The Best Meat For Beef Jerky

beef jerky on a plate
Yummy oven made tenderloin beef jerky


Getting perfect jerky slices in terms of flavor and quality doesn’t just rely on how you make it. The most important factor at work here is the cut of meat that you choose for this purpose. With many cuts available on the market, it might be hard to make up your mind about the best meat for beef jerky.

For this reason, we’ve put together this guide to help you out on this mission.

How Beef Jerky Is Made

This delicious and also nutritious snack is made from lean cuts of beef that are marinated with spices and sauces. After marination, these slices go through many processes until they come out in that shape that we all love.

These processes are:

  • Curing
  • Smoking
  • Drying

In fact, the word ‘‘jerky’’ has its origins from the Quechua word ‘‘ch’arki’’, meaning dried and salted meat. Beef jerky is considered a healthy snack besides being undeniably tasty. We’ll discuss its health benefits later on.

For now, let’s discover the best meat for beef jerky.

Our Top Recommendations for the Best Meat for beef Jerky

To make the best beef jerky, you must look for the ideal meat. The following list should have you covered, including different types of beef cuts with varying textures and costs.

The leaner, the better is the motto for making the best beef jerky. You could theoretically use any type of meat, however you must trim off the excess fat. You should also take into consideration the price. Some premium cuts are meant to be steaks and cooked only to medium, with a matching price tag.

Wagyu Beef

One of the most expensive of its kind, wagyu beef should definitely be the top of this list. If you’re not familiar with wagyu beef or its popularity, you might want to know that it’s the “caviar” of beef.

What is Wagyu? This unique meat comes from certain Japanese cow breeds. One of its famous characteristics is the remarkable shape of its fat. See, when you take a good look, you’ll notice that the fat in Wagyu meat creates a beautiful, marble-like pattern within the muscle tissue.

Expect marbling like this if you opt for Wagyu by SnakeRiverFarms

It’s not our favorite candidate for only it’s looks, but we also think it’d make the perfect jerky for its unmatched taste. According to many people who tried it, a premium wagyu cut is rich in flavor and so tender that it practically dissolves in your mouth.

Imagine if you use it for jerky with all those spices and sauces complementing its natural taste!

For these reasons, we highly recommend that you give it a shot. While it’s probably somewhat expensive, it should be worth the cost. Given that SnakeRiverFarms sells meat harvested Wagyu/Angus crossbreeds, it will be somewhat lighter on your purse than 100% full blooded wagyu.

Wagyu Bavette

Bavette has some marbling, that’s true. However it still packs that exceptionally “beefy” taste that you are looking for when making beef jerky.

Wagyu Bavette is sold by SnakeRiverFarms

The Bavette has a very grainy texture, so ordinarily I would recommend to cut against the grain. If you like you beef jerky chewier, then you should cut thin slices with the grain. I know, I know, but don’t judge, some people like it!

Anyways, this cut of meat reacts superbly to being marinated. That is also a great plus that you want to look for.

Are you rich? Tenderloin

Though generally more expensive than our previous recommendation, tenderloin is an absolutely viable competitor. If you have the means, that is.

Tenderloin is also sold by SRF

Usually reserved for filet mignon steaks, it is well within the reach of possiblity to make jerky out of it. It is a lean meat, with some light marbling. The tenderness comes from where this muscle is located on the cattle which is a plus when creating jerky.

A wagyu tenderloin has a buttery flavor, and can melt in your mouth if prepared properly. If you opt to buy, then you might as well cut some off and eat it as a medium-rare steak. Check here if you want some tips on how to cook wagyu beef.

Secret tip – Wagyu Flank Steak

Flank steak is the jerky lovers wet dream. You won’t ever want to buy storebought beef jerky again if you try to make your own out of flank steak.

the best meat for beef jerky is flank steak
Best Meat for Jerky is Flank steak. Buy it Here

Flank steak is a lean cut, with some excess fat on the outside. Obviously you should trim that. Slice the meat as thin as you can. Recommended is 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness. Upping the ante by going with Wagyu meat ensures superior marbling and a rich, beefy taste.

Do you want tender jerky? Slice against the grain.
Are you one of those people who enjoy some chewing? Slice with the grain. Anything works. Side note: Slicing with the grain might be somewhat tricky, so make sure your knife is well sharpened!

Is Beef Jerky Good For You?

We’ve already mentioned that beef jerky is a nutritious snack. Yet, we’ve decided to educate you more about its health benefits.

High in Protein and Low in Carbs

This is one of the best things about beef jerky. For many people who are on a low-carb diet, it can be the perfect snack, combining great flavors and low calories.

Also, diets that focus on a large protein intake can include beef jerky without having you feeling guilty. See, 100 grams of jerky include about 33.2 grams of protein and only 11 grams of carbohydrates.

It’s hard to resist such a ratio, to be frank.

Contains Various Minerals

Beef jerky also includes an array of essential minerals that can be good for your wellbeing. It’s high in zinc and iron, which are great for enhancing the performance of your immune system and metabolism among other benefits.

Other minerals that you can find in beef jerky are:

Even though there are many plus points to consuming beef jerky as a snack, you shouldn’t eat too much of it. Since it’s a result of salted and smoked meat, it includes high amounts of sodium.

Excessive sodium intake can have a negative impact on the heart and blood pressure, to begin with. Therefore, beef jerky should be consumed in moderation to keep your salt intake in check.

Making Beef Jerky at Home

You can easily make your own beef jerky at the comfort of your own house. This way, you’ll have the luxury of adding all your favorite ingredients to match your taste.

The first thing you’ll need to do is bring a lean beef cut of your choosing. As we said before, you can use delicious wagyu bavette, tenderloin or the secret favorite: flank steak.

The next step is to slice your meat into thin slices then marinate those in spices, herbs, and sauces according to your preference. Then, pat them dry to get rid of any excess marinade. Make sure that the excess fat has been cut off before you try to cook it.

Next, you’ll need to dehydrate your meat using either a meat dehydrator or in the oven at a low temperature. For best results, you may want to keep your oven at 140-170°F for 4-5 hours until your jerky is ready. For best results use a convection oven (that has a small fan to push air around).

If the meat slices aren’t thin enough, you can leave them inside the oven for more time. You want to make jerky though, so make sure to slice the meat to a proper thickness to avoid this problem.

After that, you should consider leaving your jerky slices to dehydrate at room temperature for another day. Eventually, you should be able to enjoy your homemade beef jerky in all its glory!

Pro tip: If you’re not about to consume this jerky within one week, you can put it in the freezer for later.

Steakbuffs Secret Wagyu beef jerky tip

You can’t be bothered to do all the shopping, preparing, and work that is required in order to make beef jerky? Why not skip the hassle and order ready-made wagyu beef jerky from one of the best suppliers out there?

There are raving reviews, the taste is really first-class, while the price is reasonable. If you want to simply enjoy some quality jerky, then I can highly recommend Wagyu beef jerky by SnakeRiverFarms.

They are using their own proprietary recipe to complement the taste of Wagyu. Just look at the list of ingredients:

  • American Wagyu beef
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Water, sea salt and spices

That’s literally it. No preservatives, no bad additives, just plain old meat and spices. All, for only $9.00, which is, in my opinion, a reasonable price for a quality food item like this.
And the best part? If you are feeling adventurous, you can order meat from them and try to replicate the taste for even less!

Wrap Up

Searching for the best meat for beef jerky might seem like a hard task. Yet, as a general rule, you should know that the leaner the beef cut is, the more suitable it is for jerky.

Whether you choose wagyu beef or some other breed, make sure that you get the freshest cut at the butcher for the tastiest jerky.

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wagyu meat for sous vide