Beef jerky can be made with many different cuts of beef. Many of our customers make their own beef jerky too, so knowing which cuts of beef are the best, can help you make great beef jerky at home too.
Brisket Beef Jerky
Brisket is a tough cut of beef, but when slow cooked with the right spices and marinade it can be full of flavor and become extra tender, making it a perfect choice for beef jerky. Brisket beef is usually sold boneless, so that makes it easy to use for making beef jerky.
Once you make your first batch of beef jerky, you will realize why beef jerky is so expensive. It takes both time and a superior beef jerky marinade to make the best brisket beef jerky. Depending upon your brisket beef jerky recipe or any jerky recipe, you can lose nearly fifty percent of your finished beef jerky just in the cooking process but that is also why it tastes so good; because the flavors intensify as they become more concentrated.
At Jeff’s Famous Jerky we released our own extra tender line of brisket beef jerky in July, 2020. Classic Original brisket beef jerky, Teriyaki brisket beef jerky and Sweet & Spicy brisket beef jerky… all of these are popular flavor choices of beef brisket jerky that you will want to try as well.
Flank Steak Beef Jerky
Flank steak is a popular beef cut choice for making beef jerky at home. Jeff started making jerky decades ago first using flank steak. Beef jerky should taste like a fine cut of steak and using flank steak for your beef jerky cut can do that. The downside is the amount of fat that needs to be trimmed off first and the fact that flank steak often has streaks of fat (marbling) that will turn into hard gristle if you do not remove it. So, while using flank steak for beef jerky may seem like a great cut to use, their will be a lot of waste that cannot be used. Suddenly the great price you paid for your flank steak is no longer valid. Learn more about why beef jerky is so expensive.
Filet Mignon Beef Jerky
Using filet mignon for beef jerky is just not a good choice. The filet mignon cut is too lean and too expensive. Great beef jerky needs some level of fat, usually about 2-3%. Do not kid yourself, the fat is where the flavor is. All cuts of filet mignon are not equal, so you can bet that the companies who make filet mignon beef jerky do not start with the best quality filet mignon cut. Just because it is filet mignon that does not mean the grade of filet mignon, they use to make their jerky is remarkably high.
Compare Jeff’s Famous beef jerky to any brand or flavor of filet mignon jerky. The difference will be clear, Jeff’s Famous jerky tastes more like a high quality of cut of steak than theirs. Jeff’s award-winning Black Pepper & Sea Salt beef jerky was his first inspiration toward creating a beef jerky flavor that would taste and bite like a REAL well-seasoned steak.
Besides the cut of beef being used to make jerky, the quality is all about the grading too.
BEEF GRADING also sets the standard for various quality levels.
Every cut of beef has eight quality grades:
Prime – The best of the best, produced in small quantities with abundant marbling, mostly sold to fine restaurants.
Choice – Tender and juicy and great for slow cooking, such as for making beef jerky. 65% of all beef falls into this category and it is the most common grade found in supermarkets.
Select – Leaner than Choice and Prime because it has less marbling. It can sometimes lack tenderness, flavor and juiciness as compared to those higher grades. Still, a good choice for beef jerky because it benefits from both the marinade process and slow cooking. 25% of all beef sold falls into this category.
Standard and Commercial – Lower quality, lacks tenderness and flavor; made from older animals. Rarely seen at the retail level.
Utility, Cutter and Canner – These last five categories make up only about 1% of beef being sold and are used mostly in cheap ground beef and canned beef products.
Round Steak Beef Jerky
Round steak beef jerky is only the best choice if you want extra chewy and sometimes tougher pieces of finished beef jerky. Three types; Eye of Round, Top Round, Bottom Round. Top round is the most tender of the three types. Still, you will end up trimming off lots of fat before using it to make beef jerky.
So, one of the most common questions we receive at Jeff’s Famous Jerky is, “Which type of beef cut do we use?” It has always been confidential. It is only ONE of the secrets to making the world’s best beef jerky. I can tell you confidentially, that it is NONE of these. That is right. You will not find the cut of beef we use for our non-brisket beef jerky line in the grocery store and most butchers would not recognize it. I know because once a butcher with 40 years of experience talked me into revealing it. He was perplexed because he NEVER heard of it.
About the Author: Jeff Richards, Founder/CEO, Jeff’s Famous Jerky
Jeff was just a hungry teenager in the 1970’s when he realized his favorite on-the-go snack had the potential to be so much better. That summer, he bought a dehydrator from the county fair and he was fascinated with the process of how the flavors intensified by using flavorful marinades during the dehydration process. Over the years he spent thousands of hours experimenting with recipes, intent on making beef jerky the way that he envisioned it could be… intensely full of flavor, soft and tender with the taste and texture of a fine steak but without the chemical preservatives. Jeff’s relentless quest for culinary flavor perfection kept him researching different cultural influences and refining and innovating new fusion recipes for more than three decades before he ever offered his jerky for sale to the public in 2010. Soon people from all over the world were enjoying jerky perfection and the Jeff’s Famous legacy continues today with more than one million bags sold.