Chew On This: 10 Strange & Unusual Meat Jerkies

Jerky, or dried lean meat, dates from the days before electric refrigerators and freezers when fresh meat and cheese needed to be preserved quickly and safely. Its growing popularity today is no surprise: jerky makes a high-protein, low calorie snack and it can be made from almost any kind of meat… including these ten rather surprising ones.

Shark Jerky

(images via: Noosphere Caves Recipes, SG Forums and Ampontan)

Where’s the beef!? Not in this jerky, that’s for sure, unless a cow fell into the ocean recently. Shark Jerky is one of the tastiest ways to put the bite on Jaws, and it’s relatively easy to find at Asian markets in non-Asian countries.

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Shark meat is cheap (as seafood goes) but it can exude an unpleasant, ammonia-like odor. Careful processing eliminates the aroma, leaving what one Japanese jerky entrepreneur describes as “the perfect snack to have with a beer.” I’ll drink to that!

Emu Jerky

(images via:, Australia Gift and Beast Feaster)

The flavor can be described as being dark, angst-ridden and overly emotional… wait, that’s Emo Jerky. Emu Jerky isn’t anything like that, being made from the meat of Australia’s largest native bird. Emus are flightless birds farmed for their low-fat meat, and Emu Jerky often contains fruit like raisins or cranberries as well as the usual spices.

(image via: I Eat Yucky Stuff)

If you’re a Canadian whose acquired a taste for Emu Jerky while visiting Down Under, be advised that it’s illegal to import Emu meat products into Canada. Presumably the ban applies to Emo meat products as well – keep Canada smiling, eh!

Tuna Jerky

(images via: DML Venture, Maguro International and Fishing Vessel St. Jude)

The concept of “fish jerky” doesn’t seem right, somehow, but in actual fact dried preserved fish has a long history among societies historic and prehistoric. These days, Tuna Jerky is being marketed as “a new, healthy alternative to beef jerky”… which is cool, unless you’re a tuna.

(image via: JayIsCreative)

Concerned about the overfishing of bluefin tuna but still jonesing for Tuna Jerky? Check out the maker before you buy: manufacturers recognize the fact that being environmentally friendly can help boost sales and some types of Tuna Jerky is made from non-endangered Yellowfin Tuna, caught via the dolphin-friendly Artisian Fishing method.

Ostrich Jerky

(images via: Barbeque Master and Theme Park Review)

If you haven’t heard of Ostrich Jerky, you must’ve had your head buried in the sand. Ostrich meat already has a reputation for great taste, low fat content and the lure of the exotic – Ostrich Jerky from quality manufacturers like House of Jerky just concentrates all of the above appealing attributes into a more portable format.

(images via: and New York Post)

Ostriches are native to the African continent but they’ve been ranched much more closer to home… and besides, there’s much more to the average ostrich then some showy feathers and truly humongous eggs.

Kangaroo Jerky

(images via: Australia Gift, Beef Jerky Outlet and

“Kangaroo Jerky, the perfect outback snack”… and though I just made that up, it could very easily be true. Kangaroos are Australia’s largest native mammal and since the Tasmanian Tiger was driven to extinction, they don’t really have any native predators besides Australians in cars.

(images via: DENcorp)

Those who’ve tastes Kangaroo meat haven’t exactly been spreading the gospel on it, not have they been tossing surplus ‘roos on the barbie – shrimp is MUCH tastier, not to mention easier on the aforementioned barbie. Even so, Kangaroo Jerky is a “uniquely Australian game meat” that is notably lean (only two per cent fat) and boasts high levels of protein, iron and zinc. If that don’t get you hoppin’, what will?

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