Beef jerky is popular in my family. Unfortunately it’s pricey, and when you have teenagers that eat it like candy it can set you back a few bucks.
I’ve experimented with making my own beef jerky and was really pleased with the results. I tried using two different methods i.e. the oven and a food dehydrator.
Let me save you some trouble by telling you up front that the food dehydrator did a superior job.
Yes, you can use the oven with success, but it’s messier and more time consuming.
Either way, it’s a fun thing to do and well worth the potential savings. An added benefit is the ability to play around with flavorings to develop one you like best.
Here are the steps:
1. Purchase a large roast (a cheap cut with very little fat marbling such as eye of round or flank steak). Partially freeze (until crystals are formed) the roast to make thin slicing easier.
2. Using a meat slicer or sharp knife, slice the roast across the grain into long thin strips of approximately 1/8 inch thickness.
3. Prepare a marinade, using packaged beef jerky spice mixes (available at hunting/fishing type stores) or a homemade mixture. Sample recipe for 1 pound of beef: 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 3/4 tsp hot sauce, 1/2 tsp hickory salt.
4. Dip each slice of meat into the marinate, then place in a shallow dish. Pour remaining marinate over beef and leave in fridge over night.
5. Set the oven on lowest temperature, and leave door slightly ajar. Use bamboo skewers to hang each strip of jerky in the oven.
Place a tray below to catch drippings. Alternately, arrange the meat in single layers between several sheets of paper towels.
Roll flat with a rolling pin, remove from paper towels and place the meat directly on the oven racks.
Bake for 8-10 hours until beef is dry.
If using a food dehydrator, the strips of beef are laid flat in single layers on the dehydrating trays. I like to add coarse black pepper on top.
The drying time will depend upon your machine, but will likely be significantly less.
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!