Poultry and beef differ in several key aspects when it comes to making jerky, including the meat itself, flavor profiles, safety considerations, and preparation methods.
Here are some of the notable differences in beef vs poultry
- Type of Meat
- Beef: Beef is the traditional choice for jerky and is known for its rich flavor and dense texture. Typical cuts include sirloin, round, or flank steak.
- Poultry: Poultry options for jerky include chicken or turkey. Poultry jerky tends to be lighter in flavor and has a softer texture compared to beef.
- Fat Content
- Beef: Beef jerky is often made from lean cuts of meat, and visible fat is typically trimmed before preparation. The low-fat content contributes to a longer shelf life.
- Poultry: Poultry tends to have a lower fat content compared to beef, but it can still have some fat, especially in darker meat cuts. Extra care may be needed to remove excess fat for optimal preservation.
- Flavor Profiles
- Beef: Beef jerky has a robust, savory flavor. The natural umami of beef pairs well with various seasonings, making it versatile for different flavor profiles, from sweet and smoky to spicy.
- Poultry: Poultry jerky has a milder flavor compared to beef. It can take on the characteristics of the marinade more readily, making it a canvas for a variety of flavor combinations.
- Beef: Beef jerky is known for its chewy and dense texture. The thickness of beef slices contributes to a hearty and satisfying jerky experience.
- Poultry: Poultry jerky tends to be softer and less dense than beef jerky. The texture is lighter, making it easier to chew.
- Marinating Time
- Beef: Beef may require longer marinating times to enhance flavor and tenderness due to its denser structure.
- Poultry: Poultry, being more porous, can absorb flavors more quickly. Marinating times for poultry jerky are often shorter than for beef.
- Safety Considerations
- Beef: The dense structure of beef and its lower moisture content contribute to a less favorable environment for bacterial growth during the drying process.
- Poultry: Poultry has a higher water content and is more susceptible to bacterial growth, especially if not properly handled. Careful attention to hygiene, safe food handling, and adequate drying are essential for poultry jerky.
- Drying Time
- Beef: Due to its denser nature, beef jerky may require longer drying times to achieve the desired texture.
- Poultry: Poultry jerky often dries faster than beef jerky, given its higher moisture content.
- Beef: Beef jerky is often sliced against the grain to promote tenderness.
- Poultry: Poultry can be sliced with or against the grain, depending on the desired texture. Slicing against the grain may result in a more tender jerky.
While both beef and poultry can be transformed into delicious jerky, they offer distinct flavors, textures, and considerations. The choice between beef and poultry jerky ultimately depends on personal preference and dietary preferences. Both can be enjoyable snacks when prepared with attention to safety and flavor.
What Animals Are Considered Poultry?
Chicken and turkey are the most common birds in this category. However, according to the USDA, duck, Rock Cornish Hens, as well as pheasant, squab, and guinea fowl come under the poultry category. And I even learned something new while researching this. Emu, ostrich, and rhea/ratites are other types of poultry.
Ostrich meat is red, and I have eaten roast ostrich on a sandwich that tastes similar to roast beef. I have also eaten ostrich jerky, which has its own flavor and is delicious. It’s also very high in protein.
Something I haven’t thought about before is that eggs are considered poultry, even though they are found in the dairy section.
So, whether you buy poultry at the store, direct from a farm, or go hunting, why not make some of it into a high-protein jerky snack?
Check out the recipes… links are below.