Jamaican beef patties are a popular handheld snack or appetizer. They consist of a flaky pastry crust filled with spicy ground beef. Beef patties make for a quick, delicious bite to eat. However, many people wonder just how many calories are in this tasty treat. In this article, we will explore how many calories are in 2 average sized Jamaican beef patties.
What are Jamaican Beef Patties?
Jamaican beef patties are pastries originating from Jamaica. They feature a flaky outer pastry crust that envelops a savory beef filling. Traditional Jamaican patties consist of seasoned ground beef, onions, scallions, and spices encased in a yellow, turnover-style pastry.
|Beef||Ground beef, seasoned with Jamaican spices|
|Onions||Finely diced onions|
|Spices||Jamaican curry powder, allspice, thyme, garlic|
|Pastry||Flaky pastry dough|
The savory filling provides a spicy kick while the flaky pastry offers a perfect contrast with its crispy texture. This harmony of flavors and textures is part of what makes Jamaican beef patties such a beloved food.
Jamaican patties trace their origins to Jamaican street food. They were likely influenced by the influx of indentured workers from India who brought curried flavors and handheld turnover-style snacks. These Indian flavors blended with local Jamaican ingredients and cooking techniques to create the distinctive Jamaican beef patty.
Today, Jamaican patties are popular not just in Jamaica but around the world. They can be found in Caribbean restaurants, takeout shops, food trucks, and freezer aisles. Their versatility as a handheld snack or appetizer makes them a convenient choice for many eaters.
Jamaican beef patties can range in size, but a typical single patty may be around 4 inches wide and weigh 4-6 oz. Many restaurants and brands offer “regular” sized patties in this range. So for the purposes of this article, we will calculate calories assuming two average sized patties of approximately 5 oz each.
Calories in Pastry
A significant portion of the calories in Jamaican beef patties comes from the pastry crust. Jamaican patty pastry is typically made from flour, butter or shortening, and water. It has a tender, flaky texture similar to puff pastry.
To determine calories, we need to know the ingredients and their amounts. Here is a fairly standard recipe for Jamaican beef patty pastry:
* 2 cups flour = approximately 250g
* 1/2 cup butter = 115g
* Total pastry weight: 365g
Using the USDA food database we can determine calories per gram of flour and butter:
* Flour: 3.64 calories per gram
* Butter: 7.17 calories per gram
Multiplying the gram amounts by the calories per gram gives:
* 250g flour x 3.64 calories/g = 910 calories
* 115g butter x 7.17 calories/g = 824.5 calories
* Total pastry calories = 1734.5 calories
This amount of pastry dough would likely make 6-8 patties. Since we need the calorie counts for just 2 patties, we can divide the total by 8.
* 1734.5 calories / 8 patties = 216.8 calories per patty pastry
* For 2 patties: 433.6 calories
So the pastry alone for 2 five oz Jamaican beef patties contributes approximately 433.6 calories.
Calories in Beef Filling
Now let’s analyze the calories coming from the beef filling. A typical Jamaican patty filling consists of ground beef, onions, scallions, spices, and potentially other seasonings.
Here is an average recipe for enough filling for 8 patties:
|Ground beef||1 lb|
|Onions, diced||1 cup|
|Scallions, chopped||1/4 cup|
|Jamaican curry powder||1 Tbsp|
|Garlic, minced||1 tsp|
|Black pepper||1/2 tsp|
* 1 lb ground beef = approximately 453g
* According to USDA data, ground beef contains 2.87 calories per gram
* So 453g ground beef contains roughly 1,300 calories
* The onions, scallions, spices, garlic, etc contribute minimal additional calories (estimated around 50 total)
* For 8 patties, the filling = ~1350 calories
* For 2 patties: 1350 / 8 = 168.75
* Round up to 170 calories for the filling of 2 patties
In total, the filling for 2 five oz Jamaican beef patties contains approximately 170 calories.
Adding up the calories from the pastry and the filling gives us:
* Pastry: 433.6 calories
* Filling: 170 calories
* Total calories for 2 five oz Jamaican beef patties = **603.6 calories**
So for 2 average sized Jamaican beef patties, you can expect around 600 calories total. This will vary slightly depending on the exact recipe and ingredient amounts, but this offers a reasonable estimate of calories per patty.
Nutrition Fact Comparison
To compare our calculations against nutrition data, let’s look at nutrition facts for Jamaican beef patties from a popular brand.
|Nutrition Facts – 1 patty (approximately 2.5 oz)|
|Total Fat: 18g|
For 2 patties:
* Calories: 330 x 2 = 660 calories
Our estimate of 603.6 calories for 2 five oz patties compares reasonably well to the 660 calories calculated from the nutrition label for 2 smaller 2.5 oz patties. Given variability in recipes and serving sizes, our estimate looks to align fairly closely with the official nutrition facts.
Ways to Reduce Calories
While Jamaican beef patties are a delicious indulgence, their high calorie count may not align with every diet. Here are a few tips for reducing calories in Jamaican patties:
Choose smaller patties
As the calculations show, calories scale directly with patty size. Opting for a smaller 2-3 oz patty will automatically cut calories versus a larger 5 oz version.
Use lower calorie pastry
The biscuit-like pastry contributes a significant portion of calories. Opting for phyllo dough or another lighter dough would reduce the calorie count.
Reduce oil/butter in pastry
Cutting back on the oil or butter used in the pastry dough can further reduce its calorie density.
Use leaner beef
Choosing a leaner ground beef or mixing in TVP can lower the calories in the beef filling.
Add more veggies
Increasing the proportion of onions, scallions and other vegetables will add more filling volume while reducing calorie density.
Spice it up
Packing extra punch from spices like allspice, scotch bonnet peppers and thyme can boost flavor while calorie intake stays the same.
Despite their high calorie count, Jamaican beef patties can still contribute valuable nutrition:
The beef filling provides a good dose of protein important for building and repairing muscle.
The pastry dough delivers a source of carbohydrates that can provide energy.
Vitamins and minerals
Onions, scallions, thyme and allspice all add vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
When enjoyed in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet, Jamaican beef patties can be an occasional treat that provides taste, nutrition and a touch of the islands. Just be mindful of portion sizes to keep calories under control.
To wrap up, 2 average sized Jamaican beef patties contain approximately 600 calories. The biggest contributor of calories is the rich, flaky pastry crust, followed by the savory beef filling. Calories can be lowered by choosing smaller patties, lighter doughs, leaner beef, added veggies, and more seasoning. Despite their high calorie density, Jamaican patties can still offer valuable nutrition when enjoyed occasionally as part of a balanced diet. So the next time you indulge in this Caribbean favorite, be sure to savor the flavor and appreciate the calories this handheld delight provides.