Best Cut Of Beef For Jerky : Find Best Meat To Use For Beef Jerky

The texture and flavor of any beef jerky is dependent on the cut of beef used. This begs the question, which is the best meat for beef jerky? If you are new to beef jerky, this may not be an easy question to answer.

It is for this reason that we decided to write this article to educate you on the best meat to use for beef jerky.

The Best Cut Of Beef For Jerky

A well prepared beef jerky has typically a chewy texture without feeling too tough. Also, well-prepared beef jerky will usually have a salty flavor. Salt is a hygroscopic substance meaning that it can draw excess moisture from a piece of meat.

It is for this reason that salt is used in the beef drying process and ultimately gives beef jerky it’s signature salty flavor. Not all beef cuts are ideal for making beef jerky, though.

The best beef cut needs to be lean; this is because fat does not dry quickly. Also, too much fat in your meat can contribute to an end product with a stringy texture.

To understand the science of beef jerky, we need to first look at a cow and the parts of the animal used in the beef jerky making.

Cow parts can be broken down to nine cuts, chuck, rib, short loin, sirloin, flank, round, short plate, foreshank, and brisket. Now, let’s take a close look at each, and whether it’s suited for beef jerky making or not.

Learn Which Are The Best Meat To Use For Beef Jerky

best cut of beef for jerky


The chuck portion is located around the animal’s top shoulder and is used mainly for making bone-in and boneless stakes. This part is not ideal for making beef jerky as it has a high-fat content.

Using this part to make beef jerky will be time-consuming due to the excess fat.


Just under the animal below, the shoulder section is the brisket. And just like the chuck, this part is not suitable for making beef jerky due to high-fat content. Instead, the brisket cut is ideal for barbecue and making pastrami.

The rib

Located behind the chuck towards the cow’s rear is the rib. This part is synonymous with stakes. Unfortunately, it is not ideal for making beef jerky because of its high-fat content.

The plate

The plate is found in the underbelly of the cow, and this cut has a chewy texture. So is it any good for beef jerky. Unfortunately, the plate cut is tough and has a high-fat content and maybe too much for the dehydrator.

Short loin and flank

Just behind the rib is the short lion. This cut is very tender and is a prime choice for making beef jerky. The flank that is located towards the animal’s rear legs is also tender and has a rich flavor and is thus ideal for making beef jerky.

The flank, in particular, has a bold and meaty flavor and is an excellent choice for marinating. This makes it a perfect choice for beef jerky making.

The sirloin

Divided into top sirloin, bottom sirloin, and the sirloin, these parts are located along the top rear area of a cow. So are they any good for beef jerky making? While they have a top layer of fat, it is usually easy to remove.

Thus they are all significant cuts for beef jerky. However, sirloin cuts are not cheap compared to other beef cuts meant for preparing beef jerky.

The tenderloin

This part is so-called because it is perhaps the most tender on a cow. It is located between the sirloin and top sirloin. While it may sound like the best cut for beef jerky, it’s a bit too tender and does not marinade well.

And because of it being too soft when dried, the end result is not always satisfactory. As a result, it is not the best beef cut for preparing beef jerky. Another con of this part is that it is costly.

The round

If you asked what’s the best meat for beef jerky, then I would have to go with the round. This part is located in the rear of the cow and is sometimes referred to as the rump. The meat here is lean and has a detectable grain.

The eye of the round, in particular, is suited for beef jerky, it marinades well and is reasonably priced for most people. Most commercial grade beef jerky are made from this part.


If the round is the best for making beef jerky, then the shank is the exact opposite. This is the part that makes up the upper portion of a cow’s leg. It is tough and is best prepared as a stew. It is not the part you want to use to make your beef jerky.


Is all-beef jerky gluten-free?

Beef jerky is dehydrated meat; as such, it is gluten-free. However, some people add other ingredients, so it is possible to have beef jerky with gluten-based ingredients.

What is the shelf life of beef jerky?

Beef jerky is designed to stay unspoiled for very long. On average, beef jerky will have a shelf life of 1 year from the production date. However, it is advisable to consume the jerky within the first six months after production.

What meats can I use to make beef jerky?

As its name suggests, beef jerky is prepared from cow meat. However, there is always the option of being a little adventurous. Jerky can also be made from pork, chicken, and even turkey meat.


When it comes to beef jerky, leaner is better. Most of the beef cuts mentioned can easily be acquired. Also, there are plenty of beef jerky recipes you can find online if you want to spice up your beef jerky.

In conclusion, if you want to prepare your beef jerky, it is essential to know which is the best meat for beef jerky. This way, you can make beef jerky that has flavor and the signature chewy texture.

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