Jerky is meat that has been trimmed of fat, thinly sliced and preserved by drying.
Beef jerky is the most common but jerky can be made from many kinds of meat. All over the world you will find preserved venison, elk, caribou, mutton, alpaca, turkey, duck, boar, fish, snake, crocodile, kangaroo, emu and more.
Here are a few of the essential things to know about making beef jerky:
All About the Beef
Ripsaw Beef Jerky is made from local grass-fed beef. Our cut of choice is topside (part of the round, for our friends in the US). This is the hardest working muscle of the steer and has the least amount of fat - perfect for making jerky! All our meat is sourced through our local butcher right here in Yungaburra, on the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland.
Mince vs Meat
Some jerky manufacturers choose to mince their meat. This allows the meat to be extruded in uniform strips. It dries quickly and makes packing easier. Using sliced beef means more hands on work in all stages of preparation and packaging. The finished jerky is very satisfying, and we feel it holds flavour better than minced beef.
Grass Fed vs Grain Fed
Grain fed beef is praised for marbling, the visible fat that runs through the meat. It makes a delicious, juicy steak but terrible jerky. Jerky meat must be lean with all visible fat trimmed. Fat is not preserved the same as the meat during the drying process. Too much fat will turn your jerky rancid.
Grass fed beef is lean, muscled, healthy meat. It's better for the cattle than a grain diet and it makes much better jerky.
Long Grain vs Short Grain
This refers to the visible texture of beef, much like the pattern of wood grain but in this case its all about how the muscle fibres line up. Cutting along with the grain, or 'long grain', produces a chewy textured jerky you can really sink your teeth into. Cutting across the grain, or 'short grain', makes a much softer jerky that is easier to bite through but tends to fall apart. At Ripsaw we prefer the satisfying chew of a long grain jerky.
Next time we'll talk about the jerky making process - marinating, dehydrating and smoking. What would you like to know about Ripsaw Jerky? Leave questions and comments below!