5 Best Beef For Jerky: What Is The Best Cut Of Beef For Making Jerky?

beef for jerky

Choosing the best beef cut for making jerky has been a topic of many home chefs.

Why trust me?

I'm an experienced food writer and passionate cook. My website, Cookindocs.com, features accessible, informative, and engaging content with quality recipes and articles that are thoroughly researched and enjoyable to read. You can trust my expertise with 8 years of experience in the field. Learn more about me and my work on this website, and check out my featured articles on TastingTable, Mashed, and 5-Minute Crafts. Read more about me HERE.

Beef jerky is a favorite of people of all ages, so people tend to make their own jerky instead of buying store-bought beef jerky so that they can have some snack whenever they want without sacrificing flavor or health.

What cuts of beef are ideal for jerky? Let’s find the answer in this article.

How to choose beef for jerky?


[amazon fields=”B00VB1X6XU” value=”thumb” image=”1″ image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

[amazon fields=”B00VB1X6XU” value=”button”]

Beef is a great choice to make jerky compared to other kinds of meat like pork and poultry.

However, to make a successful batch of beef jerky at home, there are some factors that you should keep your eyes on:

1. Meat-to-fat ratio

The meat-to-fat ratio of the beef cut is relatively important when it comes to cooking meat.

Specific recipes call for different cuts of beef with varied meat-to-fat ratios.

In this case, it is great to make beef jerky from a lean cut of beef with a little marbling fat or not.

It is definitely not ideal to opt for a cut that has a lot of fat like ribeye or strip steak.

These beef cuts are more suitable for pan-searing or grilling recipes because these methods help render out the fat in these cuts, moisten the meat, and make your dish more flavorful.

2. Freshness

Of course, you won’t want to buy a stale cut of meat for any recipe.

Beef jerky or any dish will taste better if being made from fresh meat.

Therefore, when shopping for beef for jerky, remember to visit a reputable butcher shop or grocery store which supplies fresh and high-quality beef.

Avoid buying the cut of beef with weird odors and spots.

3. Buy in large quantity

Since beef jerky is made by dehydrating meat, the resulting dish will be much smaller in size than the initial cut.

The beef will shrink to about ½ to ⅓ in size and weight of the original cut.

For example, if you are making four pounds of raw beef, you might only get 1.5 to 1 pound of beef jerky.

Therefore, make sure you buy a sufficient amount of raw beef for a batch of beef jerky.

Because it might take a lot of time and effort to make beef jerky, you should make a little more for every jerky batch.

Beef jerky lasts long though, so you will not have to worry about spoiled meat.

Best 5 cuts of beef for jerky

There are some cuts of beef that work better in one recipe rather than others.

In this case, the following five beef cuts are what we find best for making jerky.

Let’s check it out:

1. Top round

[amazon fields=”B01M35TBDH” value=”thumb” image=”1″ image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

[amazon fields=”B01M35TBDH” value=”button”]

The top round is the first option you should consider buying to make beef jerky.

The top round is taken from the primal round cut of the cow, which is known as a cut with a lot of muscles and connective tissue because the cattle mainly use it to walk.

The top round is a lean and economical cut that is perfect for making jerky.

The slow and low cooking method like making jerky will help tenderize the meat but still keep the chewiness of beef.

2. Bottom round

[amazon fields=”B0787Y4VSQ” value=”thumb” image=”1″ image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

[amazon fields=”B0787Y4VSQ” value=”button”]

The bottom round is another lean and affordable beef cut that is suitable to make beef jerky.

Since it has a lot of connective tissue, the bottom round is not a choice of many housewives if they are going to make steaks.

However, a slow cooking method like roasting or dehydrating like making jerky will literally work.

The bottom round has a little more trimming fat around the edge than the top round, but it can be easily trimmed or cut before cooking.

3. Brisket

[amazon fields=”B07BLXKCFJ” value=”thumb” image=”1″ image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

[amazon fields=”B07BLXKCFJ” value=”button”]

If you can afford a little pricier cut of beef, then beef brisket can be a good cut for jerky too.

It has more marbling fat than the other aforementioned round cuts, but it is just enough to make the beef jerky pieces more succulent.

Beef brisket is also a tough cut that needs to be broken down by a slow and low cooking technique like smoking and drying.

It is also a top choice for making corned beef and pastrami.

4. Flank steak

[amazon fields=”B0711XC1WJ” value=”thumb” image=”1″ image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

[amazon fields=”B0711XC1WJ” value=”button”]

Flank steak is a good cut of beef that is both affordable and versatile.

It can be used in numerous recipes, from grilling to roasting or stir-frying.

And you know what? Making beef jerky from flank steak is also a great choice.

When cooking this cut, people are often afraid of drying it and making it become chewy.

This turns out to be ideal for jerky.

Flank steak is an extra-lean cut that can be easily dehydrated.

5. Skirt steak

[amazon fields=”B07883CQV8″ value=”thumb” image=”1″ image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

[amazon fields=”B07883CQV8″ value=”button”]

Our last recommendation for the best cut of beef for jerky is skirt steak.

This steak cut is taken from the plate, which provides it a very flavorful taste without being too fat.

Skirt steak is also a versatile cut for different purposes like grilling or smoking.

Skirt steak is relatively thin, so it might take less time to make beef jerky from this cut.

However, it is quite expensive, so make sure you can afford it because you might need a lot of raw skirt steak to make a batch of beef jerky.

The bottom line

Beef jerky is a delicious dish that provides you with an energy boost in the middle of the day.

However, store-bought jerky might be unhealthy due to the high sodium content and preservatives.

Now, you can make your own beef jerky at home with our suggestions for the best cuts of beef, such as the top round, bottom round, flank steak, or skirt steak.

Try all of these beef cuts to find out what works best in the jerky recipe.