Jerky is one of the oldest and most nutritious portable snacks you can consume. Before refrigerators, drying jerky was a way to get the most out of your protein source, and traditional jerky was made using the sun, wind, and smoke from fires. While it is still possible to make jerky over an open fire, today’s jerky is made a little bit differently.
Let’s talk about the method and ingredients used to make this easy, high-protein snack.
The overall process of making beef jerky is still the same. As in, the process still includes drying pieces of meat over a heat source. These days, however, you can’t build an open fire in your backyard to roast beef jerky.
Quality beef jerky, such as Jawbox Jerky, is made by slicing whole muscle cuts of meat into thin strips of no more than ¼ inch. Beef jerky can be made from ground meat, but making it from whole-muscle cuts provides the best nutritional benefits. Once the meat is sliced, other ingredients, such as flavor and natural preservatives, are added, and this jerky can be marinated for up to 24 hours.
Once the meat has been sufficiently marinated, it is cooked at temperatures that reach at least 160°F to ensure that bacteria are destroyed. Jerky can be cooked in a smoker or a dehydrator as long as the temperature is set high enough to make sure the meat is fully cooked during the process.
Turning meat into jerky is one of the oldest ways to preserve it, and it can be one of the healthiest as well. Beef jerky is a naturally low-fat, low sodium, and low-carb snack, but it still can provide you with enough protein to stay full until your next meal.