Jerky has recently increased in popularity in the United States. It is believed that this boost in popularity is due to its potential health benefits and the use of this popular snack as an appetite suppressant. There are other varieties of jerky that are also gaining popularity but this depends on the location in which they are being sold. There are a few different methods used to make jerky, each containing one or two different seasonings. Restaurant chains are beginning to make elaborated modifications to jerky in an attempt to take advantage of the increasing interest in this snack.
There are a few types of jerky that are considered classics while additional meats are beginning to enter the jerky market as producers have been exploring new markets.
Base meats for jerky
• Exotic Meats (buffalo, alligator, etc.)
How it’s made
Jerky is typically made by seasoning and curing the meat. Salt and sugar are usually added during the curing process. Soy sauce is also a common ingredient at this point. After curing, the meat is sometimes dehydrated, depending on the type of jerky being made.
Some chefs are beginning to make their own versions of jerky; often these varieties are marinated in house-made sauces and turned into garnishes for other meals. The common trend in these restaurant marinades appears to be Worcestershire sauce.
Between the marinating process and dehydration, the making of jerky takes well over 24 hours. Each of these steps typically takes at least 24 hours individually and that can be affected by the type of meat being used and the size of the pieces.
Why it’s becoming popular
Jerky is becoming more popular because it is thought of as a health snack alternative. Eating a dehydrated piece of chicken is better than the sugary snack that would be eaten otherwise. Because of the renewed interest in this snack, many brands are coming out with new flavors such as basil citrus turkey and curry beef. There is also honey chipotle and smoked grilled teriyaki pork. These products are drastically different then the meat snacks we remember that were often not truly jerky at all.
The dieting trends that have taken hold in recent years that put a focus on the consumption of healthy meats and the removal of sugar and fillers from the diet is partly responsible for the explosion of this trend. Jerky presents an easy substitute for many of these snacks, especially with the variety of flavors that are now available. Jerky, regardless of flavor, is not a messy snack and it is easy to carry with you as you run errands or go to work. The availability of this meat as well as its ability to be stored for long periods of time makes it ideal for many people.
There are also gluten free options available for many types of jerky that are made using the meat of animals that were not grain fed and that has not been cured or mixed with any grain based ingredients. As gluten free foods are another popular food trend at the moment this is also helping the popularity of this snack.
Jerky has undergone a few changes that have made it more appealing to the everyday consumer including the additional of multiple flavors and meat sources. Beyond this, jerky has always been an accessible snack that travels well for the busy adult that is trying to keep their diet plans on track.