Beef Jerky…what is there not to love about it? My children would eat it all the time if it was around. While I like it, I don’t like the cost.
Jerky is high in protein and low in carbs and fat. Nice snack choice in my daily routine. However, paying up to $13 for an eight ounce bag is not!
Making jerky at home is simple and the taste is just how you want it. Like spice? Add it to the marinade. Want sweet? Add a little splenda or brown sugar to the base mix.
I have a simple house rub that is used almost every time. Actually – it is what I use on just about everything I cook! Once the meat comes out of the marinade – I will sprinkle “extra species” depending on the drooling bystanders waiting on it.
~ 1 pound thinly sliced beef (any cut – I have butcher cut into strips for me – we like larger pieces but small, thin strips work as well)
~ Seasonings – This is where you can make it as you like it.
~ Salt and Pepper
~ Prepare your seasoning and sprinkle over the meat on both sides
~ Place meat in a deep bowl or plastic baggie (I usually keep in bowl in fridge) – let marinade for 4 hours up to 24
~ Remove meat from marinade and gently wipe off excess liquid
~ Place meat on dehydrator racks so it is not touching to allow for air movement (sprinkle on any “extras” such as crushed red pepper flakes, sea salt, crushed just about anything…we have had some strange jerky over the years!) Just remember which rack belongs to whom…red peppered jerky may not be ok for one of the little ones and their ketchup jerky might make dad shake his head…
~ Open vent on dehydrator and let cook for 6 hours. Turn meat and continue to cook until done (We like ours dried until almost crispy – each piece will snap when bent – mine takes about 14 hours but it is done enough to eat if you enjoy a softer, chewy texture after 8 hours)
~ Store in an air tight containter for up to two weeks (yeah.. just try and have any left in two weeks!)
Optional cooking directions:
When ready to cook, place meat directly on the oven racks with a cookie sheet or foil on the rack under it. Cook at 165 for about 90 minutes and then check it every 15 minutes after until done.
Base Seasoning for up to 1 pound of beef:
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Pepper
1 Tablespoon Lawry’s Garlic Salt
To the above mix, I will add, depending on who has asked for the jerky: brown sugar, soy sauce or steak sauce. For our house, it is usually one of those three items. If using the brown sugar, I will add a little water when placing in the fridge to marinade. You want the meat covered while marinading.
Tips and Hints
• If slicing the meat yourself. Toss in freezer for 20 minutes before cutting. This will make the meat easier to slice into thin strips.
• Thicker slices will take longer to dry than thin ones. Try to keep your strips as uniform in size as possible for even drying.
• If you like chewy jerky, cut meat along the grain. If you want tender jerky, cut meat against the grain.
• Use paper towels to blot any oils off the surface of the meat when done.
• Salt is needed to pull moisture from the meat, also as a preservative. Use at least 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat. Add more if you wish or desire the flavor.
I have a Deluxe 5-Tray Food Dehydrator that I purchased on Amazon. It is a simple model with just one setting.. ON! It does get the job done and was less than $40! In addition to drying meat, try your hand at dried fruit or vegetables.