Some notes on Jerky

Jerky a dried meat product. Recently, some types of jerky have been made commercially

Jerky a dried meat product. It was traditionally a thinly sliced, lean, low-temperature dried meat with salt added to inhibit bacterial growth. Fat was removed prior to drying to prevent spoilage. Domesticated and wild game were used to make it. Spice rubs, sugar and smoking may now be used to add flavour. Jerky is more commonly eaten in America than in Europe. There are very strict rules about its commercial manufacture. Avoiding food poisoning from bacteria and bacterial toxins is the reason for this. More recently, some types of jerky have been made commercially from reformed meat.

Biltong is similar product, and is traditionally made and consumed in Southern Africa. It was originally used as a way of preserving meat by the Voortrekkers in South Africa. Biltong is generally a thicker cut of meat than jerky and is often cured in vinegar and flavoured with spices before salting and drying. Biltong is never smoked.

Biltong is a low fat (5%) moderate carb (15%) high protein (60%) food. Some info I found on jerky (not easy to find reliably) showed it to be higher in carbs and lower in protein. I could only find data on commercially produce jerky. It has a much higher carb content compared to traditional biltong presumably because of sugary rubs.

Sainsbury’s Jack Link jerky snack was 29% carb. The Curators original beef jerky was even higher in carbs at 32%, much higher than traditional biltong. Sainsbury’s Real Pork Crackling in contrast has a carb count of 0.5%. Sainsbury’s also sell fish jerky, and even a veggie jerky made from various highly processed soya products. It has a carb content of 38%. This is not something most low-carber’s would consume.

So, as ever, take your glasses with you when shopping and read the nutritional information label on the back of the package. There may be low-carb jerky somewhere out there. Pork scratchings seem a far better low-carb snack than jerky though.

 Fat (%)Carbs (%)Protein (%)
Traditional biltong i.e. the real thing *51560
Sainsbury’s Jack Link jerky snack429.337.8
The Curators original beef jerky4.132.835.4
Kings veggie jerky7.238.222.5
Sainsbury’s Real Pork Crackling51.70.544.5

* NB Tesco Cruga Chilli Beef biltong has similar nutritional stats