What Kind of Meat Do You Use for Jerky: 7 Great Options To Choose!

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What Kind of Meat Do You Use for Jerky?

I love jerkies! They are among the sumptuous delicacy that my mouth has ever encountered. They delicious texture is palpable, and the way they break when you chew them is truly heavenly! That’s why wherever and whenever there is an opportunity, I always create this treat!

“What kind of meat do you use for jerky?” I always come across this question on this blog. In fact, my inbox has been full of such similar queries. Of course, I couldn’t just ignore that. Moreover, I am not a stingy person. I would definitely share any recipes and cooking ingredients that are present in my mental repository.

Many think that jerkies are only available on bacon and beef variants. That’s a misconception that I personally want to break. After all, how could you limit the possible recipes that you can do with a jerky? Besides, there are a lot of meat out there that could become the next jerky that you’ll be savoring.

So, if you are curious about the possibilities, then you should read this article. In here, I have listed some of the plausible types of meat that you can convert into jerkies.

7 Types of Meat You Can Use for Jerky

1. Alligator Meat

Everybody is in disbelief the time I said that an alligator meat could become a jerky. Of course, I couldn’t blame them. After all, there are few explorations made when it comes to this meat.

Specifically, the meat of an alligator contains a lot of proteins. At the same time, it is low in calories and other bad fats. Therefore, it is a good choice for those who are on a strict diet.

You can make an alligator jerky out from the tenderloin. The strips should be thin but solid. Moreover, you have to season it mildly to unleash its true flavor. Ideally, you have to smoke it with hickory to bring out better results. When making an alligator jerky, you have to know that putting MSG is not necessary anymore.

2. Buffalo Meat

Buffalo (or bison) meat is another delicious option for a jerky. Usually, the livestock is cultured without steroids and other forms of growth hormone. From the basic, this meat possesses a lot of protein. On the flipside, it is so low in fat that American Heart Association hailed it as a type of nutritious meat.

There are various flavors that you can induce a buffalo jerky. Such of these are teriyaki, spicy, and black pepper. But the original flavor highlights the involvement of black pepper is applied to the high-quality buffalo strips. Of course, the best bison jerky is hand-made. Furthermore, there should be no inclusion of additives, nitrates, and other preservatives on the meat.

3. Duck Meat

One of my favorite meat for jerky is definitely the duck. They are solid but chewy, which makes them very pleasurable in the mouth. Typically, you can create this jerky by marinating the duck meat with brown sugar, teriyaki sauce, and other spices. Well, it is the usual marinade for jerkies. However, the latter can reveal the true taste of the duck meat.

The ideal way to prepare way a duck jerky is via hickory smoking. You have cured it until such time you deem that it is perfect for consumption. Once again, I have to remind you that the best duck jerky doesn’t contain any harmful preservatives and additives. Moreover, the meat that you should use must come from wild ducks. The latter are free from steroids and growth hormones.

4. Ostrich Meat

We all do love ostrich! The taste of its meat is almost comparable to beef. Noticeably, the color of the two meat is just the same (red to reddish brown). Ostrich meat is an excellent choice for jerky, as it has a lot of healthy protein. If you are going to venture into this type of recipe, make sure that ostrich meat is raw. Specifically, it should be free from steroids and unwanted growth hormones.

The process is pretty the same. Just cut the ostrich meat into thin strips and marinate them the traditional way (soy sauce, salt, onion, spices, and brown sugar). Of course, the meat should undergo hickory smoking to achieve perfection. Fortunately, this meat is not that scarce. There are numerous suppliers that you can outsource for this type of meat!

5. Alpaca Meat

Photo credit to Mountain America Jerky

I have to tell you that alpaca meat is considered as the most healthy meat in the world. Moreover, it also holds the title as being among the most flavorful. This type of meat was the staple food of the Andean civilization way back thousand years ago. And it was only this time that we began exploring the delicacy that this meat has.

Specifically, the meat from alpaca doesn’t carry too much cholesterol and fat. In fact, its cholesterol and fat level are lower compared to pork and chicken.

You can make an alpaca jerky through the traditional means. Just marinade and smoke it until such time you can bring forth the desired flavor that you want! Of course, you can binge-eat alpaca jerkies. After all, they don’t contain too much sodium compared to other types of meat.

6. Elk Meat

There is a reason why people loves to hunt elk during the open season. Aside from the prestige of getting a huge trophy, the meat of this creature is super edible! It is high in protein and iron. It also tastes the same as beef!

But of course, I know that you will definitely want to make an elk jerky. This one is pretty flexible when it comes to variations, so there is nothing that you should worry about experimentation. On my end, I would recommend you to try teriyaki or spicy-flavored elk jerkies. They are truly fascinating and otherworldly!

7. Beef Meat

I guess that this list won’t be complete without the beef jerky. Also, I know that a lot of my readers would protest if I don’t include beef in this article. Well, there is no blaming for that. After all, many of us have grown accustomed to this type of jerky. In fact, it is not an exaggeration if I say that beef jerky is the most popular type of jerky. There are dozens of recipes for this treat, and it is only up to you what to prefer!

When we are talking about classic beef jerkies, then it should involve some marinade that has extra spices and smoking. But for the modern flavors, then we have the peppered beef jerky, teriyaki beef jerky, habanero, and so much more! When choosing a beef, it should come from the top selections in the market. Specifically, it should be thin or thick (depending on your preferences). Moreover, the meat must not contain any fillers at all.


These are the types of meat that you can transform into a delicious jerky. Each of them comes with different price and preparation. Therefore, you should consider your budget and skills first before trying one of these. But if you are pretty well-prepared, then I believe that there should be no stopping you.

Just make sure that you know how to assess the dryness of meat so that you can avoid overcooking or undercooking. Furthermore, you have to secure that the meat that you choose is fresh. In this way, you can get the full flavor of the jerky.

The kitchen is a good place to experiment. As long as the proper ingredients and tools are present, you can prepare any food and recipe. That’s what I believe. And I know that you share the same blissful conviction as well. So what are you waiting for! Prepare that delicious jerky now!

Did you learn from this article? Do you know any other meat that could become a jerky? Share it with me in the comment section below!

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