What Is Ground Beef Jerky?

Ground beef jerky is a unique type of dried meat snack made from ground beef. Many people love the tender consistency of jerky made from ground beef compared to the firmer texture of whole-muscle jerky. Our take on ground beef jerky is our Beef Bites.

Even though ground beef jerky is great, many brands don't produce it, and thus customers aren't aware of it.

If you want to try ground beef jerky, you have to know where to look. Or, you can get adventurous and make it yourself.

How Ground Beef Jerky Is Made

Making ground beef jerky is not much harder than making regular jerky. However, it takes a long time and presents a few food safety issues, which we'll talk about later.

The basic steps are:

Making Jerky with Ground Beef
Step Notes
1. Select your meat Lean ground meats are better.
2. Season and cure the meat Thoroughly mix your recipe into the protein. The "cure" is typically one of the ingredients in your recipe. There are several options: celery salt, nitrites and nitrates, MSG, etc.
3. Refrigerate Ground beef marinates faster than steak. It can take as little as an hour, but you can increase the intensity by leaving it in for up to 24 hours.
4. Flatten You can use a Jerky Gun, a small hand-held gadget that forms the meat into strips. But if you don't have one lying around, a rolling pin will do. After flattening, cut the strips by hand.
5. Dry The jerky is finished when the strips are soft to the touch and bend without snapping.

Drying method is a personal preference. There are many ways to do it, and they all have an impact on the final product. The most common drying methods for commercial producers include smoking or dehydrating. At home many use air fryers or standard ovens as well!

Which is best for ground jerky? That's a complex answer! They each have their own strengths and result in a different style of snack.

  • Smoking: Produces food with a more intense flavor and hints of smoke
  • Dehydration: Produces food with slightly less intense flavor but that is sometimes sweeter
  • Air frying: Used for low-fat meats
  • Oven: Used if you have nothing else but it tends to over-dry the meat

Regardless of the drying methods, ground meat jerky has a few different characteristics than regular jerky.

Differences Between Ground and Regular Jerky

The main differences between ground and regular jerky are how they are made and their consistency.

Ground vs. Regular Jerky
Ground Regular
Made with seasoned strips of ground meat Made with seasoned sliced meat
Tender Firm

Beyond these details, it comes down to personal preference. We find that jerky lovers with difficulty chewing and kids prefer the texture of ground beef jerky to regular strips (our Beef Bites were actually first developed as a snack for our three beloved sons).

In fact, anyone who appreciates a soft and savory meat snack will probably like ground jerky.

Why Ground Beef Jerky Is Popular with Home Jerky Chefs

Jerky made from ground beef is a popular option for at-home chefs. It's easy to make, and there is no shortage of recipes online. But there are some drawbacks.

  • It is time- and space-consuming. Expect your kitchen to be overrun for a day. You will need the fridge, your oven, and precious counter space.
  • Food safety issues. If the meat is not adequately heated, the USDA warns it could be infected with E. coli and Salmonella.
  • Quality concerns. The best ground beef jerky comes from high-quality meat usually found at farmer's markets or specialty markets.

We encourage experimenting with jerky, but you don't have to take over the kitchen for the weekend to try some.

Karl Family Farm's Ground Beef Bites

If you want high-grade ground beef jerky, try some of our smoked ground meat bites.

We start with larger cuts of 100% grass-fed and finished beef from our farm and partner farms. They all employ the same humane and sustainable farming practices we do.

We make our bites from the same high-quality premium beef used to make our jerky. The only differences are what cuts can be used and how much we have to dry it.

Ground beef jerky can be made using any premium cut of beef, whole muscle jerky is only made from the "round" cuts. This means that while more than half of the cuts that come out of a cow can be used for ground jerky, only four or so can be used for whole muscle jerky.

Ground Jerky also can be dried to a slightly higher moisture content which increases yield after drying. This allows us to be more sustainable as we are able to produce more jerky with less cattle, reducing our carbon footprint even further.

Here's how:

  1. We gather pieces of premium quality beef that we could not use in traditional strip jerky.
  2. We grind the meat.
  3. We slowly mix in the marinade and our celery salt cure. (We never use chemicals or additives in our recipes, and they are always gluten-free).
  4. A stainless steel form carves out bites at just the right size.
  5. They go into a smokehouse where they dry at just the right temperature in the smoldering, seasoned air.

We offer two flavors - our savory Original Recipe for traditional tastes and tangy Chili & Lime for the daring tongues. And more flavors to come!

The entire process is overseen by a USDA inspector in our partners state-of-the-art facility. We ensure that the meat is cooked to proper standards and that all parameters are tested along the way. This guarantees the highest level of quality and safety.

Ground Beef Jerky Is a Tasty and Tender Treat

Ground beef jerky is a unique alternative to beef jerky. It's a delicious treat that's easy to eat, but it's not always easy to find.

Whether you're looking for something a little different or a snack that is a little easier to chew, look no further than our ground beef jerkies. Tender and flavorful, they're a perfect departure from the everyday.