For the majority of mankind’s history drying meat into jerky was the only way to preserve it. Even though we have new methods of meat preservation people have always enjoyed the taste and convenience of beef jerky. In order to make jerky, you must remove the fat and moisture which makes it a healthy snack. Here’s how to make your own:
What you’ll need
- 2 pounds of lean cut meat
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon meat tenderizer
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
How to prepare
Step 1. Select a lean cut of meat such as sirloin, top round, or eye round. Turkey also makes a good jerky because it is lean and mild flavored, which makes it good for seasoning. Keep in mind that you can also make jerky from other sources such as bison, deer, and even salmon.
Step 2. Once you have your meat grab your cutting board and start removing all noticeable fat from the meat. Fat will make your jerky spoil faster. Ideally you want your meat cut into strips less than 1/20″ thick. If this is to much work or you’d like to avoid this step you can try asking your butcher to do it for you, although he might charge a little extra.
Step 3. Now it’s time to marinate the meat. Take a mixing bowl and add all of your ingredients listed above. Once you’ve mixed it place all of your meet in the bowl and properly seal it. Place it in the fridge for 8 hours and let it absorb all of the flavor. It’s important to note that there are a ton of other variations of marinades you can make, the possibilities are endless!
Step 4. Now it’s time to dehydrate your meat. Since most people don’t have a dehydrator these instructions will be for a conventional oven. preheat the oven to 165° F (70° C), note that anything less is not hot enough to kill the bacteria and will only incubate it causing early spoilage. Remember the gentle heat is intended to help the dehydration process of the jerky by causing the moisture to evaporate.
Step 5. Place your jerky directly on the top wire rack in the oven. Place a saucepan or a piece of aluminum foil underneath to catch drippings of the marinade. Cook for 1-3 hours depending on the cut of meat you are using. The dehydration process could take even longer so check the jerky after 90 minutes and every 30 minutes thereafter. To ensure the jerky is not raw cut inside and take a peek. Remember jerky should be a deep brown or burgundy color.
Step 6. Plastic bags usually accumulate moisture encouraging the growth of bacteria. Place the jerky somewhere dry to store it, ideally mason jars work the best. Then place it into your refrigerator or freezer until ready for consumption.