What Part of the Cow is Beef Jerky?

What Part of the Cow is Beef Jerky? Comparing the 6 Best Cuts Used for Jerky

Do you want to know what part of the cow is beef jerky? Although many different cow parts are used to make beef jerky, some may be considered better than others. Rest assured that we use the best cuts of beef for our products.

 If you are concerned about quality products, you can order jerky online with us to get the best quality beef jerky for great prices! If you want to know more about what part of the cow is best for beef jerky, keep reading this short guide.

What Part of the Cow is Beef Jerky? The 6 Different Cuts Used in Traditional & Modern Jerky Snacks

Many people want to know what part of the cow is beef jerky. There are several reasons for this curiosity. One of those reasons is that people want to know exactly what they are eating. Another common reason people have this question is that they may be interested in the process of making jerky, especially if they want to try it out themselves!

Although beef jerky can come from many different areas of the cow, there are 6 main parts of the cow typically used for jerky. Here is a brief discussion of each type of beef jerky you might find. We'll cover the pros and cons of each of these parts - as there is a direct correlation between taste and cost. Companies choose their cuts based on this tradeoff. 

Better-tasting cuts are more expensive, but that's what we use at Mahogany Smoked Meats - because we always put the customer first. With that said, let's talk about each type of cut you'll find in the jerky industry as a whole

Top Round

Top round is considered to be one of the best cuts of meat to use for jerky. In fact, this is the cut that many commercial jerkies are made from. This is a good cut because it comes in large pieces, is a lean cut of meat, and is economical.Top round can also be referred to as London Broil or inside round steak.

This is one of the most common because many companies make jerky in large quantities. Although, already cheap, when bought in bulk this meat will be one of the most economical choices to make beef jerky.

Bottom Round

Bottom round is another very common type of beef used for jerky. As a cut of meat, it is similar to top round. The main difference is that it is a bit tougher than top round. However, this cut of beef still works well for jerky. It is a lean meat with little marbling and is affordable. This type of meat is also known as round roast and bottom round oven roast.

Bottom round is also inexpensive, however, its additional marbling allows for a little extra taste. 

Short Loin

Short loin is another great choice. However, this is very different from top and bottom round. Top and bottom round are typically used for commercial beef jerky, not a specific flavor. Short loin is the part of the cow that many cuts of steaks come from, like porterhouse and NY Strip Steak. So, when you are getting steak jerky, it has come from the short loin.

Short loin is a juicy and flavorful meat with more marbling. However, this cut of beef has a more expensive price tag.


Pectoral meat, also known as special trim, is often used for beef jerky. This is an affordable choice, but it is also tender. Pectoral beef has more fat than top and bottom round, which offers a better taste profile. This tender meat with a better profile is a delicious choice. However, the dehydration process will still remove most of the additional moisture. It will still leave behind a positively unique taste that can not be found in dryer cuts.


Flank is another popular cut. Many people have had this cut of meat as a flank steak. It can also be called plank steak or beef flank. This is a lean, long-grain cut of meat. It offers a lot of flavor, but it is expensive.

Steak-based jerkies are becoming more and more popular. If you have only tried regular jerky, it is a good idea to branch out and see if you love plank and other steak jerky as much as you like enjoying them as a steak.


Finally, we have skirt steak. Like the others, this is lean meat. Lean meats make great jerky. Lean meat has a limited amount of marbling which comes from intramuscular fat. The reason you want less marbling in jerky is that jerky is dehydrated, and the fat is unneeded. Although this is a lean meat, it is still a cut of steak, raising the price and taste profile. 

Are There Other Cuts Used in Beef Jerky?

You may have wanted to know what part of the cow is used for beef jerky - and so far you have learned about the 6 most common parts of the cow used. But are they the only parts used? 

Although there are six main types of beef cuts used, they are not the only ones people use in beef jerky production. Many cuts can be used for jerky. Besides the ones we already mentioned, you can also get jerky from chuck roast, brisket, tenderloin, and ground meat. 

By using different parts of the cow, you can create different flavor profiles. This allows variety in flavors, tastes, and consistency of the meat. For instance, sometimes a meat with more marbling will be a moister beef jerky than a traditional part of the cow (like top round). 

What are the Key Considerations Jerky Brands Make When Choosing Their Cuts?

Now that you know more about what part of the cow is beef jerky - the answer being many different parts - you may have other questions. For instance, what are the key considerations in making beef jerky? While each meat cut has pros and cons, how do you choose the one right for you? There are two primary considerations that jerky-makers typically have in mind when selecting cuts.


The affordability of individual beef cuts is an important factor when making jerky. Buying jerky made from different cuts of meat is similar to purchasing different types of meat for anything. Cost can be a huge factor as different cuts could have significantly different costs.

Leanness & Taste

The leanness of the meat and the taste of that cut is the other consideration. Although price is important, how lean the meat is and how the final product tastes are often the most important deciding factors for many people. At least, that’s the case for us at Mahogany Smoked Meats! 

Many enjoy lean, inexpensive cuts like top and bottom round for jerky. However, sometimes the cost is not the most important factor. For some people, taste is their number one consideration and they are willing to pay more for a superior-tasting product. For instance, many people prefer their jerky made out of cuts of meat that make steaks such as plank steak, sirloin, or NY Strip.

What Part of the Cow is Best for Beef Jerky, Though?

So the question remains, what part of the cow is best for beef jerky? Which beef cuts and portions will make the best jerky? Affordability and taste are important to almost everyone. So what is the best cut of meat for one person may not be the best choice for someone else. All the beef cuts discussed in this guide can create great-tasting jerky.

 Choose the top round if you prefer the leanest cut of meat that gives you the most bang for your buck. Top round will also provide the taste you are used to in jerky, as most large manufacturers make their jerky from top or bottom-round beef. 

Short loin is the best choice if you want more flavor and are okay with spending a little extra on your jerky. Short loin is where some of the best cuts of steak come from, like porterhouse and NY Strip steak. This can create a delectable jerky experience for you. However, be warned that once you have this type of jerky, you might never return to regular beef jerky again!

Get the Ultimate Jerky Experience When You Try Our Beef Jerky

When you are looking for premium beef jerky products made from high-quality ingredients, you can count on Mahogany Smoked Meats! We make a wide range of beef jerky products that include different seasonings such as habanero, ghost pepper, teriyaki, and chipotle.

 We only use quality beef products and source our cuts strictly from farms we trust. Our beef jerky is perfect for everyone. This includes people looking for how much protein is in beef jerky (to help their overall diet and wellness plans) to those who just love snacking on this high-protein, high-flavor snack. 

If you want to know who makes the best beef jerky online, it is time to order jerky from Mahogony Smoked meats. Find some of the best online beef jerky for sale today!

Final Thoughts on What Part of the Cow is Used for Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is made from lean meats because this helps create the dry but flexible end product that beef jerky is. Sometimes, some cuts of meat do create a moister product than others, but when you are looking for the best beef jerky, you are looking for jerky made from: 

  • Top Round
  • Bottom Round
  • Short Loin
  • Brisket
  • Flank
  • Skirt

Of course, it is possible to enjoy beef jerky made from other cuts of beef as well. But those six cuts are the most popular because they are lean cuts of beef with little to no marbling. 

You should explore all we offer at Mahogany Smoked Meats when looking for lean, affordable, and tasty beef jerky. If you love beef jerky but are willing to branch out and try new things, you should know we make jerky out of other meats. Check out some other jerky we make today, including elk jerky, buffalo jerky, and wild boar jerky!