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Beef Jerky on The Carnivore Diet: Yes or No? [Top List]

If you’re on a Carnivore Diet and looking for a low-carb snack that keeps you full during the day, beef jerky is one of the best choices. You can easily make it at home or buy from stores. Whether you make or buy it, you should consider the cut of meat, the ingredients used, and the drying process to ensure it has the lowest carbohydrate content to help you reach your Carnivore Diet goals.

Beef Jerky on The Carnivore Diet: Yes or No? [Top List]
Highlights
  • Beef jerky is allowed in the Carnivore Diet, as an animal-based snack with a rich nutrition profile.
  • To make beef jerky, choose lean cuts of meats with high marbling and high healthy fat content.
  • Top round, bottom round, eye of round, sirloin tip, and flank steak are the best cuts of meat for making beef jerky.
  • CHOMPS Jerky, Country Archer, and Lorissa's Kitchen are among the best beef jerky brands for those on a Carnivore Diet.

Carnivore Diet Food List

To reach the goals of the Carnivore Diet, i.e., reduced inflammation and weight loss, you need to minimize carbohydrates.

Cutting carbohydrates puts the body in ketosis, where your body burns fat instead of carbohydrates for energy, leading to lowered inflammation and fat loss.

So, to induce and maintain ketosis, you need to eat animal-based foods with low carbohydrates and high fat and protein, including:

  • Beef (steaks, ground beef, roasts)
  • Pork (bacon, pork chops, pork ribs)
  • Lamb
  • Venison
  • Organ Meats (liver, kidneys, heart)
  • Game Meats (bison, elk, or wild boar)
  • Chicken (breasts, thighs, wings)
  • Turkey (breasts, legs)
  • Duck
  • Game Birds (quail or pheasant)
  • Fatty Fish (salmon, mackerel, and sardines)
  • Whitefish (cod, haddock, and halibut)
  • Shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster, and clams)
  • Egg
  • Cheese (high-fat, low-carb options)
  • Butter
  • Heavy Cream
  • Beef Tallow
  • Lard (from pork)
  • Duck Fat
  • Chicken Fat
  • Bone Marrow

So, as the list shows, beef is a Carnivore-friendly food due to its low carbohydrate, high fat, and high protein content.

It means you can also use beef-based foods such as beef jerky in the Carnivore Diet.

Searching for Carnivore Diet on Google Is Increasing

The Carnivore Diet has become increasingly popular in recent years. According to Google Trends, searches for the "Carnivore Diet" have increased by about 400% from 2011 to June 2024. It shows that more people have become familiar with this diet, its goals, and its benefits for health, and the main reason is the much research that has been done about it.

Learn More: The Carnivore Diet: Is It Healthy? Benefits and Side Effects

Can You Eat Beef Jerky on The Carnivore Diet?

Yes, you can have beef jerky on the Carnivore Diet, as it is a popular snack made from lean beef strips that are seasoned, marinated, and dried.

It’s made by cutting thin strips of beef, like top round or flank steak, and drying them in an oven or food dehydrator until they are chewy and dry.

This drying process removes moisture and allows the jerky to be stored for a long time without refrigeration.

It's a good choice for low-carb diets like the Carnivore Diet because it's high in protein and fat, low in carbohydrates, and easy to make.

However, if you’re on the Carnivore Diet, it's important to choose the right kind of jerky.

Because many kinds of beef jerky have high-carbohydrate ingredients or additives and preservatives, which are not Carnivore-friendly.

To have beef jerky on Carnivore, choose options with low sugar and a few added ingredients to avoid raising carbohydrate levels.

Raised carbohydrates can disturb ketosis, which is essential for weight loss and reducing inflammation.

Also, you should eat beef jerky in moderation because it's high in sodium, which can negatively affect your heart and blood pressure, and increase the risk of heart stroke if used too much [1].

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, your daily sodium intake should be around 2300 mg while 100 grams of beef jerky contains 1785 mg of sodium [2].

Ideally, it should be made with only beef and little to no seasoning, and have a nutrient profile shown in the table below.

Learn More: The 10 Best Meat Sticks: How to Eat Them?

Beef Jerky Nutritional Value

The nutritional value of beef jerky can vary based on the cut of meat and the preparation method.

However, in general, 100 grams of beef jerky contains the following nutrients [3]:

Calories410 kcal
Protein 33.2 g
Fat 25.6 g
Carbohydrates 11 g
Fiber 1.8 g
Sugar 9 g
Sodium 1785 mg
Calcium 20 mg
Iron 5.42 mg
Magnesium 51 mg
Vitamin B6 0.179 mg

Not all meats provide this nutritional value and the best options are lean, high-fat meats that provide a jerky with a soft texture.

Based on these factors, the following cuts of meat are suggested if you want to make jerky at home.

Learn More: The Best Meat for Beef Jerky and How to Select Them

The Best Meat for Beef Jerky on The Carnivore Diet

Generally, the best meats for beef jerky are tender and lean cuts with high fat and low carbohydrate content. These factors will help the jerky dry evenly in a short time and prevent it from becoming greasy.

The following cuts of meat can be the best choices for making beef jerky on the Carnivore Diet.

  • Top Round
  • Bottom Round
  • Eye of Round
  • Sirloin Tip
  • Flank Steak

They have the lowest amount of carbohydrates with good levels of protein and fat, which makes them a good choice for the Carnivore Diet.

Top Round

Top Round, aka Inside Round Steak or London Broil, is a lean and affordable cut, popular for its large size, though it lacks intense flavor and tenderness.

  • Fat content (Intramuscular): Moderate
  • Flavor: Mild
  • Texture: Firm and lean
  • Slicing Feature: Easy to slice
  • Price: Affordable
  • Versatility: Adaptable to various recipes

Bottom Round

Bottom Round aka Bottom Round Oven Roast or Round Roast is from the cow's hind leg and is tougher and less tender than the top round but it makes good beef jerky.

  • Fat content (Intramuscular): Moderate
  • Flavor: Moderate beefy flavor
  • Texture: Tough and lean
  • Slicing Feature: Requires careful slicing
  • Price: Affordable and cost-effective
  • Versatility: Adaptable to various recipes

Eye of Round

This cut is found in the cow’s round primal area and is more expensive but also more tender and flavorful than the top and bottom round.

  • Fat content (Intramuscular): Moderate
  • Flavor: Mild beefy flavor
  • Texture: Very lean and firm
  • Slicing Feature: Easy to slice thin
  • Price: Affordable and cost-effective
  • Versatility: Adaptable to various recipes

Sirloin Tip

Sirloin Tip, also known as Knuckle or Round Tip, is from the cow’s round primal at a reasonable price.

It’s also more flavorful, and less tender than the top round, bottom round, and eye of round.

  • Fat content (Intramuscular): Moderate
  • Flavor: Rich beefy flavor
  • Texture: Firm and slightly tender
  • Slicing Feature: Easy to slice
  • Price: Affordable and cost-effective
  • Versatility: Great for various recipes

Flank Steak

This lean cut, which is also called Beef Flank or Plank Steak, has low marbling, is less tender but very flavorful, and is one of the most expensive cuts for beef jerky.

  • Fat content (Intramuscular): Moderate
  • Flavor: Rich and beefy
  • Texture: Tough
  • Slicing Feature: Requires careful slicing
  • Price: Expensive
  • Versatility: Great for various recipes

The following table shows the nutritional values of 100 grams of the raw cuts of the above meats [4]:

MeatProtein (g)Fat (g)Calorie (kcal)Carbohydrates (g)
Top Round 21.5 5.7 141 0.85
Bottom Round 21.2 6.59 150 0
Eye of Round 23.4 3.04 121 0
Sirloin Tip 30.8 5.03 177 0
Flank Steak 21.2 7.17 155 0

As you can see, they all have zero or very low levels of carbohydrates with high and moderate amounts of fat and protein, which makes them a good choice for the Carnivore Diet.

But choosing the proper cut of meat is not the only factor, you also need to prepare and dry it in the right way to make yummy low-carb jerky.

Here are the steps to prepare and dry beef jerky at home.

Learn More: What Is The Best Meat Slicer? The 10 Best Types for Home and Industry

How to Prepare Beef Jerky?

To have the best beef jerky for Carnivore, follow these steps and prepare the jerky:

  1. Remove all fat from the meat and put it in the freezer for about 2 hours. It makes the meat easier to cut thin.
  2. Remove the meat from the freezer and slice it 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. If it’s too thick, first cut it in half horizontally.
  3. Create a Carnivore-friendly marinade. You can use salt and pepper with other Carnivore-approved ingredients like bone broth. But if you’re not following a strict  Carnivore, you can use minimal plant-based ingredients like garlic or onion powder.
  4. Add the meat to the marinade and toss to coat evenly.
  5. Cover it with plastic wrap or put it in a large ziplock bag and place it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or overnight.

After preparing the jerky using the above steps, you can use the following methods to dry the beef jerky.

How to Dry Beef Jerky?

After marinating, the beef slices are ready to turn into jerky. You can use either an oven or a dehydrator to dry beef jerky.

The dehydrator is a better option for making beef jerky as it is designed to maintain a consistently low temperature, which is ideal for drying meat.

But if you don’t have a dehydrator, an oven can do the job for you, so you don’t need to buy additional equipment.

Here are both methods (using an oven and dehydrator), so you can have high-quality beef jerky. 

Using an Oven

Here are the steps to make beef jerky using the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
  2. Line the oven bottom with foil.
  3. Pat the meat dry with paper towels.
  4. Arrange the meat in a single layer on a roasting rack and place it in the oven.
  5. Reduce the heat to 150°F and let it dry slowly for about 8 hours.
  6. Remove the jerky from the oven.
  7. Store the jerky in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

You can also store jerky outside of the refrigerator at room temperature, but it will retain its texture longer in the refrigerator and won't spoil.

Using a Dehydrator

Here’s how to make beef jerky with a dehydrator:

  1. Arrange the beef slices in the dehydrator close together but not overlapping.
  2. Set the dehydrator to 165°F for 3 hours.
  3. Check the jerky every 20-30 minutes after 3 hours, until it reaches your desired level of dryness.
  4. Remove the jerky from the dehydrator and store it in the refrigerator or a jar at room temperature.

Note that the drying time on both methods depends on the thickness of the beef strips and your preference. If you want your beef jerky to be drier and crispier, increase the drying time but if you want it to have a softer texture, you should decrease the drying time.

Also, to keep the jerky for a long time, you should use high-quality ingredients for curing and proper packaging to increase the shelf stability.

Shelf Stability

Consider beef jerky shelf stability, which is the ability to resist spoilage and maintain quality over time. It depends on proper curing, dehydration, and packaging techniques.

Also, if you don’t have an oven or dehydrator or are busy and don’t have time to prepare and dry beef jerky, you can buy ready-to-use beef jerky.

There are many brands of beef jerky in the market and it may be overwhelming to choose the ones that best fit your Carnivore Diet goals and taste preferences.

So, here are the 3 best beef jerky brands to help you choose more easily.

Learn More: What Is The Best Meat Dehydrator for Jerky? The 5 Best for Home

3 Best Beef Jerky to Buy on The Carnivore Diet

Here are some of the Carnivore-friendly beef jerky brands, selected based on their nutritional values, ingredients, brand reputation, and customer reviews.

  • CHOMPS Jerky (Original Beef Stick),
  • Country Archer Zero Sugar Classic Beef Jerky, and
  • Lorissa's Kitchen (Original Sticks)

Let’s take a closer look at each of them and find out why they are among the best brands.

CHOMPS Jerky (Original Beef Stick)

It’s made from 100% grass-fed beef and provides 9-10 grams of protein per serving. It also contains no artificial additives and provides a delicious taste.

Also, CHOMPS sources its beef from farms that are committed to humane animal treatment practices.

The table below shows the nutritional values of CHOMPS jerky in 1 stick (32 g) [5].

Calories100 kcal
Carbohydrates 0 g
Fat 7 g
Protein 10 g
Sugar 0 g

Country Archer Zero Sugar Classic Beef Jerky

It’s made from 100% grass-fed beef and delivers 12 grams of protein per serving. It also provides a smoky and savory flavor without any added sugars that can satisfy your cravings for a meaty jerky snack.

Country Archer Zero Sugar Classic Beef Jerky’s nutritional values in 1 stick (28 g) are provided in the table below [6].

Calories70 kcal
Carbohydrates 2 g
Fat 1.5 g
Protein 12 g
Sugar 0 g

Lorissa's Kitchen (Original Sticks)

Lorissa's Kitchen is a jerky brand that provides jerky with simple, clean ingredients and high-quality proteins.

Its beef jerky and sticks are made with minimal ingredients, no preservatives, nitrates, or nitrites. Also, the beef is USDA Organic and is labeled 100% grass-fed beef.

Here are its nutritional values in 1 stick (28 g) [7].

Calories130 kcal
Carbohydrates 1 g
Fat 11 g
Protein 6 g
Sugar <1 g

Also, many other beef jerky brands are available that provide high-quality and Carnivore-friendly jerky.

According to a report by "Grand View Research", this industry is rapidly growing each year since more people are choosing more healthy eating habits [8] [9].

Grand View Research Report on Beef Jerky Market

Based on the "Grand View Research" report published in 2021, the demand for healthier and low-carb snacks has significantly increased, particularly among individuals following low-carb diets. It also mentions that due to increasing demand, the jerky market size will reach $6.5 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7% during the forecast period.

Learn More: What Is The Best Way to Cook Tomahawk Steak: Grilling or Oven-Cooking?

Conclusion

The answer to the question, “Can I have beef jerky on Carnivore” is a big yes, as beef jerky is a Carnivore-friendly snack that can provide proper satiety between main meals.

Please remember that the healthiest choice is to make jerky at home to control the additives. But if you’re buying ready-to-use jerky, you must choose the one with no sugar and few additives.

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