Salty, savory and satisfyingly chewy, jerky is a delicious snack for any meat lover. While jerky is commonly associated with beef, it isn’t the only meat that’s great for jerky. With a naturally sweet flavor, pork can be made into fantastic jerky. Pork also compliments different spices compared to beef, producing jerky with a variety of exciting flavors and textures.
Need convincing? Close your eyes and imagine the sweet and spicy taste of barbecued pork ribs still warm from the smoker or a pile of slow-cooked pulled pork accented with a splash of barbecue sauce. Now imagine these same dynamic flavors in bite-sized jerky pieces. That’s a flavor combination guaranteed to satisfy any meat lover.
1. Does Pork Make Good Jerky?
Pork is an inherently sweeter meat than beef. This natural sweetness means both pork jerky and pork bites will have a cleaner, less strong taste than beef jerky. This inherent difference in the natural meat flavor means pork jerky will feature different textures and taste, giving someone bored with beef jerky something new to experience.
Pork jerky nutrition is another factor. Good quality lean pork is an awesome source of protein and will satisfy any diet that emphasizes healthy animal protein. For keto diet followers, keto pork bites are a great addition to any meal or snack.
For Tony Roma’s BBQ Jerky Bites, these pork bites contain 7 grams of protein per serving, no MSG, preservatives, or nitrates. It’s also gluten-free and made from premium, whole-muscle, USDA-certified, US-grown hormone-free meat. It’s an ideal choice for people looking to eat clean animal protein.
2. What is the Best Cut of Pork for Jerky?
Like beef jerky, the best cuts of the pig for pork jerky are the lean parts. This means the pork loin or tenderloin will be your best bets. Both cuts are meaty and lack excessive silver skin, bones or connective tissue that’s not suitable for jerky. Remember, cuts with lots of gristle or tendon will not be tender enough to eat when made into jerky. Fat is another critical element of jerky as too much fat will make the jerky rancid. Finally, pork loin and tenderloin are relatively uniform in size throughout the whole piece, enabling easy butchering and slicing. In comparison, pork cuts like the shoulder (Boston Butt) are less uniform, contains more fat and connective tissue and best suited for slow cooking.
Pork loin jerky is the best overall. Fresh pork loin is commonly made into chops and cutlets.
This means that the loin is supremely meaty with an easily removable fat cap and good porky flavor that translates well to jerky. It’s also a large cut, which means a whole pork loin will produce plenty of jerky. Pork tenderloin jerky is also great. However, it's more expensive, has less pork flavor and produces less yield. The benefit of tenderloin is the supreme tenderness, ensuring a pork jerky that will be soft and easy to eat.
Although leaner cuts are generally the best cuts for jerky, fattier cuts like pork belly can also be made with the correct techniques. Unlike beef fat, pork fat is sweet and turns soft when preserved. For items like jerky style pork belly bites, the cut will need to be cured then smoked. Be sure to use a meatier part of the belly with less fat between the layers of meat for the best pork belly jerky. Pork jerky made from the belly will taste like bacon, only with a more dried taste and texture.
3. Sliced Jerky vs. Ground Meat Pork Jerky
Most pork jerky will be made from whole slices of lean meat. The texture will be like beef jerky –– meaty with a satisfying chew.
Besides thin cuts of lean meat, ground meat can also be delicious for jerky. To make, ground pork is mixed with spices and seasonings before being formed in thin square-shaped pieces. The texture of ground pork jerky is very different than sliced meat jerky as its noticeably less chewy. While there’s something satisfying about the chew that accompanies traditional jerky, the tender texture of ground meat jerky can be a tasty contrast to the traditional jerky. This textural difference of ground meat pork jerky makes for a different product than sliced jerky and it can be fun to mix both types together for variety.
4. Flavors of Pork Jerky
Pork has a natural harmony with sweet and spicy flavors. There’s a reason why pork BBQ sauces often feature ingredients like honey, fruit and cinnamon along with hot flavors like chili peppers. That same flavor harmony also applies to pork jerky. In many ways, pork jerky flame-grilled with BBQ sauce is a concentrated package of barbecue flavor. Imagine a piece of pork jerky packing all the BBQ flavor of a rack of sweet and spicy ribs or a tray of smoked pork belly bites. That appeal is universal.
It’s this emphasis on barbecue flavor that makes Tony Roma’s BBQ Jerky Bites different than the competition. Tony Roma has created a classic –– combining the elements of charbroiled smoke flavor and the classic sweet and spicy taste of American barbecue into their pork jerky. Each piece of BBQ Jerky Bites is first coated with Tony Roma’s famous BBQ sauce before its flame-grilled, giving it a smoky charbroiled fragrance very different than other jerky products. The legendary BBQ company has created a line of BBQ Jerky Bites with dynamic flavors like savory and rich Original BBQ Pork Jerky to the sweet molasses of Carolina Honey BBQ Pork.
Tony Roma Jerky Bites are also individually wrapped, ensuring peak freshness and convenient serving. They can also be heated up for a fun and different jerky eating experience. For easy heating, simply microwave the pork jerky and enjoy a delicious warm and bite-sized treat that tastes like pork barbecue on a hot summer day.
Learn more here: Tony Roma's BBQ Jerky Bites 2.5 oz (Mix Sampler)