Pros And Cons Of Homemade Jerky

DIY is all the rage now - and for good reason too. It's satisfying to step back and admire something you've just made. But you know what's also satisfying on a whole other level? A juicy mouthful of our smoky beef biltong. Or jerky. Or droewors. They're all flippin' delicious snacks to have after a DIY job. But if you have your mind set on making some homemade jerky, read about the risks and benefits before getting your hands dirty. 

You want to make sure you know what you're doing, or risk contaminating the meat and getting really sick! So keep scrolling down for some homemade jerky facts to help you weigh up the pros and cons of making your own homemade beef jerky.

Savings: Is it cheaper to make your own jerky?

Making homemade beef jerky allows you to choose the type of meats and spices that goes into the snack. This way, you can source cheaper cuts of meat and use flavourings you have lying around the kitchen (like brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder).

If you've never attempted making jerky at home before, you might find a great jerky recipe online. However, it can be a hit-and-miss situation when you’re trying to perfect the flavour, texture, thickness, and moisture levels of your jerky. You might buy a lean cut that is too old or dry, or burn some sliced meat on the oven rack because you've cut it too thin. Also, you would have to keep a close eye on the temperature and the time your sliced meat is left to be cooked or smoked.

So, while you might be able to save some dollars on the ingredients and cost of labour, you could end up with a botched final product that disappoints. Unless you're okay with trying to feed your pet a burnt piece of meat, opt for our air dried meats instead. Using our 100% Australian ingredients, we soak our meats in marinade for 24 hours to get that unforgettable flavour. So if you're having a go at attempting homemade jerky, try replicating the lingering taste of our beefy bites - we dare you!

Food safety: Is it safe to make homemade jerky?

Unless you own a swanky food dehydrator or smoking equipment, it can be quite dangerous to try making homemade jerky. This is because improper preparation or storage methods can contaminate the meat. Without the right equipment and cooking techniques, dehydrating raw meat can allow pathogenic bacteria that can cause infections and sickness to grow. Salmonella outbreaks have been linked back to jerky that was not cooked quite right. To practice good food safety, you should always clean your oven rack, oven door, and dehydrator trays thoroughly after handling raw meat slices.

sliced jerky

Pathogens survive in the meat when the temperature of your food dehydrator or oven is not high enough. Some jerky companies try to work around this issue with contamination by adding heaps of preservatives to try to delay and stop mould, yeast, bacteria, and yeast from growing. Here at The Jerky Co., we use trusted cooking techniques that have been passed down in our family for over 20 years, which eliminate the need for preservatives. That's right, The Jerky Co. meats are 100% free from added preservatives.

Storing jerky: How long does homemade jerky last?

You should treat your jerky like any deli meat and practice good food safety. To avoid your homemade jerky going to waste, try to make just enough for each person to eat in one serving. An important thing to remember is to store your leftover jerky in an airtight container in the freezer if you are not going to finish it all at once. Check out our guide for how to store beef jerky to make sure you’re getting maximum flavour and freshness. Also, specifically when making jerky, lean cuts last longer than fatty cuts, so try to get rid of any visible fat unless you are planning to eat it all in one or two sittings.

Is homemade jerky better than store bought jerky?

Jerky companies often add preservatives to their meats to keep them fresher for longer. After all, packaged dried meat has to travel far to get into anyone's eager bellies. But fair warning, one particularly popular additive can cause some serious problems: sodium nitrate. Nitrates are often added to processed meats like sausages, bacon, and ham to help prevent the growth and spreading of bacterial spores, while making the colour of the meat last longer. 

The danger of nitrates is that when eaten, they can become carcinogenic nitrosamines in the intestines, which is linked to colon cancer. So if you are making your own jerky, leave out the heavy additives and share any leftovers or store it safely. And if you just need a quick protein and flavour hit, opt for our additive-free, air-dried meats that make for some super satisfying snacks.

Get yourself some meat

If you're keen on trying your hand at making homemade jerky, go for it! And if you come up with a recipe that gives our tasty meat treats a run for their money... have a think about joining our team of craftspeople. You can even add our bbq rubs to your meats to get that real Jerky Co. flavour for practice. Because truly, we make some of the best beef jerky in town. 

So what do you say? If you would rather eat some premium beef jerky ASAP instead of waiting for it to cook, order yourself a pack (or five!) of our tasty treats today. Fresh, topside beef delivered straight to your doorstep, Australia-wide.
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