The Cut Of Meat Should You Avoid When Making Beef Jerky

homemade beef jerky
homemade beef jerky - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Beef jerky is a food you might not often think about, but it has a bigger impact on American life than you probably realize. It's a market with a value measured in the billions of dollars despite the fact red meat prices have been on the rise due to a shrinking supply of cattle.

Despite what the big brands might want you to think, beef jerky is not just a commercial industry: it's a product you can make in the comfort of your own home using just some meat and a dehydrator (or even just an oven) -- and why wouldn't you? The stuff lasts seemingly forever as long as you make and store it the right way, but what is the "right way" to make it? What cuts of beef should you be using for your home jerky endeavors? The key, it turns out, is the exact opposite of what you want out of cuts of steak: go as lean as possible for your jerky, which means avoiding meat high in fat content.

Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling

Fattier Cuts Are The Death Knell Of Good, Long-Lasting Jerky

fatty tomahawk steak and spices
fatty tomahawk steak and spices - Clarkandcompany/Getty Images

Look, we know a juicy, fatty steak is delicious when you want grilled or pan-seared meat. That rich marbling imparts an incredible flavor as the fat breaks down, but that's the worst possible thing for jerky because the entire point of the jerky-making process is dehydration. You want to get as much moisture out of the meat as you possibly can, which not only lends beef jerky its signature texture, it keeps it (if you really nail the process) shelf-stable, which is why it can last for so long.

Fat, meanwhile, contains a whole lot of moisture. The more fat in your cut of meat, the harder it will be to get the moisture out of your jerky, making it way more likely to spoil. In addition to the spoilage factor, fat gets a little weird when you dehydrate it. It's meant to be rendered at high temperatures rather than have its moisture sucked out, which leaves fatty jerky hard and unappetizing. This means the cuts to avoid are things like ribeye, tomahawk, T-bone, porterhouse, or New York strip; all of these have a fat content way above what you're looking for in dehydrated deliciousness.

For The Best Beef Jerky, Use Lean Cuts Of Meat

homemade beef jerky
homemade beef jerky - Christin Klose/Shutterstock

For the best beef jerky, what you're looking for is a particularly lean cut of beef. Eye of Round is ideal, but you can also use flank, skirt, flat iron, or hanger steak, or anything else that packs a ton of flavor without a ton of fat. Technically, you could also use filet mignon for this, as it's extremely lean, but using the priciest cut of steak on beef jerky feels a little bit weird.

Whichever cut you use, if you're making jerky at home, just be sure to follow proper jerky procedures. Buy fresh meat, because older meat won't last as long. Buy more than you think you'll need because a ton of the product's weight is in the moisture that gets lost in the dehydration process (generally three pounds of meat produces one pound of jerky). It's also a good idea to source your meat from your local butcher rather than a grocery store, because not only do they get the fresher stuff, but they can also slice the meat into uniform strips for you. If you follow these rules for your favorite beef jerky recipe, your jerky will not only be delicious, it will keep for a long time.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.