Best Cut Of Meat For Jerky – Learn How To Pick The Best Cheap Cut for Beef Jerky

By Eric Mitchell •  Updated: Aug 16, 2023 •  9 min read

Beef jerky is a yummy snack that packs high-protein content and low-carb levels for ‘meaterians’. It’s the favorite diet for hard-core distance runners and athletes as it supplies their bodies with all the nutrients they require for sodium renewal and muscle-building.

Preparing high-quality low fat meat jerky isn’t for the fainthearted. The best cut of meat for jerky it requires selecting the best cut that has a chewy texture and doesn’t include extreme amounts of fat, unless you specifically want fatty beef jerky.

Besides, it requires you to take time to season the beef jerky cut with the right ingredients to get a delicious meal that you can serve with other foods.

Best Cuts Of Beef For Making Jerky

One key area those preparing beef jerky mess up is in selecting the right beef cut. We’ve many beef meat cuts, and here is the best meat for jerky.

Best Cut Of Beef For Jerky

Butche Beef Cuts

1. Cheapest Meat for Jerky – Bottom Round

The bottom round is one of the cheapest cut of beef for jerky and it is obtained from the exterior part of the leg muscle. It’s the cheapest and toughest of all-round cuts. The cut has minimal marbling, and it’s a bit thin and quite tasty. It’s one of the best cuts you need to make that yummy meat jerky you have ever desired.

Much of the weight of the cut comes from the higher part of the cow’s back legs. It’s the finest of all and the most reasonable cut that offers the best and most scrumptious beef jerky when combined with the right flavors.

The problem with this cheap cut of meat for jerky is that it’s quite tough and requires to be cooked slow and low to cook well. Since jerky preparing is all about cooking at lower temperatures for extended hours, that isn’t a big deal. As well, you must cut it into small pieces to ease the cooking of the dense muscle.

2. Cheapest Cut of Beef for Jerky – Top Round

The top round jerky beef cut is the of the other cheapest cut of beef for jerky and while it doesn’t look exactly like the bottom round, they share some characteristics. In terms of tenderness, the round beef jerky cut is a bit tenderer.

It’s also very tough and lean, making it one of the cheapest beef cuts out there. The top round roast is the best choice for making beef jerky as its way more flavorful and delicious. The best thing about the top round beef jerky cut is that you can fabricate it into streaks through marinating or tenderization.

The top round meat cut got from a cow’s leg muscle is think, a bit tasty and affordable, meaning it’s an excellent choice for making scrumptious beef jerky at home. To get the best tasting and soft jerky, you have to start cooking at a high temperature until it turns brown outside and then lower the temperature to simmer it for about 6 hours.

3. Ground Meat

The ground meat cut can be got from various parts of the body. Use slender meat if you want to prepare the most delicious and slenderest beef meat jerky with this cut. The ground meat cut is highly loved because it’s not very harsh on the teeth, and it’s easy to chew.

Ground Meat

Ground beef meat cuts came in lean-to-fat ratios of 90/10% ground round, 80/20% chuck, and 85/15% sirloin cut. The cuts are selectively selected to give a tender and quality meet cut that can offer easy to chew beef jerky when adequately prepared. When preparing it at home, you need to have a flattened or slice the meat into the desired strips.

4. The Most Popular Cut – Eye Round

In preparing beef jerky, you can also opt for the eye round meat cut. The Eye round is the most popular beef cut that’s quite sensitive and offers a tender sensation when slowly and adequately prepared in a dehydrator. People love beef jerky made of this cut as it’s not only tender but also easy to chew.

While it may have higher amounts of fat in the inner section, it’s still the best meat for fatty beef jerky. The most exciting fact is that you can reduce the fat content to your satisfaction. Also, since the meat cut is slender, it can be easily sliced into the desired strips for making beef jerky.

5. Best Cut for Grilling and Making Jerky – Flank Steak

The flank steak is one of the most used beef cuts for grilling and making jerky. We use this in our Korean jerky recipe as well. It has a coarse texture that provides tender bites when sliced thinly and against the grains. It’s the meat steak found close to the cow’s rear legs and just below the loin sections. The flank steak has a meaty flavor and is bold in nature, which makes it a suitable choice for making jerky.

The biggest challenge with this kind of beef meat cut is its high cost. Getting Flank steaks cut against the grains as they are not only easy to chew but also a bit slender and delicious.

6. Low Fat – Beef Brisket Cut

The Brisket cut is another of the best cut of meat for making jerky. It’s a well-marbled cut is ideal for making corned beef, barbecue, and pastrami.

Since it has coarse grain, it can be cooked for long hours at extended temperatures to give the perfect jerky. Brisket is the steak of meat under your cow’s chuck and below the shoulder section.

Beef Brisket Cut

The brisket beef cut has extreme levels of fat, meaning it’s likely to get spoiled quickly if not properly preserved. You’ll get the perfect jerky that tastes great if you prepare the jerky for longer hours and at a lower temperature.

7. Chuck Cut

You can also make the most delicious beef jerky with a chuck meat cut. The chuck is a portion of beef meat found on the top shoulder of your bull. Mostly, the chuck meat cut is used for preparing boneless or bone-in roasts and steaks.

To get the finest beef jerky from this kind of cut, you must trim the excess fat before you start the preparation process. Since the meat is extremely high in fat content, the jerky got from it will not last long enough, so don’t make so much of it unless you want to end up with wasted beef meat.

How to Choose the Best Cut of Meat for Making Jerky at Home

Preparing jerky meat at home is a fun and easy way to escape the high costs of eating healthier. Preparing jerky meat at home shouldn’t be a big challenge as long as you know how to do it and have the right meat cut.

Above, we have outlined some great meat cuts you can use to prepare before jerky at home. Before settling for any beef meat cut, check out for these fundamental aspects.

Try To Buy Fresh Meat

Ensure the meat cuts you buy for your beef jerky is fresh. You wouldn’t want your jerky to spoil in the next few days, and so it’s recommended you buy the freshest beef meat for making jerky.

Drying and cooking are two different things, meaning since jerky preparation is all about drying the meat, you may not get quality results with meat that has been hanging on the butchery for long.

Get Leaner Meat

The perfect beef meat for making jerky is the one that doesn’t contain high levels of fat. Known as leaner meat, it’s the most suitable choice of meat cut for making delicious jerky that won’t spoil in days.

Through dehydration, all the moisture in the meat will be eliminated at low temperatures, which will help boost the beef jerky life. As you know, it takes time to dry meat until all the fat content is wholly eradicated.

Meat fat has high levels of oils, which are impossible to dry out, and so using meats with high-fat content reduces the shelf life of your jerky. Try to cut out all the fat content in your meat before starting the jerky preparation process.

Get Enough Meat

Once the meat is dried during the jerky preparation process, its weight will reduce. Hence, if you buy less meat amount, you will be left with very little as eatable jerky meat.

It’s said that drying three pounds of meat will lead 1 pound of jerky. Consider the number of people who will be involved in the jerky feast before you go shopping. Get enough amounts to satisfy them all.

Meat Quality

All the beef meat cuts aren’t of the same quality. You need to be sure you’re getting a high-quality beef meat cut. Conduct your research and compare multiple meat cuts from several butchers so that you settle for meat cuts that offer value for money.

Get The Meat Sliced By The Butcher

Preparing beef meat jerky is a time-consuming process. Cutting the meat into the desired cut sizes takes even more time. Ask the butcher from where you buy your beef meat to slice the meats into your desired sizes.

That way, you won’t have to waste time cutting the meat by yourself.


If you’ve been thinking of preparing beef jerky at home with a dehydrator or without a food dehydrator but have no idea how to do it, the above article packs enough information to help make things easier.

Use the ideas given to come up with your own beef jerky meat recipe. You have to understand that all the above-outlined meat cuts don’t provide the same results when used in preparing jerky.

It’s crucial to understand each of the meat cuts and know their prices. A professional butcher who knows how to prepare beef jerkys will help you come up with the best recipe for creating the finest and most delicious beef jerky.

While shopping for beef meat for making jerky, it’s crucial also to check out the above-outlined criteria, so you don’t end up with fatty meat that gets rancid a day after you have made your jerky.

Eric Mitchell

Eric is the owner, author, content director and founder of He is the lead architect and the main man in matters concerning dehydrators, their accessories, guides, reviews and all the accompaniments.Whenever he is not figuring out simple solutions (hacks) involving cookery and their eventual storage, you will find him testing out the different types of dehydrators, to bring us the juicy details regarding these devices.He is a foodie enthusiast, pasionate about making jerky has a knack for healthy and tasty food and won't hesitate to share out any ideas that might be of value around this subject.

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