Okay, there is a little more to it than that. Beef jerky needs a high amount of salt for the drying and curing process, so salt is an essential ingredient for all types of jerky. Various spices and powders can be applied for additional flavouring and marination. Finally, a preservative solution such as sodium nitrate needs to be applied to industrially-produced beef jerky products for an appealing appearance and an extended shelf life. The cuts of beef used can vary, though fillet and ground beef are the most common.