The 4 Best Cuts of Beef for Jerky (And How To Prepare Them)


Beef jerky is best when made from scratch. But the texture and flavor of your meat will depend on your choice of beef. Learn which cuts of beef make the best jerky and learn everything you need to know to start grilling your own snack strip.

The best cuts of meat for jerky

Excellent homemade jerky is one of the purest homemade snacks available. Chewy, chewy and delicious, once you get on the jerky train it’s hard to get off. That’s what barbecue smoking was made for.

still not many people make their own at home. It might seem like a daunting process, but it’s actually a lot easier than you think.

Beef jerky served on the kitchen table

The most important factor in the success of your homemade jerky will be the cut of meat you choose.

There are four cuts of beef that are perfect for jerky: leg, round, sirloin, and flank.

But what makes these cuts the right ones? Here’s my breakdown of the top four cuts of beef for jerky and how each might be the right choice for you.

meat cuts diagram


The leg is at the top of the cow’s legs, both front and back, and can be found under the breast at the front of the butt.

Because it’s typically chewy and low in fat, beef shank makes a great jerky. Due to its high collage content, it is also good for stews and soups.

It can also be bought fairly cheaply, making it a great appetizer if you’re making beef jerky for the first time. It IS usually sold with the bone and marrow, but for jerky, YOU try to buy it boneless to save time preparing the meat.


One of the most commonly used cuts for smoked beef jerky today. Beef tenderloin is found on the rump of the cow and is generally divided into two categories: top loin and bottom loin.

There’s a reason round meat is so good for jerky: the muscles.

A cow’s hind legs are among its strongest parts, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’re packed with muscle. It’s lean and high in protein. As a result, the fat content here is very low and is perfect for jerky.

You may find some sinew and fat on the outside of the cut when you buy it, but don’t be discouraged. You can simply clip and remove them and start cooking right away.

For an even tougher and more tender jerky, you can simply remove some of the round kernels. This is easily visible.

Roast beef

The sirloin must be created on this list. It’s tender, lean, and great for jerky.

The tenderloin sits towards the cow’s hind legs and is near where most of the animal’s muscles are located. This means, like the lap, it’s mostly muscle and therefore low in fat and high in protein.

One thing to note is that roast beef is slightly more expensive than tenderloin or shank, but for good reason: it’s incredibly tasty.

Flank steak

The flank is in thechest or belly area of ​​the cow, and it’s another lean, low-fat cut.

Its grain is clearly visible, which solve the cutting. This will also be aided by the shape of the muscle itself, making it easy to hold and work with while carving.

Flank is one of the most reliable cuts of beef for making jerky. However, like roast beef, it is also slightly more expensive than round or keel, so the price can be a little surprising for newcomers.

Have you decided which cut of meat you will choose? Let’s make a nice beef jerky!

The best cuts of meat for jerky

How to make beef jerky

Let’s start by freezing our meat. I know this may sound weird, but trust me.

Let freeze for 45-60 minutes but not until completely frozen. We want the meat to be tough enough so it’s easy enough to start slicing.

Remove from the freezer and place between two sheets of cling film or parchment paper.

Soften it with a softening hammer (like this), flatten the meat and soften its muscle fibers.

Look for the grain in your flesh. We’ll use the die as a guide and cut the meat in the opposite direction.

Cut the meat against the grain. Rather you aim for slices about a quarter and a third of an inch thick. You can deviate from this if you like, but try to make the slices fairly even.

If you’re having trouble pulling evenly, consider purchasing a meat slicer for the home .

How to marinate beef cuts for jerky

This is where we can really add flavor to our jerky.

I like to use a mixture of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and paprika like in this recipe.

Let the sliced ​​beef sit in the marinade in the fridge for an hour.

How to make dried meat in the oven

For best results, use a wire rack and place on a baking sheet. Take the correctly cut strips of meat and place them on the grill. The strips will dry faster because the juices will drain from the foil underneath.

Begin baking for 3 to 4 hours at an oven setting of about 175°F. However, this time may vary depending on the type and efficiency of the oven used, as well as the thickness of the meat.

However, don’t just set it and forget it. Check the progress of your jerky from time to time.

Fortunately, it’s easy to know how to know when jerky is ready. As you approach the three hour mark, you can pull a strip of jerky out of the oven and give it a try. When tasting, pay attention to the texture of the meat. If it feels too soft or quite meaty, put it back in the oven. When you feel it’s chewy and chewy, you can remove the remaining jerky from the oven.

It should be noted that the drier the jerky, the easier it is to store and preserve. It’s a fine line to walk though, so don’t overdo it or you risk turning it into brittle cookies.

How to store beef jerky

Find a good airtight container and store your jerky in it. It can be stored in an airtight container for about a week.

If you think your jerky is a bit greasy or undercooked, you can store it in the fridge.