The quality of beef jerky almost entirely relies on the quality of the beef that it uses. Unlike many preparation methods that may include different cuts of meats, various sauces, seasoning and cooking techniques, air dried beef relies simply on the removal of moisture from the beef. As a result, there is no way to hide poor quality meat. This is why at The Jerky Co, we strive to use the best possible ingredients for our products—from our source of lean meat, to the natural flavours we use, to the drying process, each stage of production is carefully designed to make sure we are proud of every packet of dried meat that we make.
What Cut of Meat is Best for Jerky?
People often ask what beef makes the best jerky, and different people may give different answers. A common misconception is often that the most expensive cuts are necessary to make the best jerky, but this isn't true. The most expensive cuts tend to have a high fat content. But the best beef jerky is actually made from the leanest cuts.
The Jerky Co believes MSA grade Aussie topside makes the best beef jerky. Many cheaper store bought jerky brands try to cut their costs by substituting high quality fresh meat for ground meat. This is often referred to as 'candy jerky', where poor quality meat—fatty cuts, even offcuts—are processed into a paste and combined with loads of artificial flavours and brown sugar. This paste is then spread into sheets, dried, and then cut into squares. It makes for poor quality jerky that is higher in calories and has far less nutritional benefit.
To read more about candy jerky and why you should always go for the real deal, check out our previous blog here.
The Jerky Co, on the other hand, uses high quality topside beef cut, seasoned with natural flavours, including soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and black pepper to make the best jerky. This means it is high in protein and has extremely low sugar and fat content.
Our Beef is MSA Grade
We believe it isn't enough to use any old topside off the supermarket shelf. Instead, we make sure we use the highest quality ingredients that are available to us, and the most important ingredient is beef. For this reason, we only use MSA grade Australian topside beef, making ours the best quality and most delicious jerky you can buy.
What is MSA Grade?
Meat Standards Australia (MSA) was developed by the Australian red meat industry to improve the eating quality consistency of beef and sheepmeat. It is a grading system based on long term research and supported by large scale consumer taste testing across multiple countries. It takes into account all factors that affect eating quality from the paddock to plate.
MSA calculates and differentiates on three levels of eating quality for each cut – MSA three star (MSA graded), four star (premium quality) and five star (supreme quality) in conjunction with recommended cooking techniques.
By only using beef that has the MSA tick of approval, we can ensure the highest achievable standard for our products.
Supporting Aussie Beef
As well as producing delicious, tender jerky for our customers, we strongly believe in supporting Australian agriculture. By using Australia's best meat, we are doing our best to support and improve the Australian beef industry. It also means our beef is fresher, and through our dehydration process, allows for our jerky to have a longer shelf life than that of many of our competitors.
What Makes MSA Grade Beef So Good?
In order to achieve MSA grade, beef farmers must consistently produce the highest quality meat, particularly among the most popular cuts. It means having to maintain the best farming practices to keep the cows happy and healthy, as poor farming practices inevitably result in poor quality produce. The cows are free of hormones, excess fat, free to roam in open pastures and are generally grass fed rather than being given a diet of grain.
The benefits of using MSA grade meat are not just in terms of the quality of the final product, it is also a marker of higher welfare agricultural practice. The world is slowly moving in the direction of engaging in more ethical farming practices, so when we source MSA beef, and when you buy our jerky, we're both indicating to the beef industry that we care about animal welfare, and are willing to pay a little extra to ensure that our beef comes with the highest farming standards in mind.