We’ve all heard the old saying: there’s no such thing as a stupid question.

 While we agree with the sentiment, there are some questions we may be a little too nervous to ask. The irony is that you’re probably not alone. There are plenty of people out there who have the exact same questions.

So many people, in fact, that we created this list to clear the air and set the record straight on some of the most commonly “un-asked” questions.   

We’re going to answer all the beef jerky questions you were too embarrassed to say out loud. We are the jerky experts after all. 

Let’s dive right in… 

  1. What is beef jerky made of? What animal is beef jerky made of?

Beef jerky is made from beef. Beef is the culinary name that is used for meat from bovines, or in layman’s terms, cow. While beef jerky is made from the meat from a cow, jerky can be made from a variety of animals and protein sources. There’s pork jerky, chicken jerky, and turkey jerky.

Beef Jerky = Cow, Pork Jerky = Pig, Chicken Jerky = Chicken, Turkey Jerky = Turkey

  1. Is beef jerky raw? Do I have to cook beef jerky? Is beef jerky cooked? Is beef jerky raw meat? Does beef jerky need to be refrigerated?

Beef jerky is 100% cooked and requires no additional cooking and/or preparation. By definition, beef jerky is shelf-stable which means that it is ready to eat as is. Some jerky producers require refrigeration after opening a package to prevent molding. Our jerky is drier than most jerky products in the market, so they do not require refrigeration.

  1. Who invented beef jerky? Where did beef jerky originate?

Beef jerky celebrates a rich tradition and heritage and can be found all over the word. The process of dehydrating fruits and meats is one of the oldest methods of food preservation.  The extraction of moisture from a food increases nutritional density while decreasing the rate of spoilage. When done correctly, the final product is a nutrient packed, portable, and shelf stable foodstuff that keeps for an extended period of time - an essential feature during the pre-refrigeration age. For all the reasons modern mankind enjoys beef jerky so too did ancient civilizations. 

Earliest archeological records indicate that the Ancient Egyptians preserved different meat and produce items by leaving them out in the sun to dry. Various Native American groups in North America combined mixed berries, fat, and ground meat to make concentrated small cakes known as pemmican. Cowboys, called “cow hunters” in the 1820s, carried jerky or salted beef when they were moving cattle. “It referred to sun-dried meat. You’d slaughter the animal – cattle, bison, deer, elk, or antelope – and strip or jerk the meat,” explains Don Reeves, an anthropologist and McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

  1. Why is beef jerky called jerky?

The word “jerky” can be traced back to the South America and the Quchuan word “ch’arki.” Over time, the Quechuan word evolved into jerky. Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with the word “jerk” or how the beef is processed into jerky.

  1. Is beef jerky gluten-free?

Beef jerky, in its simplest form, is nothing more than dehydrated meat and when produced without the addition of any gluten-based ingredients, is 100% gluten-free. Make sure to read the ingredient label to make sure that there are no gluten ingredients in your jerky. One of the most popular wheat-based ingredients in beef jerky is soy sauce. We have some products that are gluten-free and some that are not. 

Click here to view all of our gluten-free products

  1. Can dogs eat beef jerky?

We recommend erring on the side of caution. We do not recommend feeding your dog beef jerky made for human consumption. Instead, we suggest sharing high quality, domestic beef jerky treats that are made specifically for pets. Make sure to clearly read the label and ingredients. We recommend purchasing high quality, USA-made treats that have been formulated for dogs. 

  1. How long is beef jerky good for? How long does beef jerky last? What is the shelf life of jerky?

The average shelf life of jerky is around 1 year from the date of production. We recommend enjoying our beef jerky within 6 months to ensure freshness, but the product is guaranteed for up to 1 year.

  1. How is beef jerky made?

There are five steps of the jerky making process at People's Choice Beef Jerky: slicing, marinating, laying, cooking, and packaging. 

In our humble opinion, beef jerky is best made by hand. This allows for a greater attention to detail. This attention to detail translates into better-quality, better-tasting, and better-for-you jerky. We like to think a little time and energy and handmade touch makes for the best jerky. 

Click here to learn more about how to make jerky

  1. Is beef jerky keto-friendly?

Absolutely! While an excellent source of protein (and low in carbs and sugar), People’s Choice Beef Jerky is naturally low in fat. This helps the jerky stay fresh longer without spoiling. With the simple addition of some high-fat foods, you can make the perfect Keto snack or meal. 

Check out our full portfolio of Keto-Friendly Snack Options.

  1. Why is beef jerky so good?

Healthy, convenient, portable, and tasty, beef jerky can’t be beat!

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Mark Bianchetti is a third generation jerky maker at People’s Choice Beef Jerky.  He followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather to carry on the family tradition of handcrafting premium meat snacks. When he’s not running the show at the Downtown LA jerky factory, he’s smoking delicious meats in the backyard with his favorite family member, Ellie (the family’s black Labrador). 

Have a question for a jerky master? Have a burning question that you’ve always wanted to know? Here’s your chance. Find us On Social Media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) or email us (info@peopleschoicebeefjerky.com).