality, as prices increase considerably due to this factor.

50g-100g. The smallest presentation we can find on the market ranges from 50g to 100g. The price between the two does not usually vary too much. We recommend this presentation if you are looking for a snack to fill your hunger.

Half a kilo.This is the ideal option for a meal with friends. It offers just the right amount to prepare a snack worthy of any gathering. We recommend it for those looking for a larger quantity for a considerable price.

One kilo. The perfect quantity if you are not only using the dried meat as a snack, but also if you plan to incorporate it into the main dish. This option is suitable for all those who already know beef jerky, who like its flavour, but above all, for those who know more than one recipe with it.

Flavours

Finally, you should consider that the options for beef jerky vary not only in terms of presentation, quantity or type of meat, but also in flavour. So we can find from natural meat, to dried meat with a slight touch of lemon.

Natural. The real taste of dried meat. It does not contain any extra ingredients. If this is the first time you want to try this product, we highly recommend this option. It is also the ideal choice for cooking, as it maintains a neutral flavour that does not overshadow the other ingredients.

Chile. If you are tired of the natural taste of beef jerky, perhaps a slightly spicy taste is what you are looking for. We recommend this version if you're looking for an extra kick in your snack. Prepared with different types of chillies, but mainly with red jalapeños.

Lemon. With a slight citrus twist. It is the perfect flavour for those who are looking for a balance between the salty and the dry meat. We recommend this flavour mainly for snacking, as it contrasts perfectly with a good hot sauce.

(Featured image source: Handmadepictures/ 123rf.com)

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