How to Slice a Roast for Jerky

by Sue McCarty

A lean, top round roast can be used to make jerky.

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Not everyone has access to fresh venison, moose, elk or bison, but beef, pork, fish and smoked turkey can also be thinly sliced, seasoned and dried to make jerky. No matter what type of meat is used, properly defatting and slicing it are important factors in making jerky. Some of the leanest beef cuts include top and bottom round roasts, eye of round, sirloin tip or top sirloin steaks. Fresh cuts of beef graded as prime should be avoided due to the obvious marbling (fat) in the meat. A 3 lb. roast will produce about 1 lb. of jerky.

Partially freeze a fresh, lean beef roast until it feels hard to the touch. This will make slicing easier.

Remove the roast from the freezer and trim off all visible connective tissue (gristle) or fat with a sharp knife.

On a clean cutting board, cut slices of meat across the grain from 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick, 1 1/2 inches wide and up to 6 inches in length. Remove any visible fat or membranes from each slice.

Place the meat slices on baking sheets or pans that will be used to marinate or season the beef.


  • Always ensure that hands, equipment and preparation areas are completely cleaned before and after working with raw meat.

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About the Author

Sue McCarty, a writer and copy editor since 1994, penned a newspaper humor column for several years. She assisted in her husband's motorcycle shop for 20 years and was also a professional gardener and caterer. While earning her Bachelor of Arts in communications, McCarty began her journalism career at a Pennsylvania daily newspaper.