Jerky Glossary

A.P.O - Army Post Office, a branch of the United States Postal Service. Refers to the facilities handling the mail of active members of the armed forces. Not all beef jerky manufacturers ship to these addresses. Additional shipping information is required to ship to these addresses since a separate body governs them.

Atkins Diet
- Diet designed by Dr. Robert Atkins that emphasizes a minimal intake of carbohydrates that can result in weight loss. A high intake of refined carbohydrates is believed to contribute to obesity. Jerky products containing less than 3 grams of carbs per serving size are considered low-carb.

- Very small living organisms made of only one cell which are present everywhere (i.e.; the air, the soil, on the skin). Many types of bacteria can cause diseases, but others can be very helpful to humans.

Bottom round
- Very lean cut of beef from the round section (i.e.; top-round) of the steer that is moderately tough. The lack of fat and marble in this cut makes it an ideal selection for preparing beef jerky.

Brisket Flat
- A cut of a steer coming from the lower breast/chest area. Beef brisket is one of the eight primal cuts (see Primal Cut).

Butcher - A person who prepares and cuts meat in preparation for sale. Local grocers and meat markets employ butchers. Before preparing beef jerky, consider consulting a butcher to help you select the best cut of meat for your recipe.

Calorie - Commonly used unit of measure to gauge food energy. One gram of pure carbohydrate makes approximately 4 grams of calories. Recommended daily intake for any one individual is between 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day. Low-calorie beef jerky products are generally those consisting of 80 calories or less per serving size.

Carbohydrate (Carb) - One of the 4 classes of biomolecules that help the body store and transport energy. While carbs are easier to digest than protein or fats in the body, they are not considered essential nutrients. Proteins and fats can provide the body with all the energy it requires.

Cattle - Another term for a cow. A steer, on the other-hand, is a castrated (neutered) cow.

Chopped and Formed - A cheaper method of preparing meat that is to be made into jerky. As opposed to using a whole muscle of the animal, this process involves grinding meat and mixing it with a filler (some other type of meat) so it can then be formed into jerky strips and dehydrated. This method is much more common in exotic meat-types (i.e.; ostrich, buffalo).

Chuck - A cut of beef that comes from the shoulder area. Chuck is one of the eight primal cuts (see Primal Cut). It is usually an inch thick and is widely considered one of the more economical cuts of beef.

Curing - Refers to the preservation and flavoring processes used to prepare meat, especially of beef and fish. Curing agents include a combination of salt, sugar, nitrate and/or nitrite. Salt inhibits the growth of microorganisms by drawing water out of the meat.

Defrost - The process of thawing frozen meat by increasing its temperature. Meat needs to be defrosted, but not cooked prior to dehydrating it for jerky. Never defrost frozen game on the counter. Instead, use water, the microwave or the refrigerator.

Dehydrating - The method used to preserve meat, which creates jerky.

Dehydrator - A small appliance used to reduce the water content of a food item. Dehydrators are used to help preserve foods such as fruits, vegetables, and of course, meats.

Exotic Meat - Meat, in terms of jerky products, that is not beef or turkey. Ostrich, buffalo, and even venison are considered exotic. Keep in mind, however, that exotic is not the same as wild game.

F.S.I.S - The Food Safety and Inspection Service (F.S.I.S) is the public health agency of the U.S Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe to consume and accurately labeled. Any food containing more than 6-7% meat product goes through this agency's inspection process.

Farm-raised - Animals raised for sale and/or consumption under state regulations are usually farm-raised. Exotic animals can also be farm-raised.

Feedlot - A Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), which primarily functions as finishing livestock before slaughter. Prior to entering a feedlot, cattle spend most of their life grazing on rangeland or green wheat pasture. Once at the feedlot, cattle are fed a specialized diet made up of hay, corn, sorghum, various other grains and by-products of food processing in order to create desirable fat in the cow. This fat, in turn, results in the "juiciness" of the meat. Because these lots may contain thousands of animals in various pens, most feedlots require a governmental permit to begin operations.

Flank - A cut of meat from the belly muscles of the cow. It is generally long and flat, but remains tougher than the loin and rib steak cuts of meat. Because it is tougher, many flank recipes use tenderizing marinades or moist cooking methods to soften the meat. Flank is considered one of the more economical cuts of beef.

Food Allergy - A negative response of the immune system to a particular food protein(s). Common treatment is simply avoiding particular foods and food groups. Some jerky products may contain soy or wheat, both of which are common for people to be allergic to. Consult a physician if you are unsure of your allergy status to help determine which jerky product is right for you.

Food Preservation - The process of treating food in a way that preserves its edibility and nutrition value for a longer time period than expected. Food preservation will stop or greatly slow down spoilage to prevent food borne illnesses.

Food Thermometer - A thermometer used to measure the internal temperature of any meat type. This information is used to help achieve the desired temperature of any food. Meats must reach a certain temperature to sufficiently kill any pathogens or bacteria that could result in illness. Jerky is usually dehydrated in ovens or smokers at 160 degrees or more to ensure food safety.

F.P.O - Air Force Post Office, a branch of the United States Postal Service. Refers to the facilities handling the mail of active members of the armed forces. Not all beef jerky manufacturers ship to these addresses. Additional shipping information is required to ship to these addresses since a separate body governs them.

Game - Refers to any animal typically hunted for sport and/or food. These are animals that are not domesticated, such as deer/venison. Game meat can be prepared, butchered and processed the same as farmed meat. In addition, it is important to keep the carcass as cool as possible after the hunt to minimize spoilage.

Gluten - An inherent starch that exists in most grain or wheat sources. Gluten is an important source of nutritional protein and as an additive to foods otherwise low in protein. Gluten is also used as a flavoring additive or a thickening agent.

Grain-fed - Refers to the feeding method of a particular animal. Cattle fattened in feedlots are generally grain-fed.

Grass-fed - Refers to the feeding method of a particular animal. Grass-fed is also referred to as pasture-fed. Unless they are being transported to a feedlot, beef cattle are primarily grass-fed.

Ground Beef - Refers to beef that has been processed in a meat grinder. When making jerky, this process can be beneficial if you are combining more than one type of meat. After grinding the meats together, insert the meat into a jerky gun and dispense onto cooking pan in uniform strips for dehydrating.

Hand-cut - Method of slicing meat into strips without the use of machinery. Because it is labor intensive and time consuming, not all manufacturers use this method.

Herb - A plant used for flavoring, scent and/or seasoning. If used properly, herbs can enhance the flavor of meat and add texture to any type of beef jerky marinade.

Hickory - A flavor that comes from Hickory wood chips. These chips are used in a smoker to add extra flavor to the meat that is being dehydrated. The smoke from the burning wood chips permeates the food, giving it a hickory flavor.

Husbandry - The agricultural science of breeding and raising livestock for future consumption. This scientific process helps gauge and place value on the genetic makeup of domestic livestock, as well as identifies those animals with superior genes for reproduction purposes.

Jerky Gun - A cooking utensil used for making uniform strips of meat jerky. It consists of a tube with a press and interchangeable tips (i.e.; flat tip for strips of jerky, round tip for jerky sticks). Ground meat is placed in the tube and dispensed through one of the interchangeable tips onto a cooking pan prior to dehydrating.

Loin - The section of meat below the rib cage, towards the round of the cow. Loin is also referred to as tenderloin, sirloin and top sirloin. Although these are all considered separate cuts of meat, they all come from the same general section.

Low Calorie - Low-calorie jerky products are those containing 80 grams of calories or less per serving size. The homepage features a section of products that fall into this category.

Low Carb - Low-carb jerky products are those containing 3 grams of carbohydrates or less per serving size. The homepage features a section of products that fall into this category.

Marinade - A liquid used to flavor meat prior to the dehydrating process. A marinade is often an acidic base used to add flavor to meat by immersing it for a period of time. The longer the meat soaks; the more flavor will be absorbed into the meat.

Meat Snack - Any meat product on that is not dehydrated as is jerky. Meat snacks include meat sticks, jerky chew and nuggets.

Mesquite - A flavor that comes from Mesquite wood chips. Used in a smoker to dehydrate jerky, mesquite wood burns slow and very hot, so you must be attentive to the temperature at all times. When used properly the smoke from the wood adds a distinct flavor to the meat. Preference between Mesquite wood ships and Hickory wood chips is generally regional. Mesquite is more popular in the South, whereas Mesquite is more preferred in the Southeast.

Moisture - Refers to the presence of water in a product. Moisture and oxygen are the main causes of mold formation on jerky products. Since jerky should have between 90% to 95% of the moisture removed, jerky recipes should clearly state the cooking temperature and amount of time meat should be dehydrated in order to remove the maximum amount of moisture.

Mold - A fungi that can grow on jerky if not properly prepared or stored. If moisture is not adequately removed during dehydration, mold is likely to form on the jerky.

MSG - A sodium salt that is inherent in most soy sauces. This additive to jerky products serves as a flavor enhancer and a natural preservative. Because many people are allergic to MSG or choose not to consume MSG, the homepage has a section dedicated to jerky products which are MSG-free.

Natural Beef - The U.S.D.A defines natural beef as any meat raised for human consumption that does not contain additives and is minimally processed. The difference between natural beef and certified organic beef is that there is no third-party verification system required by the U.S.D.A for beef that claims to be natural.

Nutritional Facts - Refers to the required label found on most pre-packaged foods in North America. United States nutritional labels are based off of a 2,000-calorie per day diet. Five percent or less of an agent is considered low, whereas 20% or more of an agent is considered high in regards to an individual's recommended daily intake. In some instances, a nutritional label is not required on the package. Instead, a list of ingredients, in order from greatest to least, is required.

Organic Beef - According to the U.S.D.A, beef must meet specific criteria in order to be classified as "organic". Organic beef must come from a verifiable production facility that has information on breed history, veterinary care, and feed use. In addition, cattle must be born and raised on a certified organic pasture, fed only certified organic grasses and grains, never have received antibiotics or growth-stimulating hormones and have had unrestricted access to the outdoors in order to be labeled organic.

Oxygen Absorber - A small white packet found in jerky products that are not vacuum-sealed, used to prevent the growth of mold. The oxidation packet helps to absorb any excess oxygen in the bag in order to decrease the chance of spoilage.

Poultry - A category of domesticated birds, which humans keep for collection of their eggs or meat (i.e.; chickens, turkeys) or kill for their meat (i.e.; doves, pheasants).

Primal Cut - One of eight pieces of meat that are initially separated from the carcass of the cattle during butchering. These cuts can break down even further to make sub-primal cuts.

Processed - A method used to transform raw ingredients into consumable food products (i.e.; using raw meat to make jerky). Techniques for processing food vary from simple to complex. Many people prefer their foods to be minimally processed to ensure that few, if any, additives are used in production.

Protein - Groups of amino acids that are needed for the body to produce energy. Women aged 19-70 need to consume 46 grams of protein per day, while men aged 19-70 need to consume 56 grams of protein per day to avoid a deficiency. Jerky is high in protein and provides approximately 13-18 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving size.

Puree - A food item that has been ground, strained or pressed into the consistency of a thick liquid or soft paste. Purees can be made in a blender, with a potato masher, pushed through a strainer or by smashing the food in a bowl with a spoon.

Raw - A food item at its most natural, unprocessed state. Raw food is uncooked or not dehydrated at all.

Rind - The outer protective layer of a fruit or vegetable, which can be peeled off. Rind is used in some marinade recipes to add texture and flavor.

Rub - Any mixture of spices that is rubbed on raw food before it is prepared for added flavor.

Smokehouse - Structure where meat or fish is cured with smoke. Jerky manufacturers typically use very large commercial smokehouses designed to large batches of meat. You can achieve a similar jerky taste with your personal smoker, the use of wood ships is totally subjective and up to you.

Smoker - A device used to flavor food by exposing it to the smoke from burning or smoldering plant materials or wood chips.

Sodium - Sodium chloride (salt) is used for seasoning and food preservation. Salt also inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi in meat. The daily requirement for sodium intake in the average diet is 500 mg per day. Individuals with high blood pressure may be advised to consume less than 500mg per day.

Sodium Nitrite - A preservative added to some jerky products to counter-act discoloration of the product. Sodium nitrite also prevents the growth of bacteria.

Soy - A species of the legume plant, which contains significant amounts essential amino acids. As an excellent source of protein, soybeans are the primary ingredients in many processed foods, including dairy products. Soybeans can be processed and formed into strips that can be dehydrated to make jerky products. This is commonly referred to as vegetarian jerky.

Sun-ripened - The process in which a fruit becomes more edible. A fruit becomes sweeter, less green and softer as it ripens. The acidity and sweetness of the fruit increases during ripening.

Tenderize - The process of breaking down the collagen in meat to make it easier to consume. Methods used to tenderize meat include pounding it with a mallet, applying a meat tenderizer or soaking it in naturally occurring enzymes such as those found in pineapple or papaya juice.

U.S.D.A - United States Department of Agriculture. The purpose of this governing body is to develop policies on farming, agriculture, and food. The agency aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, promotes agricultural trade and production, assures food safety and protects natural resources. All beef jerky products need to be approved by the U.S.D.A. prior to sale and consumption.

Vacuum-sealed - This is the process of removing all oxygen from a bag prior to sealing it. Vacuum sealing prevents molding and prolongs the shelf life of jerky.