Meat that is typically refrigerated for several weeks, cooked at approximately 160° F, then sliced, seasoned, and preserved through a drying process that dehydrates the meat to make it shelf stable and ready to eat. The meat may also be smoked, marinated and seasoned with a wide variety of flavorings. Beef is the most common meat made into jerky but there are also many other meats and poultry that are used to produce jerky. There are several different types of jerky available which include: 1) Common jerky produced from pieces of meat or poultry; 2) Chunk, ground and formed jerky produced from meat that is chopped or ground, then molded and formed to be cut into strips; 3) Jerky sausage produced from chopped or ground meat that is dried and stuffed into sausage casings.
Depending on the type and preparation process, some jerky may be very tough to bite and chew after the drying process is complete, if moisture has not been added to enhance the tender chewiness of the product. Since jerky can be stored easily and for long periods of time it is a convenient food to use for camping and hiking trips.