Beef jerky is a great snack for if you have a beef craving that you need to satisfy quickly. You don’t need to cook an entire joint of beef to experience the same meaty taste.
You can take it with you anywhere, so you can enjoy it on the go, and it is ready to eat straight from the packet.
It is especially ideal for following a keto diet, because it is so high in protein and low in carbohydrates, fats and sugars. It comes in single-portion packets so that you can easily keep track of how much you’ve eaten.
You can purchase beef jerky from most grocery stores, as well as specialty shops and online. It can be bought in bulk from websites such as Amazon, so you can stock up and have enough for a rainy day.
There are so many different flavors of beef jerky available that you could try another one each time and never get bored. Equally, you may have a favorite that you stick to because you know it works – there is a beef jerky for everyone.
Many people have described the chewy, spicy concoction as addictive. Even still, it’s not as popular as you might think it would be, and it tends to be favored by a small portion of the population who eat it regularly. It’s not really something most people would have as a treat on occasion, in the same way as donuts or potato chips.
One of the biggest obstacles people come across when they encounter beef jerky is the price – it’s significantly more expensive than other snacks, so it wouldn’t necessarily be worth buying if you weren’t sure, you would like it. Here, we go through some of the reasons why it costs so much to buy.
High Quality Beef
Beef jerky is made from prime cuts of lean beef, meaning that it’s only the good stuff with all the fat and gristle trimmed off. This is because fat turns bad more quickly than meat, and beef jerky is designed to keep for a long time.
Therefore, it needs to be around 95% fat free, so it’s better to use lean cuts to begin with – fatty cuts will end up significantly smaller than their original size, once they are reduced to only the usable meat.
Good beef is expensive anyway, because it takes a lot of time and labor to produce, in terms of rearing the cows and growing them safely to protect the meat.
There aren’t really any ways of cutting these costs and still maintaining the high-quality consumers expect. Beef from cows that haven’t matured properly or have been kept in unsanitary conditions will not taste the same as quality beef, and people notice if this is the case.
Some beef cuts will be worth more than others – for example, if your jerky is made out of wagyu or Kobe beef, the cost will be significantly higher than your classic sirloin jerky.
The high-value beef cuts are more likely to be saved for eating fresh, though, rather than being heavily processed and turned into beef jerky. There is only so much of a difference in taste that a very expensive beef cut could make to the jerky, as it would still go through the same dehydration process and have a variety of spices added to it.
Beef jerky tends to be highly seasoned, as plain dried beef on its own wouldn’t be very appetizing. Even the original flavor is typically made with soy sauce, onions, brown sugar, and salt, so it’s not actually bland like it might sound.
As mentioned above, beef jerky is available in all sorts of flavors, and these usually involve specific blends of many different spices. Examples of beef jerky flavors include black pepper, garlic, chili and teriyaki.
Because the beef itself is so high in quality, manufacturers use the freshest spices to match; there would be no point making a product that is half premium and half not.
This way, you can taste both the beef and the mouthwatering flavors it comes with. The ingredients are carefully selected to complement each other perfectly, and that’s what keeps people coming back for more. Unfortunately, it is also some of what keeps the prices up.
We’ve already mentioned the time needed to raise a cow until it is mature enough to yield beef, but we should also think about the actual process of preparing the meat after this point to make it into beef jerky.
It undergoes an intense dehydration stage, which involves cooking it for long periods of time until it is safe enough to keep at room temperature. The longer it is cooked for, the safer the end product, but this also positively correlates with the price.
Dehydration gets rid of all the moisture in the beef, turning it into the convenient snack you know and love. A large percentage of the beef (almost 75%) is water, which evaporates in the course of the dehydration process and leaves behind a much smaller quantity of meat than you started with. 3-4 pounds of fresh beef will produce only 1 pound of jerky, meaning that the same beef is at least 3 times more expensive in jerky form.
There are a lot of hidden costs associated with the production of beef jerky that make it as expensive as it is to buy. These include raw material costs, specialized process costs, and intensive labor costs.
Unfortunately, there aren’t easy ways around any of these things without a decrease in overall quality, so it’s unlikely that the price of beef jerky will go down in the future.
However, for most beef jerky lovers, it is a small price to pay and the delicious end product is worth every cent. Don’t forget, it is also packed full of nutrients that are good for you – eating beef jerky means keeping both your taste buds and your body happy.