How to Make Beef Jerky in 6 Simple Steps
The methods for preserving meat might have advanced with new developments, but the classic technique of drying meat into jerky is still relevant. Why would anyone want to know how to make beef jerky?
For some people the flavour and taste of beef jerky is very much appreciated, while others like the convenience it offers. Whatever your reason for making homemade beef jerky, here are the steps you need to take.
1. Meat Selection
Choose a good lean cut such as the sirloin, top round or flank steak. Parts with less fat will make the next step much easier.
2. Remove Fat
For a long lasting beef jerky, make sure to remove as much of the fat as possible. Fat will cause the jerky to spoil quicker, so get rid of any fat you can see. Now cut the meat into very thin slices. Thin strips are needed to effectively dry the beef.
3. Marinate Meat
Create the marinade for the meat. A basic solution of olive oil and salt does the job quite nicely, but you can use any custom recipe you prefer. Ingredients such as soy sauce, teriyaki sauce or Worcestershire sauce can be used for extra flavor in the marinade. Completely submerge the strips of beef in the marinade and put in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours so that it fully absorbs the great flavor.
4. Season Well
Add some seasonings such as vinegar, oil, liquid smoke and brown sugar. Salt can also be used and it will help in the dehydration process. There are lots of variations that can be applied to customize the jerky. For example, coat the meat in a little coriander, clove, cumin and nutmeg to get an African style beef jerky.
5. Dehydration Process
To dehydrate the beef, you need to remove all the moisture. A dehydrator is often the most efficient way of achieving this, though using an oven can be a good alternative. The exact time and temperature will depend on the thickness of the meat. Typically the process will take 2 to 6 hours. Read up on the dehydrator manual for specific instructions for your device.
If using an oven you need to make sure you don’t actually cook the meat. The aim is to just remove the moisture. Set the temperature to 165° F or 70° C and place the mean on a wire rack. Place a pan underneath to catch any marinade that drips off the jerky. Keep the oven door slightly ajar with the aid of a couple of wooden spoons.
Check on the jerky regularly and make sure it has fully dehydrated. Remember you don’t want the jerky to become overly dry as that will make it too hard to eat.
6. Seal & Store
Follow the above steps and you will know exactly how to make beef jerky perfectly every single time.
You can read more about drying food at home in our free ebook.