Since we had all that lovely organic beef sitting in the freezer, I decided it was time to make a big batch of beef jerky. We love beef jerky but the cost at the grocers is beyond unreasonable. Making it takes longer than buying it but it costs a lot less and is relatively easy if you you take the time to make it.
Home Made Beef Jerky
1) Slice lean beef into thin slices. Do the slicing while the steak is still partially frozen and you can control the thickness of the slices much better.
2) Marinate the meat for 3-6 days. Beef jerky is very versatile and you can use just about any flavourings to make a tasty snack. You can use any marinade you want depending on whether you want sweet, spicy, or salty jerky. I decided on a sweet jerky this year. Here is a list of my ingredients. I made enough marinade to cover the amount of beef I had.
3) Dehydrate / cook the jerky on low for 18 hours. There are a lot of ways to do this too. You can smoke the meat in a smoker, following the smokers guidelines. Smoked jerky is best but you can dry/cook it in the oven set on the lowest heat setting. Depending on the temperature it can take as little as 8 hours and as long as 18 hours. Or, you can do it like I did this year.
You can use a commercially available dehydrator to make your jerky. I have this cheap little model I bought from Walmart years ago. I use it mostly to dry extra veggies for soups and fruits for snacks. This year I used it to make jerky, and it worked well.
You simply load the trays with your marinated meat and turn on the machine. This model uses a very low heat setting so we had to let it run for the full 18 hours. When it was done we had four large batches of the sweetest beef jerky in the world. To sweet for me, as it turned out, but still tasty.
I still have a little bit of meat in the marinade, which I hope to smoke this weekend. I've added more salt and pepper top the marinade to make it a little more spicy than sweet. If I really wanted to spice it up I could add chili pepper sauce, available at most grocers in the Chinese food sections. But this time I'm just using salt and pepper to spice things up a bit.
There you have it. The easiest recipe in the world for making beef jerky. If you decided to give it a try, let your imagination run wild. Mix and match flavours to create something yummy and unique. The best thing about home made jerky is it is good for you and your family with its lean meat and natural flavourings. Enjoy.