Jerky 103 - Best Cuts For Jerky

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    Jerky 103 - Best Cuts For Jerky

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Hanger Steak

    What Are Desirable Qualities?

    With Whole Muscle Jerky, you are looking for a cut with low levels of intramuscular fat. This mean cuts that do not have a lot of fat inside the muscle of the meat, when you look for a good steak you want to see some nice marbling in the meat, for Jerky you want the exact opposite. If the cut has a large fat cap on it, like an Eye of the Round then that is easily cut off.

    If you are making Restructured Jerky this is a little less of a concern, just again, make sure you are removing any fat cap from the meat before grinding it.

    Best Cuts For Whole Muscle

    Eye of the Round - Eye of the round is a smaller muscle in the hindquarter that is usually very tough. It can have a larger grain to it but it works well to cut into strips for making jerky, as long as you cut across the grain. If this has a fat cap on it, it must be trimmed before using to make jerky. Since this is a round cut after slicing into thin pieces it is a good idea to cut it again after slicing it to form a more classic jerky shape.

    Flank Steak - Flank Steak comes from the abdominal region of the cow, it is low in fat about 3 oz has about 6 grams of fat. The muscle is a heavily used one during the cow’s life so it is a tougher cut so it will usually be a little less expensive at your butcher. It will rarely have a fat cap on it so you should not have much that needs to be trimmed off. After slicing this you can cut it width wise again to form a more classic jerky shape.

    Silver Tip - Silver Tip is taken from the shoulder and has a very fine grain. Because it is a heavily used muscle it can be fairly tough, which is a good thing for making jerky as it makes it very lean and less expensive. All around this is an excellent cut for making whole muscle jerky.

    Hangar Steaks - Hangar Steaks were very inexpensive until somewhat recently, Americans became aware of this tasty cut and started looking for it in more than just restaurants. The problem with that is unlike other cuts like filets and rounds there is only 1 hangar steak per animal and it is fairly small. So it can be difficult to keep enough in inventory, especially since it is a very tender steak, for this reason, the price has increased year over year and what was once a great choice for jerky is starting to price itself out of the game, which is a shame as this is an excellent cut for jerky.

    Restructured Jerky

    If you are wanting to make a reformed Jerky you will need to have some form of ground beef. The problem is that ground beef from the store is going to usually be 80/20 lean to fat ratio and that is higher than we would like. Your best bet is to grind a leaner cut yourself at home through a 1/8" plate. If you don’t have a way to do this look for 93/7 ground beef and make sure it is freshly ground.

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  • @Kinger no, it shouldnt make a difference, I was responding to this first thing in the morning before running to a class that I am taking at Iowa state so I think I was thinking at the beginning of the response that you cooked to an internal of 178 and then I realized my mistake but never fixed the response! Sorry, once Im back in Wichita, on Friday things will hopefully go back to normal!

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  • D

    @newbe … Afternoon… Keep the meat BELOW 40 degrees F… Bacteria is growing while the meat is warming up… then again when cooling down… The LAST thing you want or need is a batch of meat that has been warm for an hour or longer… One good way to do that is double bowl the meat… Ice in the larger bowl and the smaller bowl, with the meat in it, on ice… You don’t want your family to get food poisoning… Dave

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  • P

    I do it all the time. Still remember my mom saying it’s not a good idea. I’m sure if you are buying a nice steak and intend it eat it as a grilled T-bone you might notice some flesh cell break down (texture change). If you are going to use it in sausage you will not notice any difference. Made brats last night. Once frozen pork and elk. Refroze the brats. I do it time and time again.

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  • E

    Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
    As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
    I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
    Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
    Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
    I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
    Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.

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  • K


    Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??

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