Jerky Glossary of Terms

Ultimate Glossary of Jerky Terms

How much do you really know about Jerky? I’m not talking the history of Jerky, although if you are interested in learning the origin story of this beloved snack, click here.

In this instance we are talking about the ingredients, terminology and all around vocabulary that goes along with the Jerky industry. If you are unfamiliar with the F.S.I.S or have no idea what a Bhut Jolokia is, no worries. Here you will find the ultimate, curated list of jerky terms.

Think of this as the Hombre’s guide to all things meat and jerky.




à la broche – (French) Food cooked on a spit or skewer.

abbacchio – (Italian, singular) lamb.

Abbatoir- Another name for an animal slaughterhouse.

actin – The major component of thin muscle filaments. Together with the motor protein myosin, which forms thick filaments, it is arranged into actomyosin myofibrils. These fibrils comprise the mechanism of muscle contraction.

ad lib feeding – Self-feeding or allowing cattle to consume feed on a free-choice basis.

adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – A coenzyme required for the shortening of the actomyosin myofibrils required for muscle contraction. This latter process is one of the main energy requirements of animals and is essential for locomotion and respiration.

adipose tissue – Loose connective tissue comprised of about 80 percent fat.

adobo – A Filipino dish of marinated meat or fish seasoned with garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and spices. A Spanish process of marinating raw foods in a mixture of spices, especially paprika, and vinegar to preserve the food and enhance its flavor. A Puerto Rican salt and spice mixture rubbed on meats or seafood before cooking. A Mexican sauce preparation.

aging – The process of holding raw meat for a period of time before processing for the purpose of tenderizing and condensing flavor. Dry aging is performed by storing the meat exposed to air under refrigeration. Evaporation of moisture from the muscles serves to concentrate the flavor and cause significant weight loss. Natural enzymes break down connective tissue to improve tenderness.

aiguillette – (French) Nowadays any meat cut into long, thin strips. Traditionally in France, aiguillettes were only cut from a duck breast or beef tenderloin.

aïoli – (French, sp. Provençal) In American cooking, a garlic-flavored mayonnaise often used as an accompaniment to fish, vegetables and other meat. In Provence, where the term originates, it can also refer to a complete dish of boiled vegetables, seafood, and eggs served with an aïoli sauce. In Catalan cooking, an aioli may be prepared just from garlic and olive oil pounded together in a mortar.

aitchbone – The portion of the pelvis that is exposed when a carcass is divided at the medial line.

al dente – (Italian) Firm to the bite. Often used to refer to doneness in pasta, the amount of firmness is usually interpreted in the United States as being firmer than in Italy.

all natural – A USDA-regulated term that means that the meat has been “minimally processed with no artificial ingredients.” It may still contain antibiotics and growth hormones.

allspice – The dried, unripe fruit of the Pimenta dioca tree. It may also be referred to as Jamaica pepper, pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, or newspice.

Anti-bacterial- An agent that destroys or inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Anti-fungal- An agent that destroys or inhibits the growth of fungi.

Antioxident- Any substance that counteracts the damaging effects of oxidation. Some antioxidants protect body cells from damage caused by the oxidative effects of free radicals.

Artisan- A term used to describe a worker in a skilled job. In this case jerky, which implies the jerky was hand made, including hand sliced. Artisan jerky is almost always superior to your typical standard fare jerky out there.

A.P.O - Army Post Office, a branch of the United States Postal Service. Refers to the facilities handling the mail of active members of the armed forces. Not all beef jerky manufacturers ship to these addresses. Additional shipping information is required to ship to these addresses since a separate body governs them.

Atkins Diet - Diet designed by Dr. Robert Atkins that emphasizes a minimal intake of carbohydrates that can result in weight loss. A high intake of refined carbohydrates is believed to contribute to obesity. Jerky products containing less than 3 grams of carbs per serving size are considered low-carb.




back strap – Part of the ligamentum nuchae that lies on the dorsal surface of the spine and literally holds the animals head up. Beef back straps are sometimes dried and used as dog chews.

bacon pigs, lard pigs – An archaic classification of pigs when pigs were important producers of lubricants and cooking fat. Lard pigs were generally thicker with short legs and are fattened quickly on a corn diet. Bacon pigs were leaner and more muscular and used for the production of meat.

Bacteria - Very small living organisms made of only one cell which are present everywhere (i.e.; the air, the soil, on the skin). Many types of bacteria can cause diseases, but others can be very helpful to humans.

barbecue, barbeque, BBQ – Either an apparatus for cooking meat with heat from wood, charcoal, or gas, usually used outdoors; or the act of cooking meat over such an apparatus; or the resulting cooked product; or a gathering that includes items cooked on such an apparatus.

baron – A very large roasting cut, usually of beef, designed to serve a large number of people. The cut is usually produced from a carcass that has not been split into left and right sides. A baron of rumps or loins is the most common.

bavette – (French) See “flank steak.”

beef – The culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle, although beef may also refer to the meat from the other bovines such as antelope, African buffalo, bison, water buffalo, and yak.

Bhut Jolokia- The actual name of ghost peppers which are insanely hot.

Biltong- Strips of lean meat dried in open air for about 10 days and of South African origin.

bison – A bovine native to North America. The U.S. government refers to it as buffalo. Bison meat is generally leaner, darker in color, and more intensely flavored than beef.

black angus beef – Black Angus is the most popular breed for beef in the U.S.

blade steak – A steak prepared by cross-cutting the infraspinatus muscle, which is packaged as a top blade roast. (IMPS 1114D)

bloom – The process of beef changing from the dark purple seen in vacuum-packaged meat to a bright cherry-red color when exposed to oxygen.

bockwurst – A sausage of German origin similar to bratwurst, but generally lighter in color and mostly produced from veal. The filling is usually emulsified and the finished sausage is sold precooked.

bone marrow – The flexible tissue found in the interior of bones.

bone-in – A term used to refer to meat cuts that are commonly sold as boneless.

Bourbon- A kind of American whiskey distilled from maize and rye.

Bottom round - Very lean cut of beef from the round section (i.e.; top-round) of the steer that is moderately tough. The lack of fat and marble in this cut makes it an ideal selection for preparing beef jerky.

bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) – A fatal brain disorder that occurs in cattle. Commonly called “mad cow disease.”

braising – A slow cooking method in which tough cuts of meat are partially immersed in liquid in a covered pot or pan for long periods of time. By only partially submerging the meat, the space above the liquid is filled with steam which does a better job of breaking down the tough connective tissue.

Brisket Flat - A cut of a steer coming from the lower breast/chest area. Beef brisket is one of the eight primal cuts (see Primal Cut).

Bromelain- A plentiful and powerful enzyme found in pineapples. Widely used in the food industry as a meat tenderizer.

butcher – A person who may slaughter animals, dress their flesh, cut their flesh into saleable portions, sell their meat, or any combination of these tasks.

butterfly – A term referring to a single muscle, or group of muscles, that has(ve) been cut in one or more places to leave a hinge so the cut can be opened like butterfly wings. The process produces a thinner meat cut that will cook quicker or more evenly or both. The term may also refer to a chicken carcass that where the spine is removed to allow the carcass to open flat.




Calorie - Commonly used unit of measure to gauge food energy. One gram of pure carbohydrate makes approximately 4 grams of calories. Recommended daily intake for any one individual is between 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day. Low-calorie beef jerky products are generally those consisting of 80 calories or less per serving size.

Capsicum- Any of various tropical American pepper plants, having mild or pungent seeds enclosed in a pod-shaped or bell-shaped fruit. Usually referred to the hot variety of peppers.

Carbohydrate (Carb) - One of the 4 classes of biomolecules that help the body store and transport energy. While carbs are easier to digest than protein or fats in the body, they are not considered essential nutrients. Proteins and fats can provide the body with all the energy it requires.

Carcinogen- cancer causing substance or agent.

carpetbag steak – Not a cut of meat but a preparation dating back to the 19th century in which a pocket is cut in a steak and filled with raw oysters. The pocket is then fastened shut with thread or skewers to contain the oysters while the steak is cooked.

casing – The various parts of the alimentary canal used to enclose forcemeats to create sausages. The most common casings are made from the collagen that makes up the submucosa of the small intestines, usually from pigs but also lambs. Other parts, such as beef caecums are also used, but removed before eating.

center cut – Generally refers to steaks cut from the longitudinal center of one of the loin cuts, such as the rib-eye, sirloin, or tenderloin.

Certified Angus Beef – A registered trademark of the American Angus Association. Beef produced by licensees of the trademark must contain a minimum amount of the angus bloodline in their DNA, be graded as “choice” or “prime,” and meet 10 additional quality standards set forth by the Association.

chateaubriand – (French) In French butchery in the early 20th century, the beef tenderloin was divided into five portions of approximately equal length. The second piece from the rump end, the one where the iliacus and the psoas major join, was the chateaubriand. In the mid-20th century in America, this piece was used as a roast cut for two people in fine restaurants. There is also a 19th-century French steak dish by the same name that uses the same cut.

Chicago-style steak – A preparation of steak, cooked to the desired level and then heavily charred. The diner orders it by asking for the style followed by the level of doneness, e.g. “Chicago-style rare.” In some areas it is also referred to as Pittsburgh-style steak.

chitterlings – An English-language term for the small intestines, usually from a pig.

Cholula- A popular hot sauce made in Mexico.

chop – Originally a cut made by cross-cutting the loin that included the chine. In the U.S. a chop made now refer to any steak-like cut from a lamb or pig, with or without bone.

chorizo – A highly-seasoned, spicy sausage whose red color comes from spices made from red-colored peppers. Spanish varieties are cured, dried, and ready to eat, similar to other dried, cured sausages. Mexican varieties are fresh and require cooking before eating.

chump – A term used in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries for a lamb top sirloin, which contains the contains the gluteus medius, gluteus accessorius, gluteus profundus, and the biceps femoris muscles.

core temperature – The temperature at the center of the thickest part of a piece of meat.

corn-fed, grain-fed – An adjective describing the process of feeding animals a diet of corn kernels and other grains. The process tends to create more fat than grass feeding.

Country- A flavor of jerky similar to the Original flavor, very plain.

cowboy steak – A thick, chined, bone-in, beef rib steak cut parallel to the bone. The piece includes a short piece of bone ventral to the eye with all the meat and tissue removed.

cracklings, pork rinds – Fried or slow roasted pig skin with some fat attached.

crown roast, interlaced roast – A roast made from two rib racks harvested from the 5th through 12th ribs, generally from lamb or pork. The racks are fully chined, the individual racks are curved so the rib bones stand as a vertical half cylinder, and the two racks fastened together end-to-end to complete the cylinder, or “crown.”

culatello – A dried ham made from the inside round, eye of round, and outside round of a large pig. The salted meat is stuffed into is a pig bladder and tied into a pear shape before being dried for 8 to 12 months in an open-air building environment.

curing – The process of preserving meat or fish with salt.

cushion – The triceps brachii muscles the pork foreleg. It shall be practically free of fat with the tendons trimmed flush with the lean. (IMPS 405B)

cut – The term used for a piece, segment, or section of an animal produced during butchering.

cutlet – A thin, boneless slice of meat, often cut on the bias to create as wide a piece as possible.




dam – The female parent of an animal. In general, more specific terms such as hen, ewe, sow, or cow are more appropriate to use.

dark cutter – Color of the lean muscle in the carcass has a dark appearance, usually caused by stress to the animal prior to slaughter. This condition may also be referred to as “dark, dry, dry” or “DFD.”

debeak – To remove a portion of a bird’s top beak to prevent cannibalism or self-pecking.

deckle – The muscles located laterally in a primal rib cut. The large deckle muscle is the latissimus dorsi muscle, and the small deckle is the trapezius muscle. Sometimes the pectoralis muscle of the beef brisket is referred to as the deckle.

deep-fry – To cook food in hot fat in a level deep enough to completely cover the item being cooked.

Defrost - The process of thawing frozen meat by increasing its temperature. Meat needs to be defrosted, but not cooked prior to dehydrating it for jerky. Never defrost frozen game on the counter. Instead, use water, the microwave or the refrigerator

dehorn – To remove the horns of an animal.

Dehydrator- A machine used to dry meat at a low temperature, around 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

deviled ham – A commercial product of emulsified ham and spices which was first sold in 1868 by the William Underwood Company

dewlap – Loose skin under the chin and neck of animals.

disjoint – To separate poultry at its joints, typically the knees, hips, and shoulders.

done – The point of time in food preparation when the cooking of an item is complete.

down – The soft, fur-like fluff covering a newly hatched chick; also, the fluffy part near the bottom of any feather.

dry sauté – An American term referring to cooking meat in a dry frying without the addition of fat. The term should not be confused with searing. See “sear.”

dry-aged – Fresh beef that has been hung or set on wooden racks to partially dry under controlled temperature, humidity, and air flow to enhance flavor and tenderness. During aging, the meat typically loses 10 to 12% of its water content, but in extreme cases twice that much water may be lost. The increase in flavor and tenderness is counter-balanced the significant increase in cost due to lose of weight.

dry-heat cooking – The cooking of meat in an air environment. Broiling, grilling, pan-frying, and oven roasting are examples of dry-heat methods of cooking.

dub – To trim a cock’s comb.

duck – Any of a variety of species of wild or domestic web-footed birds. Duck is generally higher in fat than other domestic poultry.

Du du bo kho- A green papaya salad with beef jerky strips, and Vietnamese in origin.




  1. coli- a kind of bacteria that is sometimes found in food, that can cause severe food poisoning.

edema – Abnormal fluid accumulation in the intercellular tissue spaces of the body.

egg tooth – A horny cap on a chick’s upper beak that helps the chick pip through the shell.

elk – A large member of the deer family. Elk meat is called “venison.” Antelope, caribou, elk, deer, moose and reindeer meat is also classified as venison, the most popular large animal game meat in the U.S.

embryo – An animal in the early stages of development in the womb or egg.

Emulsifier- A compound or substance that acts as a stabilizer for liquids in order for them not to separate, and promotes the liquids to form together.

enhanced – Term describing meat pumped with added water, flavorings, preservatives, and or salt. Labels of enhance products made also used the terms: “basted,” “pre-basted,” “injected,” or “marinated.”

enteritis – Inflammation of the intestines, especially the small intestine.

entrecôte – (French) A rib-eye steak.

Enzyme- A group of complex proteins that are produced by living cells, and act as catalysts in specific biochemical reactions.

escalope – (French) A thin, boneless piece of meat that is uniform in its thickness and cut from a larger piece; a cutlet.

esophageal groove – Groove in the reticulum which directs milk in a nursing calf from the esophagus to the omasum, a ruminant’s third stomach.

Ethical- Livestock that is raised with no growth hormones or additional antibiotics, and free range but not certified as organic.

eviscerate – Removal of the internal organs during the slaughtering process.

ewe – A female sheep.

Exotic Meat - Meat, in terms of jerky products, that is not beef or turkey. Ostrich, buffalo, and even venison are considered exotic. Keep in mind, however, that exotic is not the same as wild game.

eye of round roast – A roast made from the bovine semitendinosus muscle, common called the eye of round. (IMPS 171C)




fabrication –Breaking the carcass into primal, subprimal, or retail cuts. These cuts may be boned and trimmed of excess fat.

Farm-raised - Animals raised for sale and/or consumption under state regulations are usually farm-raised. Exotic animals can also be farm-raised.

farce – (French) A filling.

fatback (or backfat) – A layer of firm subcutaneous porcine fat. It is rendered to make lard; added when making sausages and terrines for added texture, flavor, and moisture; and cured as a stand-alone charcuterie item. See “lardo.”

fat thickness – Subcutaneous fat thickness is a predictor of wholesale bovine cut yield, and represents what is to be trimmed from the carcass. Typically measured at the twelfth and thirteenth rib as inches of fat over the longissimus dorsi muscle.

fed cattle – Steers and heifers that have been fed concentrates, usually for 90 to 120 days in a feedlot or until they reach a desired slaughter weight.

feed additive – An ingredient such as an antibiotic or hormone-like substance that is added to an animal’s diet to perform a specific role.

feed bunk – Trough or container used to feed cattle.

fell – The fell is the paper-thin covering of outer fat on a roast. It is usually removed for small cuts, like chops, but kept in place for roasts and legs because it helps retain the shape and juiciness when cooking.

femininity – Well-developed secondary female sex characteristics, udder development, and refinement in head and neck.

fermière – A rustic and simple style of cutting, like that of a farmer.

filet mignon – Traditionally, a thick (2-1/2 in) steak sliced from the mid-region of the bovine psoas major muscle and devoid of any connective tissue or fat. The term may now refer to any steak cut from the beef tenderloin and may include the psoas major, psoas minor, sartorius muscles as well as connecting tissue and fat.

flushing – Placing females on a high level of nutrition before breeding to decrease postpartum interval and possibly stimulate an increased conception rate.

follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) – Hormone produced and released by the anterior pituitary that stimulates the development of the follicle in the ovary.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – United States government agency responsible for protecting the public against impure and unsafe foods, drugs, veterinary products, biologics, and other products.

Food Marketing Institute (FMI) – National association of food retailers and wholesalers located in Washington, DC, that conducts programs of research, education, and public affairs for its members.

Food Preservation - The process of treating food in a way that preserves its edibility and nutrition value for a longer time period than expected. Food preservation will stop or greatly slow down spoilage to prevent food borne illnesses.

Food Thermometer - A thermometer used to measure the internal temperature of any meat type. This information is used to help achieve the desired temperature of any food. Meats must reach a certain temperature to sufficiently kill any pathogens or bacteria that could result in illness. Jerky is usually dehydrated in ovens or smokers at 160 degrees or more to ensure food safety.

foot and mouth disease (FMD) – Highly contagious disease affecting many species of livestock including cattle. This disease is of particular concern in that it can lead to loss of export markets.

footrot – Disease of the foot in cattle.

fond – (French) Base or bottom. In cooking, a fond is the term for stocks used in the preparation of sauces. American chefs may refer to the particles stuck to the bottom of a pan from cooking as the fond.

forb – Weedy or broad-leaf plants (unlike grasses) that serve as pasture for animals (e.g., clover, alfalfa).

forequarter- The neck, shoulder, front legs, breast, and ribs of any meat animal.

fork tender – Referring to cooked meat easily cut or broken up with a fork.

freezer burn – The discoloration and dehydration of flesh in freezer-stored meats due to exposure to air.

frenched – The process of removing meat and connective tissue from a bone end to make its presentation more sophisticated. Rib and shank bones are those usually “frenched.”

fresh ham – Meat from the hind leg of a pig that is neither cured or smoked.

fricassee – A preparation of poultry, rabbit, or other white meat in a sauce. In American cooking, it is a method of stewing whereas in French cooking it is a method of braising.

F.S.I.S - The Food Safety and Inspection Service (F.S.I.S) is the public health agency of the U.S Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe to consume and accurately labeled. Any food containing more than 6-7% meat product goes through this agency's inspection process.

fumet – (French) Literally, aroma. A shorthand reference to a fumet de poisson, or a fish stock.




galantine – (French) Meat or fish, generally poultry, that is de-boned fully or partially, stuffed, and rolled back together. Then poached and served cold, sometimes in aspic.

Game meat- An animal not normally domesticated. Typically, game meat is superiorly healthier than beef.

gelatin – A translucent, colorless, brittle, flavorless, irreversibly hydrolyzed form of collagen. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food. Common sources for production include porcine skin, bovine hides, and animal bones. In the kitchen, gelatin is a common by-product from the production of charcuterie and stocks.

gene – Segment of DNA in the chromosome that codes for a trait and determines how a trait will develop.

generation interval – Average age of the parents when the offspring destined to replace them are born. A generation represents the average rate of turnover of a herd.

genetic engineering – Changing the characteristics of an animal by altering or rearranging its DNA. It is an all-embracing term for several techniques: (1) manipulations at a cellular level (cloning); (2) manipulation of the DNA itself (gene manipulation); and (3) changing the DNA sequence through the selection and mating of cattle.

Genetically modified organizm- An organism whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering in a way that is not natural. Current laws do not make GMO labeling mandatory in ingredient lists. There is much controversy on the potential dangers of eating GMO products.

Genoa salami – A smooth textured, cured, pork sausage seasoned with garlic and spices named for its northern Italian city of origin.

genotype-environment interaction – Variation in the relative performance of different genotypes from one environment to another. For example, the “best” cattle (genotypes) for one environment may not be the “best” for another environment.

gestation – Time from conception until the female gives birth, an average of 285 days in cows, 147 days in ewes, and 113 days in sows.

Ghost pepper- One of the hottest peppers in the world. Also known as Bhut Jolokia, and is insanely hot.

giblets – The liver, heart, gizzard, and neck of a chicken or other fowl, usually removed from the carcass and cooked separately.

gizzard – An organ found in the digestive tract of poultry. This specialized stomach is constructed of thick, muscular walls and is used for grinding up food, often with the aid of pebbles ingested by the bird.

gonad – Organ that produces spermatozoa in the male, the testicle, and the egg cells in the female, the ovary.

Gourmet jerky- A style of making jerky where sauces and/or liquids are used to marinate the meat. The opposite of gourmet jerky is old fashioned jerky where no liquid marinade is used, just a dry rub normally with spices.

grade – A designation that indicates quality or yield of meat.

grain-fed – Refers to livestock that has been fed grain mostly grain after weaning.

grass-fed – Refers to livestock that has been fed herbaceous plants for its entire lifecycle following weaning.

grazier – A person who manages grazing livestock.

green chorizo – A form of chorizo from Toluca, Mexico. Although often sold in casings, the forcemeat is removed from the casing for cooking. The cooked chorizo resembles ground beef.

grilling – A method of dry cooking that includes searing and cooking on a grill over a radiant heat source, usually wood coals or a gas fire.

gross margin – Difference between the revenue and variable production cost for one unit (one acre or one animal) of an enterprise.

ground beef – Beef that has been ground or finely chopped. Usually produced from trim in butcher shops, commercial ground beef is made from the entire animal.

growing ration – Usually a high-roughage ration whereby gains of 0.25 to 2 pounds per day are anticipated.

growth – Increase in protein over its loss in the animal body. Growth occurs by increases in cell numbers, cell size, or both.

grubs – Larvae of the heel fly found on the backs of cattle under the hide.

guanciale – (Italian) A cured, unsmoked pork jowl bacon. See pancetta.




halfsib – Animals having one common parent.

Halal- Foods that are allowed under Islamic dietary guidelines. The aim is for a Muslim to slaughter the animal, limiting the amount of pain the animal will endure.

ham – A general term for cured pork meat. The ham may be smoked or not, cooked or not, fresh or dried, and on the bone or not.

ham hock – The ham hock is either the distal portion of the shank or the whole shank, depending on the butcher. The tibia and fibula (hind legs) or ulna and radius (fore leg) are sawed so the interior of the bones are exposed at both ends.

Hand cut- Hand-cut - Method of slicing meat into strips without the use of machinery. Because it is labor intensive and time consuming, not all manufacturers use this method.

hand mating – Bringing a female to a male for breeding, after which she is removed from the area where the male is located (same as hand breeding).

hanger steak – A cut from the muscle on the inside of the beef carcass, attached to the last rib, diaphragm and kidney, right below the tenderloin in the plate primal. It is called hanger because it appears to “hang” from the diaphragm of the steer. Also called onglet (French), lombatello (Italian), and solomillo de pulmón (Spanish). (NAMP 140)

hanging tenderloin – Lumbar portion of the diaphragm muscle. Also called the Thick Skirt.

hard salami – See “German hard salami.”

hardware disease – Ingested sharp objects perforate the reticulum and cause infection of the heart sac, lungs, or abdominal cavity.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) – A process used to identify those steps in production where mistakes may critically damage the final performance of the product and to establish a system of monitoring and intervention to avoid these mistakes.

heart girth – Circumference of the animal’s body, measured just behind the shoulders.

heat increment – Increase in heat production following consumption of feed when an animal is in a thermoneutral environment. It includes additional heat generated in fermentation, digestion, and nutrient metabolism.

hedge – Risk management strategy that allows a producer to lock in a price for a given commodity at a specified time.

heifer – Young bovine cow prior to the time that she has produced her first calf.

heiferette – Heifer that has calved once and is then fed for slaughter. The calf has usually died or been weaned at an early age.

Herb- A plant used for flavoring, scent and/or seasoning. If used properly, herbs can enhance the flavor of meat and add texture to any type of beef jerky marinade.

heritability – Portion of the phenotypic differences between animals that is due to heredity.

heritage breed – Breed produced from purebred and cross-bred livestock from rare species.

heterosis – Performance of offspring that is greater than the average of the parents. Usually referred to as the amount of superiority of the crossbred over the average of the parental breeds. Also called “hybrid vigor.”

Hickory - A flavor that comes from Hickory wood chips. These chips are used in a smoker to add extra flavor to the meat that is being dehydrated. The smoke from the burning wood chips permeates the food, giving it a hickory flavor.

Himalayan beef – Another name for yak. The yak is more environmentally friendly than beef and easier to handle than bison. Americans don’t understand “yak meat”; hence, the more food-friendly name. Yaks need far less food than either bison or beef. To gain one pound, yaks need 6 pounds of forage, compared to 8 pounds for beef and 12 for bison. Yak meat is 95 to 97% lean. Grass-fed without hormones or antibiotics, yak is also low in palmitic acid, which effects bad cholesterol production.

hindquarter – The rear leg and hip portion of a quadruped.

hiplock – Condition at calving in which the hips of the calf cannot pass through the pelvis of the cow.

hormones – A chemical released by a cell or a gland in one part of the body that sends out messages that affect cells in other parts of the organism. Only a small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. In essence, it is a chemical messenger that transports a signal from one cell to another.

hot dog – A slender, emulsified sausage derived from the “frankfurter.” It is typically eaten in a bun or roll.

hot links – The commercial name for Cajun-style andouille sausages. Commercially produced hot links are generally less fatty, smoother, and contain a higher percentage of meat than the originals.

hot-fat trimming – Removal of excess surface fat while the carcass is still hot, immediately after slaughter and dressing and prior to chilling the carcass.

hot-house lamb – A young lamb that has been entirely milk-fed and not pastured.

hot smoking – A method of cooking meat and fish by exposing the protein to smoke a in controlled environment of between 165 °F and 185 °F (74 °C and 85 °C). The smoked items are safe to eat without further cooking.

hot weight – Weight of carcass just after slaughter and prior to chilling.

Hydrolyzation- Normally cooking something in a vat of acid. This sludge is known to contain the unhealthy and controversial trans fats (trans fatty acids).




interlaced roast –Two or more Frenched rib sections are joined and tied. Two racks tied together are into a circular form are called a “crown roast.”

Ibérico pig – A very old strain of black-skinned pigs with very little hair. The adult has slender legs and a very long snout. Ibérico pigs also have a high fat content. The large amount of fat covering each ham, enables the meat to be cured for a much longer period, resulting in a much more complex, intense flavor.

industrial livestock pigs – Pigs raised on large-scale, industrial farms. They are raised mostly indoors on a commercial feed, and have a considerably shorter life span.

Irish bacon – Cured pork loin, including the overlying fat, that is sliced thin and fried like common bacon. It is sometimes called “back bacon.”




Jaccard tenderizer – A device with a series of symmetrically arranged narrow, chisel-like blades used to tenderize meat. The blades are arranged offset so small bundles of muscle fiber are cut into short sections while leaving the entire muscle still intact. Versions are available for home cooks, restaurants, and commercial meat producers. Produced by the Jaccard Corporation in New York State.

Jalapeno- A popular type of bell hot pepper, which is usually the least spicy of jerky hot flavors.

Jamaican jerk seasoning – A dry seasoning blend originating in Jamaica used primarily in the preparation of grilled meat. The ingredients can vary, depending on the cook, and often are a combination of chilies, thyme, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, garlic and onions.

jambalaya – One of Creole cookery’s hallmark dishes Jambalaya is a versatile dish that combines cooked rice with a variety of ingredients including tomatoes, onion, green peppers, and almost any kind of meat, poultry, or shellfish. The dish varies widely from cook to cook. It’s thought that the name derives from the French jambon, meaning “ham,” the main ingredient in many of the original jambalayas.

jambon – (French) ham. Jambon fumé is smoked ham and jambon cru is “cooked” ham.

jerky – Also called jerked meat, jerky is meat (usually beef) that is cut into long, thin strips and dried, traditionally by the sun. Jerky was a popular staple with early trappers, just as it is with today’s backpackers because it keeps almost indefinitely and is light and easy to transport. It’s quite tough and salty but is very flavorful and high in protein.

Jerky gun- A small hand held kitchen appliance that is used to form and mold raw ground meat into strips.

joue – (French) cheek.

jugged hare – A classic English preparation that begins with cut pieces of rabbit that are soaked in a red wine-juniper berry marinade for at least a day. The marinated meat is well browned, then combined in a casserole, traditionally a heatproof crock or jug, with vegetables, seasonings and stock, and baked. When the meat and vegetables are done, the juices are poured off and combined with cream and the reserved hare blood and pulverized liver. The strained sauce is served over the “jugged” hare and vegetables.

jus – (French ) juice. Can refer to fruit and vegetable juices, as well as the juices exuded from cooked meat.




kafta – (Lebanese) ground meat patties, usually prepared by mixing the ground beef with onion, parsley, allspice, black pepper and salt. See kofta.

kalbi, galbi (갈비) – (Korean) marinated and grilled pork or beef short ribs.

kassler, kasseler – (German) A salted (cured) and slightly smoked cut of pork. Pork necks and loins are the most often used although ribs, shoulders and bellies can also be used.

kebab, kabab – A wide variety of meat dishes originating in the Middle East and later on adopted in Turkey, Southern Europe, South Asia, and Asia Minor, that are now found worldwide. In English, kebab with no qualification generally refers more specifically to shish kebab (Armenian) served on the skewer. In the Middle East kebab refers to meat that is cooked over or next to flames; large or small cuts of meat, or even ground meat; it may be served on plates, in sandwiches, or in bowls. The traditional meat for kebab is lamb.

keech – An early 20th century term for a mass or lump of fat rolled up by the butcher. The term is no longer in use. It is derived from the early 19th century Scottish informal term for excrement.

keslop – The stomach of a calf prepared for rennet.

kheyma – (Armenian) (Also called kibbah in Arabic or Lebanese.) Uncooked ground lamb or beef mixed with parsley, onions, tomatoes and spices and eaten with romaine leaves or Armenian pita bread.

Kosher- Foods that are allowed under Jewish dietary guidelines.




lagniappe – Used primarily in southern Louisiana and southeast Texas, the word refers to an “unexpected something extra.” It could be an additional doughnut, as in “baker’s dozen,” a free “one for the road” drink, and an unanticipated tip for someone who provides a special service or possibly a complimentary dessert for a regular customer.

Lancashire hot pot – A version of hotchpotch that contains mutton, sheep’s kidneys, and, when available, oysters, all covered with a layer of potatoes.

lardo – (Italian) a type of salume made by curing strips of fatback with rosemary and other herbs and spices

ligamentum nuchae – See “back strap.”

linguiça – (Portuguese) A form of smoke-cured pork sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika.

liver – The organ in invertebrates responsible for blood detoxification, protein synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion. Liver is rich in iron, protein and vitamin A.

llama – A domesticated South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times.

London broil – A poorly defined North-American beef cut fabricated from either the flank or a thick cut from sirloin tip, bottom round, or top round.

loukániko (λουκάνικο) – (Greek) A common Greek word for pork sausage. In English, the term refers to a Greek sausage seasoned with orange rind, fennel, and other dried herbs.

Low Calorie - Low-calorie jerky products are those containing 80 grams of calories or less per serving size. The homepage features a section of products that fall into this category.

Low Carb - Low-carb jerky products are those containing 3 grams of carbohydrates or less per serving size. The homepage features a section of products that fall into this category.

Lycopene- A bright red carotenoid found in fruits or vegetables such as tomatoes, watermelon and grapefruit. A powerful antioxidant, and known to be very healthy. It is said that cooking lycopene makes it even healthier.




Maillard reaction – A form of nonenzymatic browning resulting from a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar, usually requiring heat. High temperature, intermediate moisture levels, and alkaline conditions all promote the Maillard reaction. The reaction peaks at 154 °C (309 °F).

mammal – Members of class Mammalia, air-breathing vertebrate animals characterized by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young. Most mammals also possess sweat glands and specialized teeth. The largest group of mammals, the placentals, have a placenta which feeds the offspring during gestation. The mammalian brain, with its characteristic neocortex, regulates endothermic and circulatory systems, the latter featuring red blood cells lacking nuclei and a four-chambered heart.

mandolin – A mechanical slicer that can be fitted with various cutting blades to produce consistent slices and strips.

marbling – Small, visible streaks of intramuscular fat. Marbling improves meat juiciness and flavor.

marinate – To steep food in a marinade.

marinade – A liquid, normally savory and acidic, in which a food is soaked to enrich its flavor or to tenderize it.

maw – The mouth, throat, or gullet of a voracious animal.

mechanically separated meat – A paste-like meat product produced by forcing bones with attached edible meat under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue.

medallion – A small round or oval slice meat.

melt – A pig or calf spleen.

mesentery – Membranes and fat that support the intestines and provide paths for blood vessels that service the intestines.

Mesquite- A type of tree or bush used to smoke the jerky usually in a smoker.

middle meats – Cuts from the rib and loin section of an animal.

mortadella – (Italian) A smooth-textured pork sausage with large pieces of fat dispersed through the body of the sausage.

Moisture- Refers to the presence of water in a product. Moisture and oxygen are the main causes of mold formation on jerky products. Since jerky should have between 90% to 95% of the moisture removed, jerky recipes should clearly state the cooking temperature and amount of time meat should be dehydrated in order to remove the maximum amount of moisture.

moussaka (μουσακάς) – (Greek) A dish consisting of layers of minced lamb or beef, sliced eggplant, tomatoes, and béchamel sauce, that is baked in an oven, and is common in the Balkans, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

mulligatawny – (Tamil) A curry-flavored soup of Anglo-Indian origin.

muscle – A soft tissue of animals. Muscle cells contain protein filaments that slide past one another, producing a contraction that changes both the length and the shape of the cell. Muscles function to produce force and cause motion.

museau de bœuf – (French) Beef snout.

mutton – The flesh of mature sheep used as food. The definition of mutton varies from country to country.

myoglobin – An iron- and oxygen-binding protein found in the muscle tissue of vertebrates in general and in almost all mammals.




nabemono (なべ物) – (Japanese) A general term referring to dishes prepared in one pot. Ingredients are cut bite-size and cooked in broth in the kitchen or at the table.

nanny goat – Another term for a female goat. Also referred to as “doe.”

nap – To completely coat food with a layer of sauce.

navarin – (French) A stew of mutton or lamb and vegetables.

neat – An archaic term that refers to a member of the bovine family, such as an ox or a cow.

nephric – Of, like, or pertaining to kidney.

New York strip – A steak cut from the muscles lying dorsal to the lumbar spine. Also called a New York steak, shell steak, club steak, Kansas City strip, or sirloin steak.

Newcastle disease – A highly contagious disease effecting poultry. It is transmissible to humans.

nidor – (Latin) Strong smell or fume of an animal being cooked.

nimono (煮る) – (Japanese) A general term for a simmered dish.

Nitrite- A salt or ester of nitrous acid. Typically mixed with salt and called Sodium Nitrite. Known to be quite unhealthy.

noisette – A small round piece of meat, especially loin or fillet of lamb, veal, or pork

nuggets – A small, batter-fried piece of chicken or fish.

Nutritional Facts - Refers to the required label found on most pre-packaged foods in North America. United States nutritional labels are based off of a 2,000-calorie per day diet. Five percent or less of an agent is considered low, whereas 20% or more of an agent is considered high in regards to an individual's recommended daily intake. In some instances, a nutritional label is not required on the package. Instead, a list of ingredients, in order from greatest to least, is required.

NSF certified- Means that the food dehydrator complies with all standard requirements by the National Safety Foundation.




offal –Animal organs or extremities that can be used for cooking. Often referred to as variety meats.

Old fashioned jerky- A style of making jerky where no sauces or liquids are used to marinate the meat. Only a ‘dry rub’ is applied, generally spices. Gourmet Jerky is the opposite where the jerky is soaked in a liquid marinade.

oligopsony – A commodity market where there is a small number of buyers that gives the buyers a strong advantage over the sellers.

olla podrida – (Spanish) A rich, seasoned stew of meat and vegetables, usually including sausage and chick-peas.

oleic acid – An unsaturated fatty acid found in natural fats and oils.

omega – A fatty acid found in meat.

omnivorous – Feeding on both animal and vegetable substances.

Oriental- Jerky made that is characteristic of Asia. Fruit in jerky would be one characteristic.

ossobuco – (Italian) A dish made from veal shanks cross-cut into slices and braised in olive oil, white wine, stock, onions, tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, carrots, celery and lemon peel. Traditionally garnished with gremolata and served with risotto.

ox – A domestic bovine trained as a draft animal. Oxen are commonly castrated males.

Oxygen Absorber - A small white packet found in jerky products that are not vacuum-sealed, used to prevent the growth of mold. The oxidation packet helps to absorb any excess oxygen in the bag in order to decrease the chance of spoilage.

oyster – The small mass of muscle contained in the dorsal concavity of the pelvic bone on each side of a fowl.




panaculty – A dish originating from the northeastern England. It is a form of canned corned-beef hash, but started out as any left over meat from Sunday dinner that was served the next day.

Papain- A plentiful and powerful enzyme found in the fruit papaya. Widely used in the food industry as a meat tenderizer.

partridge – Medium-sized birds from the pheasant family.

pašticada – (Croatian) A stewed beef dish, popular in Croatia.

pasty –A folded pastry case filled with seasoned meat and vegetables, often associated with the Cornwall region of England. Also called a Cornish pasty.

pastrami – Highly seasoned, smoked beef, typically served in thin slices. Raw meat is brined, seasoned with various herbs and spices, smoked, and steamed.

pâté – (French) A mixture of usually ground or pureed meat and fat cooked in a terrine.

patty – A small, flat cake of minced or finely chopped food, especially meat.

pemmican – A mixture of dried and pounded meat mixed with melted fat and other ingredients, originally made by native North Americans.

pepperoni – Beef and pork dried sausage seasoned with pepper. It is characteristically soft, slightly smoky, and bright red in color.

pepper steak – A steak covered with crushed peppercorns, pan-broiled, and served with brandy-butter sauce.

Peri peri- A jerky flavor of South African origin, used on Biltong and mildly spicy. Very tasty.

pickled pigs feet – Hog’s feet cooked and preserved in a hot vinegar brine.

pink – Another term for “rare” when referring to degree of doneness during cooking.

pluck – An archaic term for the heart, liver, lungs, and trachea of a slaughtered food animal.

pork – The meat of a pig, from the Latin porcus.

porterhouse steak – A steak cut from the lumbar region of the spine containing portions of both the loin and the tenderloin. See also T-bone steak.

pot pie – A savory pie with a top crust and sometimes a bottom crust baked in a pie tin or deep dish.

pot roast – A dish prepared by slow-cooking large cuts of meat in a covered pot, originally on top of the stove but now often in an oven.

poultry – Meat from domesticated birds, such as chickens.

prime rib – A roast cut from the seven ribs immediately ventral to the loin with some portion of the ribs and associated vertebrae.

prosciutto – (Italian) Cured and dried ham typically served in very thin slices.

protein – Any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds that consist of large molecules composed of one or more long chains of amino acids.

pulled pork –It is a method of preparation in which pork, usually shoulder, is slow-cooked until tender and then separated into small pieces. In some parts of southeastern United States, the term “barbecue” refers to pulled pork.




Raw - A food item at its most natural, unprocessed state. Raw food is uncooked or not dehydrated at all.

Rind - The outer protective layer of a fruit or vegetable, which can be peeled off. Rind is used in some marinade recipes to add texture and flavor.

Rub - Any mixture of spices that is rubbed on raw food before it is prepared for added flavor.



Satay- Pieces of meat marinated and grilled, served with a spicy sauce, usually containing peanuts. Has Indonesian and Malaysian origin.

Smoked- Jerky that is dried typically using smoke from a smoker.

Smoker - A device used to flavor food by exposing it to the smoke from burning or smoldering plant materials or wood chips.

Standard fare- Jerky you would typically find for sale in stores by the largest jerky makers. They tend to have unhealthy ingredient lists.

Soy - A species of the legume plant, which contains significant amounts essential amino acids. As an excellent source of protein, soybeans are the primary ingredients in many processed foods, including dairy products. Soybeans can be processed and formed into strips that can be dehydrated to make jerky products. This is commonly referred to as vegetarian jerky.

Sun-ripened - The process in which a fruit becomes more edible. A fruit becomes sweeter, less green and softer as it ripens. The acidity and sweetness of the fruit increases during ripening.




Tenderize - The process of breaking down the collagen in meat to make it easier to consume. Methods used to tenderize meat include pounding it with a mallet, applying a meat tenderizer or soaking it in naturally occurring enzymes such as those found in pineapple or papaya juice.

Top round- A cut of meat taken from the inner section of a round of beef. One of the higher quality cuts of meat from a cow.

Traditional Jerky- A style of making jerky where only dry rubs are used, with no marinating

Trans Fat- Also known as Trans Fatty Acids. A by-product of adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils, boiling in a vat of acid to make them more solid.




U.S.D.A - United States Department of Agriculture. The purpose of this governing body is to develop policies on farming, agriculture, and food. The agency aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, promotes agricultural trade and production, assures food safety and protects natural resources. All beef jerky products need to be approved by the U.S.D.A. prior to sale and consumption.




Vacuum-sealed - This is the process of removing all oxygen from a bag prior to sealing it. Vacuum sealing prevents molding and prolongs the shelf life of jerky.

Vegan- Jerky containing no animal products. Technically is not jerky, but generally healthy.

Venison- Meat from deer. Typically a very healthy choice.



List curated from The Butchers Guild,, & Jerky Ingredients



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