The secret to making good jerky is starting with good meat. Quality meat means quality jerky. When headed to the supermarket to buy your meat, keep in mind the following 3 tips:
* LEAN MEAT. An easy and common cut is flank steak. If beef flank steak is unavailable, other good candidates would include: round steak, rump roast and brisket flats. London broil cuts are good as well and organic is always great! Remember, the less marbling and fat, the better because fat will turn rancid very quickly and ruin your jerky in a matter of days!
* FRESH MEAT. Fresh beef should be a nice ruddy red. Pork should be a healthy light pink (that is, if you’re wanting bacon) and chicken should be a flesh tone shade. Dark spots or old smells are bad so make sure the meat you pick is fresh.
* QUANTITY. It requires about 3 to 5 pounds of meat to produce one 1 pound of jerky. Therefore, to get more for your money, range fed, 100% premium, visually lean, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected, flank steak is your best buy. There is no waste with this type of meat because it is all lean, pure red meat with consistent straight grain making it easy to prepare. If you do happen to get meat that you have to trim, use those trimmings to make ground beef!
** Note: Have the butcher cut long, ¼” strips either across or with the grain. If you are trimming your own, put the meat in the freezer for no more than 30 minutes to firm up but DO NOT LET HARDEN.
BUYING ON A BUDGET
Just a quick tip to keep in mind when headed to the supermarket:
* Check first what type of meat it is. Learn cuts of meat and which are cheaper and of coarse which have a higher fat content. (80% lean ground beef is obviously a better choice and lower in fat than meat that is only 60% lean.)
* Check the weight, the price per pound, total price and sell date. Make sure the package of meat has not passed that date and plan to use or freeze the meat within two days of purchase, sooner if the sell-by date is up.
* If your meat is packaged in white butcher paper, be sure to repackage the meat for the freezer in plastic wrap, foil or plastic bags and label.
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