Master the Art of Homemade Beef Jerky:
A Step-by-Step Guide
The best beef jerky doesn’t need to come from some store. You can easily make your own. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of making delicious beef jerky so you can learn how to make your own jerky at home. From selecting the right cut of meat to mastering the drying process, we’ll share all the tips and tricks you need to create mouthwatering homemade beef jerky.
1. Choosing the Best Cut of Meat:
To make top-notch beef jerky, start by selecting high-quality meat. Meat that’s used for making a great dinner, doesn’t always translate for being good for making jerky. You need a solid cut of meat for beef. The most popular cuts for beef jerky include eye round, flank steak, or sirloin. Opt for lean cuts with minimal fat marbling as excess fat can lead to spoilage during storage.
2. Slicing Techniques:
Once you have your chosen cut of meat, it’s time to slice it into thin strips. To achieve consistent results, it’s essential to slice against the grain. This ensures tender jerky with a pleasant chewy texture. Using a sharp knife or an electric slicer, cut the meat into slices approximately ¼ inch thick.
3. Marinating for Maximum Flavor:
Marinating is a crucial step in achieving flavorful homemade beef jerky. A well-balanced marinade not only enhances taste but also tenderizes the meat and acts as a preservative during storage.
For a classic homemade jerky marinade, combine soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and liquid smoke in a bowl or resealable bag. Add your sliced meat and ensure each piece is well-coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight for optimal flavor penetration.
4. Dehydrating Methods:
Dehydrating is where the magic happens! There are several methods to choose from when it comes to drying your beef jerky.
a. Oven Drying:
If you don’t have a food dehydrator, fear not! You can make jerky in the oven as well. Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature setting (around 175°F or 80°C). Place the marinated meat strips on wire racks set over baking sheets to allow for proper air circulation. Leave the oven door slightly ajar to let moisture escape. Bake for about 2-4 hours, checking regularly for desired dryness.
b. Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator:
Investing in a food dehydrator is worth considering if you plan on making beef jerky frequently. Jerky in the dehydrator makes it a snap and taste quality is high. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for optimal usage. Generally, arrange the marinated cuts of beef slices on the dehydrator trays, leaving space between each piece for air circulation. Set the temperature according to your dehydrator’s guidelines and let it run for approximately 4-6 hours until fully dried.
c. Smoker Method:
For those seeking a unique smoky flavor profile, using a smoker is an excellent option. After marinating your beef slices, prepare your smoker with wood chips of choice (hickory or mesquite work well). Smoke at a low temperature (around 160°F or 70°C) for about 4-5 hours or until jerky reaches desired dryness and smokiness.
5. Ensuring Proper Storage:
Proper storage is crucial to maintain freshness and extend the shelf life of homemade beef jerky.
Once your beef jerky has cooled down completely, transfer it to airtight containers such as glass jars or resealable bags specifically designed for long-term food preservation. Store in a cool, dark place like your pantry or refrigerator.
To enhance longevity and prevent spoilage, consider adding oxygen absorbers or vacuum sealing your jerky. Properly stored beef jerky can last up to three months at room temperature and even longer in the fridge or freezer.
6. Experimenting with Flavors:
One of the joys of making homemade beef jerky is the ability to experiment with flavors. Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, feel free to get creative!
Consider adding spices like chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, red pepper or even a touch of honey for a sweet and spicy twist. You could also try different marinades using teriyaki sauce, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, or ginger for unique flavor profiles.
We provide a great beef jerky recipe below incorporating our favorite bloody mary mix.
7. Jerky Safety Tips:
While making homemade beef jerky is a fun and rewarding process, it’s essential to follow food safety guidelines:
- Always ensure your hands, utensils, and work surfaces are clean before handling meat.
- Marinade meat in the refrigerator to prevent bacterial growth.
- Cook beef jerky at temperatures high enough to kill any potential bacteria (minimum internal temperature of 160°F or 70°C).
- Properly cool and store beef jerky promptly after drying.
By following these safety precautions, you can enjoy your homemade beef jerky with peace of mind.
Making your own beef jerky. Just about the most badass thing we can think of, and we’re going to give you the best beef jerky recipe to do it yourself.
This isn’t some cute, modern kitchen beef jerky. This is a flannel shirt, middle-of-the-woods, Paul Bunyan beef jerky. Bring your best.
Best Beef Jerky Recipe
Here’s a quick recipe we made, using STUs.
- 3 lbs hangar steak or flank steak
- 8 oz. Stu’s This is Bloody Mary Concentrate
- 8 oz. Soy sauce
- Put beef in the freezer for 40 minutes to chill and firm up the flesh. With a sharp knife, slice against the grain of the meat, cutting it into small strips.
- Place beef strips and remaining ingredients into a 1-gallon sized zip-top bag to make your beef jerky marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator, overnight or for at least 1 hour.
- Lay out strips on a baking pan and place in an oven at its lowest setting.
- Leave the oven door slightly ajar to let moisture escape. Bake for about 2-4 hours, checking regularly for desired dryness.
- Flip the sliced beef strips every 20-30 minutes.
- Your jerky is done when the desired texture is achieved.
Congratulations! You are now equipped with all the knowledge needed to create delicious homemade beef jerky from scratch. From choosing the right cut of meat to perfecting your drying technique, each step plays a vital role in achieving mouthwatering results. So why settle for store-bought when you can savor the flavors of your very own handcrafted beef jerky? Get ready to impress friends and family with this irresistible snack that will keep them coming back for more!