Best Meat for Beef Jerky

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Looking to make the best beef jerky? Well, you’re in luck! The key to mouthwatering jerky lies in your choice of meat. So, what’s the secret? It’s all about lean cuts!

Lean beef, venison, turkey breast, bison, and more – these options will have your taste buds dancing with joy. In this article, we’ll guide you through the top choices for your jerky-making adventure.

Get ready to embark on a flavorful journey that will leave you craving for more.

Key Takeaways

  • Lean cuts of beef, venison, turkey breast, bison, and pork tenderloin are ideal for making beef jerky due to their low fat content and longer shelf life.
  • These meats are easier to slice thinly, allowing for the desired texture in beef jerky.
  • Wild boar jerky offers a unique and distinct flavor compared to beef jerky, with a rich and savory taste and slightly gamey undertones.
  • Wild boar jerky is a healthier alternative to beef jerky, with lower fat and calorie content, making it suitable for individuals looking to maintain a balanced diet or follow a specific dietary plan.

Lean Cuts of Beef

The best meat for beef jerky is lean cuts of beef, which are low in fat and perfect for drying and seasoning. High fat beef cuts may be delicious for other dishes, but when it comes to making beef jerky, lean cuts are the way to go.

The low fat content ensures that the jerky will have a longer shelf life and won’t spoil easily. Additionally, lean cuts of beef are easier to slice thinly, which is important for achieving the right texture in beef jerky.

Another benefit of using lean cuts is that they are less prone to developing a greasy texture during the drying process. This allows the flavors of the marinade and seasoning to shine through, resulting in a more enjoyable and flavorful beef jerky.


Venison is a popular choice for making homemade beef jerky. Its lean and flavorful meat lends itself well to the jerky-making process, resulting in a delicious and nutritious snack. Here are some reasons why venison is a great option for your beef jerky:

  1. Health benefits: Venison is low in fat and cholesterol, making it a healthier choice compared to other meats. It is also rich in protein, iron, and B vitamins, which are essential for maintaining good health.

  2. Popular recipes: There are numerous recipes available for making venison beef jerky. From traditional flavors like teriyaki and peppered, to unique combinations like maple-bacon and garlic-herb, you can experiment with different seasonings to create your own signature jerky.

  3. Bold flavor: Venison has a distinct, gamey flavor that adds depth and complexity to your jerky. It pairs well with both sweet and savory seasonings, allowing you to create a wide range of flavor profiles.

  4. Sustainable choice: Choosing venison for your beef jerky is an environmentally friendly option. Hunting and consuming venison helps manage the population of deer, which can otherwise have detrimental effects on ecosystems.

Overall, venison is a fantastic choice for making homemade beef jerky. Its health benefits, popular recipes, and bold flavor make it a favorite among jerky enthusiasts. So go ahead and give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!

Turkey Breast

When making your own homemade turkey jerky, you’ll find that turkey breast offers a lean and flavorful alternative to traditional meats. Turkey breast is a fantastic choice for jerky because it is low in fat and high in protein, making it a healthier option.

The natural flavors of the turkey are enhanced when combined with the right seasonings and marinades. Turkey jerky recipes can be easily customized to suit your taste preferences, whether you prefer a spicy kick or a savory blend of herbs and spices.

In addition to its delicious taste, turkey jerky also offers numerous benefits. It is a great source of energy, perfect for snacking on the go. The high protein content helps to build and repair muscles, making it an ideal post-workout snack. Turkey jerky is also a good source of essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and B vitamins.


If you’re looking for a lean and flavorful alternative to traditional meats, bison offers a great option for homemade jerky. Here are four reasons why you should consider using bison for your beef jerky:

  1. Lean and Healthy: Bison meat is incredibly lean, containing less fat and calories compared to beef. This makes it a perfect choice for those who are conscious about their health and fitness.

  2. Rich in Protein: Bison jerky is packed with high-quality protein, which helps in building and repairing muscles. It’s a great snack option for athletes or anyone looking to increase their protein intake.

  3. Nutrient-Dense: Bison meat is rich in essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. These nutrients play a vital role in maintaining a healthy immune system and promoting overall well-being.

  4. Distinctive Flavor: Bison jerky has a unique, rich flavor that sets it apart from other meats. It has a slightly sweet and earthy taste that is both satisfying and delicious.

Pork Tenderloin

You’ll be delighted to discover that pork tenderloin is a versatile and tender cut of meat that can be prepared in a variety of delicious ways.

When it comes to marinating techniques for pork tenderloin, the possibilities are endless. You can create a simple marinade using ingredients like soy sauce, garlic, and brown sugar for a sweet and savory flavor. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can try a spicy marinade with chili powder, cayenne pepper, and lime juice.

As for cooking methods, pork tenderloin can be grilled, roasted, or even pan-seared. Grilling imparts a smoky flavor and beautiful grill marks, while roasting in the oven ensures a juicy and tender result. Pan-searing is a quick and easy method that creates a deliciously caramelized crust.

Whichever marinating technique or cooking method you choose, pork tenderloin is sure to be a crowd-pleasing dish.

Chicken Breast

To prepare a delicious chicken breast, simply season it with your favorite herbs and spices. Chicken breast is not only a tasty protein option, but it also offers several health benefits for beef jerky.

Here are some reasons why you should consider using chicken breast for your jerky:

  1. Lean and low in fat: Chicken breast is a lean cut of meat, making it a healthier choice compared to other meats. It contains less saturated fat and cholesterol, making it ideal for those watching their dietary intake.

  2. High in protein: Chicken breast is packed with protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. Including chicken breast in your beef jerky will provide you with a protein-rich snack that will keep you satisfied.

  3. Versatile flavor profiles: Chicken breast offers a wide range of flavor possibilities. From tangy teriyaki to spicy buffalo, you can experiment with different marinades and seasonings to create unique and delicious jerky flavors.

  4. Light and tender texture: Chicken breast jerky has a lighter and more tender texture compared to beef or pork jerky. It offers a delightful chewiness that is enjoyable to snack on.

Incorporating chicken breast into your beef jerky repertoire not only diversifies your flavor options but also provides you with a healthier alternative. So go ahead and explore the world of chicken breast jerky for a delightful and nutritious snack.


Kangaroo meat is a lean and nutritious protein option that offers a unique flavor profile. Its low fat content makes it a healthier alternative to traditional beef jerky. When it comes to making jerky, kangaroo meat is an excellent choice.

To make kangaroo jerky, start by marinating thin slices of kangaroo meat in a mixture of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and black pepper. Let it sit for a few hours to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Then, dehydrate the marinated kangaroo slices until they are dried and chewy. The result is a delicious and nutritious snack that is high in protein and low in fat.

Plus, kangaroo meat is also a sustainable and environmentally friendly option, as kangaroos are abundant in Australia. So, next time you’re looking for a unique and healthy jerky option, give kangaroo meat a try.

Wild Boar

If you enjoyed learning about kangaroo jerky, you’re going to love this next topic: wild boar jerky! It’s a delicious and nutritious alternative to beef jerky, with its own unique flavor and health benefits.

Here’s a wild boar jerky recipe to get you started:

  1. Start by marinating thin slices of wild boar meat in a mixture of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, honey, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  2. Let the meat marinate for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to penetrate.
  3. After marinating, lay the slices of meat on a dehydrator tray or oven rack and dry at a low temperature for several hours until the jerky is firm and chewy.
  4. Enjoy your homemade wild boar jerky as a protein-packed snack or a flavorful addition to your favorite dishes.

But the benefits of wild boar jerky go beyond its taste. It’s also a great source of lean protein, iron, and zinc. Plus, it’s lower in fat and calories compared to traditional beef jerky.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Any Type of Meat to Make Beef Jerky or Are There Specific Cuts That Work Best?

You can use different types of meat to make beef jerky, but there are specific cuts that work best. The choice of meat affects the texture and flavor. Experiment with different spices and marinades to find your favorite combination.

Are There Any Health Benefits to Using Lean Cuts of Beef for Beef Jerky?

Using lean cuts of beef for beef jerky offers health benefits such as lower fat content and higher protein. However, alternative meats like turkey and chicken can also be used for a leaner option.

Can I Use Game Meats Like Venison, Kangaroo, or Wild Boar to Make Beef Jerky?

You can definitely use game meats like venison, kangaroo, or wild boar to make beef jerky. The pros include unique flavors and leaner meat. However, be mindful of the cons, such as gamey taste and potential toughness. As for seasoning options, the possibilities are endless!

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Turkey Breast for Beef Jerky?

When it comes to using turkey breast for beef jerky, there are both advantages and disadvantages to consider. The flavor of turkey breast differs from beef, so it’s a matter of personal preference.

Is It Possible to Use Pork Tenderloin or Chicken Breast to Make Beef Jerky, or Is It Traditionally Made Using Only Beef?

Yes, it is possible to use pork tenderloin or chicken breast to make beef jerky, although traditionally it is made using only beef. However, using different meats can add variety and unique flavors to your jerky.


So there you have it, folks. After a thorough exploration of the best meats for beef jerky, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to make the perfect choice.

Who would’ve thought that kangaroo and wild boar could be options for your favorite snack? It’s ironic, isn’t it? But hey, when it comes to satisfying your jerky cravings, why not go for the unexpected?

So go ahead, embrace the irony, and venture into the world of unconventional jerky meats. Your taste buds will thank you for it.