Best Meat for Beef Jerky: Choosing the Right Cut

The Best Meat for Beef Jerky

When you say beef jerky, obviously, the meat is beef. However, when we talk about the best meat for beef jerky, what we are actually talking about is the right cut.

Different cuts will yield different flavors. So, which one is the best? Keep on reading the rest of this post and learn from some of the insights we will be sharing.

The Best Cuts for Beef Jerky

Below is a list of some of the top beef cuts that you might want to consider if you are planning to make jerky.

Beef Round

Beef RoundWhen it comes to making beef jerky, this tends to be on the top of the list of many people. It can be further divided into sub-categories. You can choose top round, which is inside the leg muscle.

It is moderately tender. Meanwhile, there is no or little fat, so there will be minimal marbling. Bottom round, on the other hand, is outside the leg muscle. It is tough and cheap.

Lastly, you can also choose eye of round. The latter is the oval muscle that you can find in the rear leg. It is the cut that is used by most commercial producers of beef jerky.

Flank Steak

Flank SteakA lot of people might instantly be hesitant in choosing flank steak for a beef jerky because it is expensive. Nonetheless, the price is sure to be worth it. It is a cut that is derived from the rear underbelly.

It may not be tender or lean, but it is still chosen by many because it tends to be flavorful. The low-fat content is also a good thing since it makes it easier to have it processed through dehydration. As a tip, make sure that you slice against the grain.


SirloinWhen you mention sirloin, a lot of people would instantly think of premium meat that is used for roasting or steaks.

It is one of the tenderest beef cuts, which is why it will make a good choice for beef jerky that won’t be a challenge to chew. The outer surface of the muscle usually has a layer of fat, but you can easily cut it for the meat to become leaner.

Ground Meat

Ground MeatNow, this is one thing that can be quite unconventional for many. It is not a cut since it is already ground.

From those that are mentioned in this post, this is the most affordable, which makes it an excellent choice for those who are budget-friendly.

The key here is to choose lean meat, making sure that the fat content is kept at a minimum. The texture is different from those mentioned above, but many people will love how easy it is to chew.

How to Choose the Best Meat for Beef Jerky

When choosing meat or cut for beef jerky, always prioritize freshness. The meat will only be dried during the process and will not be fully cooked, which is why you will need to pick one that is as fresh as possible. When it is already old, it will be tougher to chew and will not taste good.

Choose a cut from the part that is not used often during movements. If it is from muscles that are overused, it will end up being tough and difficult to chew. If it is from parts that are not often used, it will be softer.

Pay attention as well to the flavor of the meat. It will be good if it is lean, which will make it tastier. The more flavorful the cut is, the better the jerky will taste.

Non-Beef Meats for Jerky

If you want something different with a more exotic flavor, it is best to stay away from beef. Look for other cuts that you can use for beef jerky. The trick is to experiment in small batches to see which one works the best.

One of the alternatives worth considering is deer meat, which is lean and tender. It is organic, has little interior marbling, and perfect if you want a gamey flavor.

Elk meat will also be a great choice, which has a mild game flavor. If you have to use pork, opt for the tenderloin. It has a bit of fat, but this will still make a good choice for jerky.

Wrap Up

By now, we hope that you already know the best meat cuts for beef jerky. The key is to choose a cut that is lean and will be easy to chew once it has been processed.

If you have to go beyond beef, there are also alternatives to consider, including deer and elk, among others.

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