How is Beef Jerky Made?

Thanks to modern technology, there are now many ways you can get your hands messy making some jerky right in your kitchen. The invention of dehydrators, air fryers, ovens, smokers, and other fancy-schmancy jerky-making gadgets mean you can have a go at recreating some delicious beef jerky at home. Although you can create some tasty jerky this way, it’ll be hard to replicate the one you bought from The Jerky Co the other day that made you wish you bought more. Dang it. Here, we talk about the different ways beef jerky can be made and what makes our jerky one you’ll come back for again and again.

How Jerky Was Originally Made

Pre-refrigeration days, many cultures around the world preserved meat by turning it into variations of jerky. So when you ask Dr Google “how is beef jerky made?”, you’re sure to find that it’s a snack that has been enjoyed in different ways throughout history. Native North Americans mixed dried buffalo, elk, and deer meat with fat and dried fruit, Incas dried pounded and deboned alpacas and llamas, while farmers in small towns outside of Rome smoked strips of donkey or horse meat. Even ancient Egyptians used to sundry large quantities of sliced meat under the hot sun. Fun fact: mummified jerky has been discovered in ancient Egyptians’ tombs. Chew on that!

How to Make Beef Jerky At Home

So exactly how is beef jerky made today? Depending on the appliance, method, ingredients, and types of meat used, you’ll get varying qualities of jerky. Typically, some quality lean meat is sliced against the grain into thin strips and rid of any fat, gristle, and tissue to prevent an off (i.e. rotten!) taste. Then it is marinated for at least half an hour or overnight in the fridge. Once the meat has soaked up the sauces, the strips are thoroughly dried using various methods and appliances. 

How Long Does It Take To Make Jerky?

Cooking times will vary depending on factors such as the thickness of the meat and the brand of your appliance. On average, using a dehydrator will take around 8 hours, 4-6 hours in an oven, around 3 hours in an air fryer with a dehydrator setting, and 2-5 hours in a smoker. The drying part of the process must be fast enough to dry meat before it goes bad, while removing enough moisture to prevent mould and bacteria from activating. A good way to check whether the jerky has been properly cooked is making sure each strip cracks but doesn’t break when bent, and does not contain any moisture or undercooked spots. 

Problems With Homemade Jerky

The dodgy thing about making your own jerky is that you could risk food poisoning and contamination if the meat is not properly refrigerated and prepared. Simply using a dehydrator will inactivate microorganisms but not kill them, so leaving it out could reactivate the bacteria or mould and make you seriously sick. Plus, niche hobby appliances can cost a fortune and you have to wait ages for that meat to turn into jerky! So, why not leave the prep work to us and grab some of our freshly packed jerky instead? Choose from our winning Sweet BBQ, classic Smokey, tasty Texan, or intensifying degrees of spicy flavours. 

Why Our Jerky Tastes So Flippin’ Good

Here at The Jerky Co, we use only topside MSA beef so you can be sure you’re getting quality meat with every bite. We also use 100% Australian sourced quality ingredients and our very own well-loved family recipes that have been passed down for over 20 years. 

Our jerky marinades for over 24 hours in our perfected blends of soy sauce and spices, is sliced into thin slabs, then air-dried on racks. This method removes moisture quickly and safely, resulting in our signature strip of chewy meat with a subtle smokiness. Need we say more? 

Get Your Jerky Fix!

Nothing really beats being able to tear open a pack of jerky right when you want it. Or a pack of biltong, droewors, snap sticks... And when it comes to biltong vs jerky, it’s all about which flavours and textures you prefer. So save yourself the hassle and get yourself a big mouthful of Jerky Co goodness ASAP. We’ve got a sweet selection of handcrafted, air dried meats ready to be delivered right to your front door. Visit one of our stores if you’re in serious need of a protein-packed savoury snack right now!
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