Beef jerky a classic American snack. It is made of lean meat which is marinated and seasoned and then dried. It is salted generously to prevent it from spoiling and has a distinct taste which can’t be substituted. Originally made by Native Americans, this tasty snack is very practical and does not require refrigeration. It is part of the growing meat market which specializes in meat snacks and keeps people interested in new products. This is probably why a wider selection of different jerky is available nowadays.
Though it comes in many meat types and flavors – beef jerky is considered the most common one. Other types include teriyaki jerky, pepper flavored jerky and, of course, turkey jerky.Jerky requires a specific preparation process. There is the preparation of meat, making the curing solution, seasoning and, of course, packaging.The meat used is lean, meaning it does not contain any bones or fat. This is of course done with modern technology and not manually as it was in the past. Nevertheless, there is a personal or human inspection of the contents of the meat just for safety and quality reasons. If there is unwanted material it is sometimes easier to detect it via human inspection.
The curing solution is a key part of the process. This solution consists mainly of salt and seasonings. While the earlier prepared meat is being defrosted and cut up, the solution is pre-heated to the required temperature. The meat will have released natural juices and had been dipped in the curing solution for a very long time.
After this process, the meat needs to be cooled down and shaped into blocks. When it is frozen it will be easier to cut strips from the meat blocks and thus get the distinct jerky form. From there on, the strips are placed into ovens to be dried. Sometimes this process can last as long as 10 hours. The crucial part of this process is to rid the strips from any sort of moisture. Jerky is known for being well seasoned but above all a dried meat product.
And last but not least – how to pack jerky. Since there are many types of jerky there are different versions of the same package. However, it is usually found in vacuum sealed packaging with a ziplock, in order to retain freshness and the aroma. What is interesting is that for beef jerky alone there are several kinds of bags just to make a distinction among flavors.