Beef jerky isn’t new, even though packaged variants have risen in popularity. For hundreds of years, dried meats have been utilized. Native Americans and their descendants preserve meat by salting it and drying it in the sun or over a fire.

Beef, poultry, game meat, and fish are just a few of the proteins that are dried nowadays. It’s on the rise due to the popularity of the paleo and Whole30 diets.

Beef Jerky can be healthy if it suits your dietary objectives and the sort of product you select. Dried meat snacks can be a good source of protein when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

Jerky skeptics don’t always realize that it’s no longer made with MSG, nitrates, and chemical preservatives. Sodium, on the other hand, is a valid cause for concern. Although salt is a necessary component, it is far too easy to consume too much in the average American diet.

According to the FDA, the daily recommended dosage for the average individual is 2,400mg, which is just over a teaspoon of table salt. Although athletes require higher doses of salt since sodium is the most commonly lost electrolyte through perspiration, the average American consumes around 3,400mg per day.

How to Pick Beef Jerky That’s Healthy For You

  1. Look for a brand that has less than 500mg of salt per serving.
  2. Choose brands with no more than 5 grams of added sugar.

We scoured grocery and convenience stores for the best and healthiest jerky on the planet and found these:

Country Archer Organic Turkey Jerky

Nutrition: (1 oz) 70 calories, 11g protein, 420 mg sodium, 5g sugar, 6g carbs, 1g fat (0g saturated fat), 0g fiber.

Chomps Grass Fed Beef Jerky Snack Sticks Original Flavor

Nutrition: (1.15 oz) 100 calories, 9g protein, 290mg sodium, 6g fat (2.5g saturated fat), 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar.

Stryve Foods Original Beef Biltong

Nutrition: (1 oz) 80 calories, 16g protein, 450mg sodium, 1g carbs, <1g sugar, 0g fiber, 0g fat (0g saturated fat).

Jerky.Com Original Buffalo Jerky

Nutrition: (1oz) 97 calories, 15g protein, 310mg sodium, 3g sugar, 0.5g fat (0g saturated fat), 8g carbs, 3g fiber.

Nick’s Sticks Traditional Turkey Jerky

Nutrition: (1 oz) 70 calories, 230 mg sodium, 4 g sugar, 10 g protein, 4 g carbs, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 g fiber.

Maybe the best way to know how healthy your beef jerky is would be to make your own. Here are a few tips on making jerky to your specifications.

Marinade: My main gripe is that most store-bought beef jerky is far too sweet. My beef jerky is spicy and delicious, just the way I like it. I add garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, seasoned salt, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke to stir up my marinade.

Beef: The most important question is usually the cut of steak to choose. I’ve prepared beef jerky using a variety of cuts, but flank steak has been my personal favorite for the past few years. It produces thin beef jerky strips.

Dehydrator vs. Oven: The one question people ask all the time and that is how to prepare beef jerky without a dehydrator. It’s entirely possible to cook them in the oven. However, to ensure that the jerky cooks uniformly, I recommend putting it out on wire racks on top of foil-covered baking pans.

To prepare homemade beef jerky, just combine the sliced beef and the marinade in a big ziplock bag and toss until the steak is equally covered. After that, chill the bag for at least 30 minutes. You can go up to a day. This time allows the flavors to blend.The strips should then be laid out in a uniform layer on your dehydrator trays or oven wire-rack trays and cooked. For the complete recipe, follow Ali Martin on Twitter.