June 10 is Jerky Day. No seriously. It’s a thing.

4 June, 2021

Make your own jerky

When we say Jerky Day, you may conjure thoughts of a useless ex or that person who insists on having loud phone conversations on the train. 

But Jerky Day is a real thing. Created to celebrate the history, popularity and nutritional benefits of this tasty little snack, June 10 is all about jerky. And with jerky recently gaining popularity in Australia, we’re here for it.

So, if you’re keen to make your own delicious, tasty jerky snack, keep reading.

Where does jerky come from?

The word jerky comes from the term ch’arki (or charqui) meaning ‘to burn meat’ and although it’s mostly thought of as a popular snack in the USA, there’s archaeological evidence proving that it’s been around since Egyptian times. It’s thought to have been introduced to the Americas by the Quechua, a tribe indigenous to South America who first began using the sun, wind and smoke from fires to preserve alpaca and llama meat sometime around 1550.

What is jerky?

Jerky is a high protein, low carb and nutrient dense dried meat. While it’s usually made from lean strips of beef, basically any type of meat that’s been cured in a salt solution and reduced its moisture content to less than 50% is called jerky. Lean cuts are best as fat can become bad during production or storage, potentially ruining your jerky. 

You can find lean cuts of meat and all the other marinade ingredients at Woolworths

What makes jerky so good for you?

Overall, beef jerky is a healthy and nutritious snack. Not to mention that a 28 gram piece of jerky contains just 485 kilojoules and has a whopping 9.4 grams of protein. It’s also chock-a-block full of nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and niacin, and is an excellent source of iron.

And best of all, the dying process doesn’t cause the meat to lose any of its original nutritional value. 

Make your own jerky

Oven vs hydrator – if you’re serious about your jerky, invest in a good dehydrator. But if you’re just giving it a go, your oven will do fine. Just make sure you line your oven with foil (all that splattering sauce) and that it can be set to the very low temperature needed to dry out the meat. 

The right cut – you don’t need to use expensive cuts of meat, it just has to be super lean. Trim off as much fat as you can.

The marinade – Google jerky marinade and you’ll have heaps of marinade recipes to choose from. But all recipes will ask for something super salty which is why soy sauce is a regular ingredient. Let the meat marinate overnight.

The drying – lay out the marinated strips of meat in your dehydrator or oven and wait for four to six hours. When the meat is dry and leathery, it’s done and ready to eat.

You can now enjoy your home made jerky that not only tastes great but is good for your body.