The beef jerky we know and love is usually made from muscle meat.
And the same goes for other types of jerky, whether turkey, venison, or pork. That muscle is what gives jerky its signature chewy texture — and what makes it so good at absorbing all those delicious marinades.
But recently, a new kind of jerky has entered the market, eschewing muscle meat for organ meat: beef liver jerky.
The liver may not be the most appetizing food, but stick with us — you’ll be surprised at how the jerky-making process can transform it into a crave-able snack.
And you’ll be even more surprised when you learn about the incredible health benefits of this misunderstood meat.
4 Reasons You Should Try Beef Liver Jerky
1. Beef Liver Jerky Makes Liver Taste More Appealing
For many people, liver is one of those last-resort foods: so unpalatable that they would only eat it if they had no other choice — and even then, they’d gag the whole time.
Part of that repulsion is psychological. We don’t usually eat organ meat, so the idea of eating liver feels strange, off-putting, or even outright taboo.
But much of the distaste is sensory. Even if you love liver, you have to admit that it’s got quite intense flavors and aromas that are surprisingly different from the same animal’s muscle meat.
Liver’s flavor is often described as bold, bitter, and earthy, with a peculiar sweetness and the occasional metallic tang. It’s a very complex, layered taste that can be overwhelming to the point of unpleasantness if you’re not used to it.
And liver’s unique flavor becomes more pronounced the larger the animal it comes from. That makes beef liver among the most strongly-flavored livers out there.
Add all those factors up, and you’ve got the acquired taste to end all acquired tastes. For some, it takes just one whiff of beef liver for to tell them that they never want to try it.
But even if you’re among those naysayers, beef liver jerky might just make you change your mind.
Turning Liver Into Jerky Mellows Out Its Strong Flavor
Regular beef jerky is usually flavored with marinades or rubs, but even if you ate it plain, you’d notice how different it tastes from a cooked steak. Dehydrating the meat condenses the flavors, making them more intense.
Liver jerky also tastes different from cooked liver due to the dehydration process but in the opposite way. As moisture evaporates from the liver, it takes many of the strange flavors along with it, mellowing out the taste of the remaining meat.
To top it off, the salt that’s added to beef liver jerky helps by amplifying the more pleasant, familiar flavors in the liver.
This doesn’t mean that beef liver jerky tastes like regular beef jerky. It’ll still taste earthier and more complex than muscle meat, but in a mild way that makes it easier to understand and enjoy all the layers, you’re experiencing.
2. You Might Enjoy the Tender Texture of Beef Liver Jerky
Depending on the cut of meat used and the extent of the dehydration, beef jerky can take on a tough, chewy texture that’s difficult for some to handle.
Many people like their jerky to have a bit of a bite to it, but too much of it makes it feel like you’re eating a piece of leather. And super-tough jerky can even be painful to eat, especially if you have dental issues or jaw problems.
But beef liver lacks the tendons that make muscle meat so tough. In fact, cooked beef liver is so tender it practically melts in your mouth.
Beef liver jerky isn’t quite that tender, but it’s much easier to chew than regular beef jerky. If you prefer your jerky to have a softer yet still satisfying texture, beef liver jerky might be just what you’re looking for.
3. Beef Liver Jerky Is the Most Nutritionally-Dense Jerky Out There
We don’t just love beef jerky for its taste — we also love how densely-packed it is with protein, vitamins, and minerals.
But beef liver jerky blows it out of the water.
The liver acts as a storage hub for all kinds of nutrients, including copper, iron, folic acid, and vitamins A, B12, D, E, and K. They remain in the liver when it’s turned into jerky, and the finished product is incredibly nutrient-dense as a result.
A single serving of beef liver jerky can contain up to double your daily amount of vitamin A, while regular beef jerky contains none. The same goes for vitamin B12: regular beef jerky contains less than 10%, but beef liver jerky can provide you with as much as 180% of your daily dose.
And while beef liver doesn’t come close to fish liver in terms of vitamin D, it’s still got regular beef jerky beat. One serving of beef liver jerky can contain 10% or more of your daily vitamin D, whereas beef jerky typically contains only trace amounts if that.
Copper, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins B2 and B3 are also more plentiful in beef liver jerky than in beef jerky.
Beef liver jerky doesn’t win in every department, though. It’s less fatty than beef jerky, but it also contains slightly less protein and significantly more cholesterol, so you’ll need to keep that in mind when trying it.
4. Beef Liver Jerky Is a Truly Snackable Superfood
In ancient Greece, the liver was revered in many ways. It was seen as the emotional center of the body and the seat of the soul, but the animal liver was also recognized as a food with the power to instantly revitalize like no other food.
For this reason, athletes ate liver to load themselves up with nutrition and energy before competing. The liver imbued them with the strength, courage, and perseverance of the animal it came from.
Today, our explanation for liver’s powerful effects is more scientific than spiritual, but the Greeks had the right conclusion: liver is a true superfood that enriches the mind, body, and soul.
But while other superfoods like avocados, berries, and salmon have become mainstays in our modern diets, liver seems to have proved too difficult to prepare — and stomach — to find its footing.
At least, until now: beef liver jerky changes everything.
It’s got a taste with broad appeal, a highly portable form factor, and too many health benefits to count. The liver renaissance is coming in the form of beef liver jerky — this is one snack trend you definitely don’t want to miss!
How to Enjoy Beef Liver – Jerky Recipe (Video)
Connect with Real Jerky Makers
Because the Best Jerky Doesn't Come from a Store
"You might be a redneck if you think that beef jerky and moon pies are two of the major food groups."
-- Jeff Foxworthy