Dehydrating meat has been a long-standing practice among many cultures, especially those living in harsh climates with scarce and sparse food. This preserving method would keep meat from spoiling for months and even years.
This was a widespread practice ever since the hunter and gatherer days. This is also how our ancestors preserved every bit of protein they procured after spending thousands of calories in hunting and carving.
That is how we got jerky. But did you know there are many varieties of this humble jerky? Here are seven types of jerky that will amaze you!
1. Beef Jerky
Okay, yes, there is probably nothing mind-blowing about beef jerky since it is the most popular type. However, that is precisely why the mighty beef jerky made it to our list of amazing jerky.
Beef jerky has a complex, meaty flavor and texture. The original preserving method used just salt and lean boneless beef and drying out the meat in the sun. The beautiful umami flavor we get from beef is enhanced thanks to this dehydration process.
If you are curious about jerky, Jerky Brands is a great brand to start your jerky explorations!
2. Pork Jerky
Bak Kwa is a popular treat enjoyed during the Chinese New Year. This is a very popular delicacy in several Asian and South-East Asian countries. Pork jerky has a mild, meaty flavor, and it gets a smokey flavor from the smoke-grilled method used for cooking the pork before dehydrating it.
Try out this delicious jerky next time you are in a Chinatown near you!
3. Poultry Jerky
If you love jerky but are wary about consuming that much red meat as a snack, then poultry jerky is definitely for you. It is also a great addition to your dog’s diet if you want to switch him to a low-carb diet.
Poultry jerky comes in turkey, chicken, and duck for the most part. There is other fowl meat jerky in the markets, but we will cover them in the game jerky category.
Poultry jerky has a milder taste, is far lower in saturated fats, and is considered healthier for you. Pick lean meat jerky made with as few ingredients as possible to ensure you get the most nutritious jerky.
4. Fish Jerky
This is for our pescatarian friends. If you love the flavors and textures of meat jerky but, for some reason, can’t consume meat anymore, then you should try out fish jerky.
Fish jerky is very popular in the health and nutrition community because of the several nutritional benefits of consuming more fish in your diet.
Salmon jerky is probably one of the healthiest thanks to its high omega-3, low-fat and high-protein nutritional profile. Because salmon is a fattier fish, the dehydration process takes longer, resulting in a more brittle jerky that is uber delicious.
Other notable jerky includes Trout jerky, which is high in B vitamins and has a less fishy flavor.
Again, this is another popular treat for your dog – as fish is excellent for their skin and coat.
5. Wild Game Jerky
Wild game jerky refers to jerky made from animals you can hunt in the wild. Think Elks, Venison, or even some small game birds.
American Heart Association recently named Elk the “Heart Smart Red Meat,” thanks to its low-cholesterol and low-fat nutritional profile. It is also incredibly high in iron, which has excellent health benefits.
Elk and Venison are very lean proteins and can be a great addition to your diet.
6. Plant-Based Jerky
This is for our vegan friends and plant-based diet fans. If you thought you would have to give up on jerky altogether if you went plant-based, this is for you.
Thanks to some fantastic plant-food manufacturers, you will find some plant-based jerky snacks in the marketplace.
These are made of mushrooms or soy and can be great alternatives to meat proteins. Thanks to the high antioxidant content of mushrooms, mushroom jerky can be one of those healthy snacks any diet plan can accommodate.
However, beware that some manufacturers may add sugar and nitrites to make this plant-based jerky because of the additional processing involved in making plant-based jerky.
We recommend you pick jerky brands made with as few preservatives and sugar as possible. Pay special attention to nitrate content as that be very harmful to your health.
7. Exotic Animal Jerky
This is probably for the more adventurous foodies amongst us. Much like game jerky, there are some other exotic animal jerky you will find in the marketplace if you look for them.
Some notable mentions in this category include alligator, kangaroo, buffalo, ostrich, alpaca, camel, snake, shark, snapping turtle, Tibetan yak, and wild boar.
They each have very distinct flavor profiles, and a few of the meats are some of the most nutritious animal proteins you will find in nature.
The texture and flavor can be gamey, so you need to sample in small bites to see which ones you like.
The meats are also very lean in these animals, making them very healthy for human consumption.
Be sure to only opt for reputable jerky manufacturers when trying out different exotic animal jerky.
What more can we say about jerky? These famous humble morsels of dehydrated meat slices make a perfect sugar-free snack for us and our furbabies.
Not only will they make our dogs spin around in circles, but they will also satisfy most of our diet plans – be it paleo, low-carb, or keto – you have a low-calorie delicious snack to ward off the hunger fangs and keep you away from the perils of confection.
Whether you are a pescetarian, vegan, or connoisseur of wild exotic game, you will find a jerky from each category to satisfy your taste buds.