Beef jerky is a go-to snack because of how tasty it is and how fast it quenches hunger. You don’t have to worry about your hands being soiled or how healthier jerky is. However, the cost of beef jerky is one of the factors that hold people back from indulging even when they crave it.
Several questions would have crossed your mind each time you see a small pack of beef jerky in the marketplace and stores because of how expensive they are. Even the cost of the cheapest beef jerky you will find at local gas stations can be jaw-dropping.
Read on to find answers to most of those questions:
What Is Beef Jerky?
Beef jerky is a popular delicious meaty snack that is derived from lean cuts of fresh meat that has been marinated and then either smoked or dehydrated for days. Raw meat contains roughly 60 to 70% of water which needs to be evaporated when making jerky. This type of snack is one of the healthiest snacks. It has more nutritional value when compared to other snacks. Beef jerky is high in protein, minerals, and vitamins.
Reason Why Beef Jerky Are So Expensive
There are a host of inevitable reasons why beef jerky cost so much, and guess what? It is worth the price. Follow us closely as we discuss some of the reasons in this section.
Cost Of Beef
Beef costs more than any other type of meat, and there is a high demand for it in the market. The rearing of cows is a huge venture that requires a lot of funds, which directly affects the price of meat. The making of jerky takes a lot of beef than what the end product looks like, and since meat isn’t cheap, the production cost is affected.
During the manufacturing process of jerky, the beef shrinks to about half the initial weight’s size, depending on the texture you want. For every ounce of raw beef, you get one-third of the initial size when making dry jerky and half the size when making moist jerky.
Water Content Of Beef
One of the primary reasons why beef jerky is so expensive is that the weight of a fresh cut of beef is half the beef’s weight after dehydration or smoking. The initial weight is reduced because all the water content has been parched. You will need approximately 5.0 pounds of meat to make 2-2.5 pounds of meat.
Cut Of Beef
Another reason for the high price tag of jerky is the cut of beef used. Some cuts of beef cost more than the others. Parts with less intramuscular fat are pricey than parts with more fat.
High-quality beef jerky is made from leaner cuts that require low marbling, such as the bottom and top rounds. In contrast, cheap quality jerky is made from fattier cuts of beef that need more marbling. The leaner the cut, the more expensive it is, and the better the taste, the texture, and the flavour.
Labour And Time Intensive
Jerky making is labour-intensive and time-consuming, especially when you use the smoking method. Even when making jerky in small batches, it takes close to three days to finish the production process. A lot of effort and time is invested into producing jerky.
High-quality beef jerky is often smoked to give it a smoky flavour. Most jerky makers dehydrate the beef to reduce labour costs, but the jerky becomes too dry and not as chewy as the smoked jerky.
Many commercially made beef jerky contains lots of spices and preservatives, which add to production costs. Makers of jerky that often use fattier cuts to cut cost will still pay for condiments and other factors like the packaging.
A lean cut of meat requires minimal to zero condiments but is highly-priced, while fattier cuts are inexpensive but require high-quality spices and preservatives to enhance the taste.
How To Make Beef Jerky
Although you will save approximately 30% of the money, you spend buying a pack when you make beef jerky at home. The probability of you getting the unique taste of your favourite pre-packed jerky is slim.
Here are the ingredients you will need when making beef jerky:
- Thin strips of lean cuts of beef
- Marinade, which includes fine salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika.
- Gluten-free soy sauce
Marinate your beef with pepper, marinade, and salt. Then you refrigerate for hours, preferably overnight, so that the beef will have absorbed the marinade properly.
When using a food dehydrator, you just have to put the marinated meat into the basket or tray, switch on the dehydrator, set the temperature and timer. Avoid overlapping the strips of beef.
It is important to note that beef jerky requires low heat or temperature to dehydrate. Plus, the dehydration time varies based on the texture and thickness of the beef. To prolong the jerky’s shelf life, you can preserve them in a container or plastic bag.
The temperature of your oven is higher than that of a food dehydrator which makes it faster and more efficient. The first step to take when using an oven is lining the base with foil paper—this helps to collect the debris and drips.
Then you place the beef on the rack without overlapping them. Set the temperature to your preferred frequency. It is advisable that you use the lowest. Subsequently, you check on the jerky after 8 or 9 hours, depending on the heat. Then you flip the jerky over so the top can dry out too. Store in an airtight jar.
How Long Does Beef Jerky Last?
Beef jerky does not only have a more extended life shelf but is also portable to carry about on hiking. The main preservative that makes jerky last longer is its salt content. Beef jerky can last up to a year, depending on the storage system. When refrigerated, it can last up to six months, and if frozen, it can stay up to a year.
If you are a beef jerky lover, you won’t mind spending your money because of how delicious it is and the nutritional value you stand to gain. When you consider the cost of the beef, the cost of labourers, the time invested, and the cost of condiments, you will realise that the price tag associated with packaged beef jerky is nothing.
Thank you! Beefsteak Veg