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Beef for Beef Jerky

The word, "beef" is used to describe meat derived from a species of domesticated cattle, bovines. Beef is the primary ingredient for making beef jerky. Beef is derived from both sexes of that animal. Humans eat beef all over the world, nearly every culture has an extensive array of recipes for preparing beef. However, in many parts of India, it is considered to be taboo to eat beef, principally by the large Hindu population in that country.

Of all the types of meat in the world, beef is third for popularity. Only poultry and pork are eaten more than beef.

 

Prior to domestication, bovines were hunted by humans for meat. Sometime around 10,000 years ago cattle were domesticated and husbanded by humans for a more reliable source of food than hunting. Via domestication, humans could reliably harvest milk, blood, meat and leather from their beef cattle and be more secure than simply relying on hunting for food.

There are now many different breeds of cattle. They have been bred over the centuries to adapt better to various climates, and for maximizing different products from the animal. Some breeds are Angus, Brown Swiss, Beefalo, Brahma, Charolais, Chianina, Herefors, Murray Grey, oxen, Wagyu, Zebu, and there are many others. Some breeds do well in hot, tropical places, other do well in cold, snowy places. Some breeds maximize milk production, and others maximize the beef that can be harvested from the carcass.

 

Beef animals are kept in fenced pastures, or allowed to range freely in those countries with wide open spaces with lots of vegetation for them to eat. The animals are rounded up on occasion to give medical attention, branding newborns so the owner can be identified, and for harvesting the animals for market. Sometimes the animals are moved to small feedlots for many weeks, where they are fattened up on grain, to increase their market weight and value.

Beef is actually the muscles of the bovine animal. After the animal is killed and dressed, the beef is cut from the carcass in large "primal cut" sections and then are cut into smaller portions according to national and local customs.

 

The offal from the killed animal are often prepared and eaten. Many national and regional specialty dishes are made from the inner organs of beef cattle. Most of those organs are highly nutritious and flavorful. Boiled tongue, grilled thymus (sweetbreads), grilled or fried heart, and fried liver, and fried testicles are all excellent and tasty foods.

The bones are often used for making beef stock by simmering them for a long time. The resulting stock or broth is very flavorful and nutritious. The marrow is also extracted from the long bones and is prepared many different ways.

 

A large amount of each beef carcass are trimmings. These bits of beef are not wasted or thrown away. The smaller bits that are trimmed away from the main cuts are put through a grinder for ground beef. Hamburgers are a world-wide favorite recipe for using ground beef. Sausages are another popular method for using ground beef.

Some portions of beef are tough, and need long cooking times with low, moist heat to tenderize by converting the collagen into gelatin, within the beef.

 

The fat content of the various cuts vary widely and the recipes and cooking methods vary according to how much fat each type of cut has.

The portions of beef with a higher fat content are cut into roasts and steaks. These are cooked for a relatively short time with high heat. The higher fat content allows that cooking method and the beef remains tender, juicy and flavorful.

 

The cuts of beef from the upper thigh muscles are named top and bottom round, which is usually one of the leanest portions. Beefjerky.com uses those cuts to make its beef jerky, specifically because it is a lean cut of beef.


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