Why Is Beef Jerky So Expensive: 4 Different Factors

We all love the deliciously salty, smoky taste of jerky, but the question has to be asked, why is beef jerky so expensive?

Whether you make it yourself at home or buy a baggie from the local store, it can seem like a lot of money for such a small snack!

Here are four of the reasons why beef jerky can be so pricy.


It Takes A Lot Of Meat To Make A Little Bit Of Jerky

why is beef jerky so expensive

Did you know that beef is approximately 75% water? This is more than any other meat available on the market!

This means that beef shrinks up a lot when you dehydrate it to make jerky. In fact, it can take between three to four pounds (1-2kg) of meat to make a pound (0.5kg) of jerky; that’s why it’s so filling!

You may think you are only getting a little bit of beef jerky, but in reality, a lot of meat has gone into making it!

Jerky Is Very Resource-Intensive To Make

why is beef jerky expensive

Another reason why jerky costs so much is because a lot of time goes into making it as tasty as it is.

To start with, time is taken to slice the jerky into thin, uniform strips and remove the fatty parts, as lean meat is best for making jerky.

The beef is then marinated for up to 24 hours in herbs and spices to ensure that it is really flavorsome.

And finally, the marinated meat slices are cooked at a low heat – this can take up to twelve hours depending on the process used.

Though some places use a large dehydrator to make the jerky, other companies make it in smaller batches. This makes the jerky tastier, but the extra time needs to be factored into the cost.

All that time to prepare a piece of jerky, which is then devoured in a matter of seconds.

Beef Is An Expensive Meat

is beef jerky expensive to make

You can certainly make jerky out of turkey or pork, but beef is definitely the tastiest meat!

However, beef is also known for being one of the most expensive types of meat you can buy. It’s very resource-intensive to rear cows, which needs to be factored into the beef cost.

When making beef jerky, it’s also essential to choose the most high-quality meat that is free of additives, chemicals or artificial ingredients. Low-quality meat makes for bland, unappetizing jerky.

Lean cuts of beef are better for jerky, like sirloin, flank, top round and bottom round steak.

This is because fattier meats can lower the quality and cause the jerky to spoil quicker. And lean cuts of beef are more expensive than fattier cuts.

The Cost Of Other Ingredients Can Up The Price Of Jerky Too


As well as the meat, beef jerky contains a lot of ingredients that can make it more expensive.

A high-quality marinade is made of between eight to ten ingredients, mostly herbs and spices. The better and fresher the raw ingredients, the more delicious the end product will be.

There’s also the labor and resources to bear in mind. Many places still make their beef jerky entirely by hand, resulting in a higher price tag.


Although beef jerky can be pricy, the sensation it gives your taste buds is well worth it.

As it is dehydrated, it lasts for ages and can be taken with you, whether as an in-car snack or as something to enjoy with some beer or wine. Or, for your end-of-the-world bunker.

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