I am super excited to finally have created a Beef Jerky Recipe that everyone in my family can enjoy!
Beef Jerky is an excellent, portable snack. Not to mention a tasty one. But the store bought stuff is really expensive and usually full of nitrates. It also often contains the allergens soy, gluten and MSG. And, you cant be sure about the quality of the meat used to make it.
I think this beef jerky recipe would make a wonderful venison or bison jerky as well.
Selecting the Right Type of Beef
When making beef jerky, you must use lean cuts of beef. Too much fat will cause your jerky to go rancid quickly. And it won’t taste very good either.
Some good cuts to choose are, top round, London broil or flank steak. Bottom Round would work too, as long as it’s really lean.
Beef Jerky Recipe
1 Tablespoon of ground pepper
2 teaspoons of sea salt
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon of dried, ground chipotle peppers (omit if you don’t want your jerky on the spicy side)
1 Tablespoon of Honey or equivalent of stevia
2 teaspoon of real liquid smoke
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Cup of water
3 pounds of lean beef, sliced thinly
Slicing and Marinating the Beef
Cut beef into 1/4 inch thick strips, across the grain is best.
I have read you should freeze the meat until it firms up a bit, yet before it turns into a block of ice, to make this process easier. I wouldn’t know, because I always have the butcher cut mine for me. In most places, it’s free. So save yourself some trouble if you can and let them do it.
Next, remove any visible fat and cut your sliced beef into strips that are 3/4 to 1 inch wide.
Add spices all of the spices, honey or (or stevia), liquid smoke, garlic, water and vinegar to a large bowl and mix well.
Marinate sliced beef in the above mixture, covered, for 4 hours or overnight.
Once the meat is done marinating, transfer the sliced beef onto a plate and pat dry. Discard marinade mixture. It is not safe to use it again.
Drying the Jerky
Now it’s time to dry your beef! To do so you need air movement and heat. You have several options:
#1 Use a food dehydrator.
My aunt just gave me one. I was really excited to use it to make jerky. Then I read the directions. It advised only drying fully cooked meat and it doesn’t have temperature settings, just on and off. I decided that didn’t sound safe. I’ll still use the dehydrator for fruits and vegetables, but not for meat.
# 2 Place a metal cooling rack on a cookie sheet. Be sure the beef strips are not touching each other. The cookie sheet will catch the drips and the cooling rack will allow air to circulate.
#3 Line the bottom of your oven with aluminum foil. Then lay your strips of meat directly on your oven racks, making sure they do not overlap to allow for air circulation. Also, move your racks up into the top 1/3 of your oven.
I went with option #2. And I forgot to take pictures. I’ll update this post next time I make some.
If you are drying your beef in a food dehydrator, follow the manufacture’s instructions.
If you’re using the oven, follow these steps:
Set your oven to 170° Fahrenheit. Place an oven safe food thermometer in the bottom of your oven, or rest it on an oven rack.
Keep your oven door propped open with a wooden spoon to allow air to circulate.
Keep a close eye on your Jerky. Periodically check your meat thermometer to see that the temperature in your oven stays at about 150° to 160° Fahrenheit. I do this by shining a flashlight onto the thermometer.
Dry your beef until it is darkened and cracks when it’s bent (but doesn’t break). Depending on the moisture content of your meat, the moisture content of the air and the heat inside your oven, this will take 3 to 6 hours. Mine usually takes 3 to 4 hours.
Storing your Beef Jerky
Since this beef jerky recipe is free of nitrates and preservatives, it does not keep as long as store bought jerky at room temperature.
Once Dry, remove from the oven, pat surface grease off with a paper towel and cool for several hours or overnight.
Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
If longer storage times are desired, store your beef jerky in and air tight container in the refrigerator for a month or freeze in containers or zip top bags for up to six months. I can’t keep my family out of it long enough to need to freeze it.
Tips for those Concerned with Safety
If you are concerned about the potential of food born illness, there are a few other steps you can take. I don’t, because I carefully monitor my oven temperature. Please use your own best judgement.
Heat up your meat and marinade. In a pot on the stove, heat your meat and marinade up long enough for your meat to reach an internal temperature of 160° Fahrenheit, they dry as directed above, making sure to prop your oven door open fairly wide. Also, if taking this extra step, you can turn your oven temperature down to 160°, if it will go that low. Mine won’t.
Alternately, dry your meat as directed above, only stop just prior to when you think it’s done. Then heat your oven up to 275° Fahrenheit and cook for 10 minutes with the door shut. I’ve never tried this method, but I would think that you would have to be awfully careful not to over dry your beef.
For more detailed safety information, check out this publication.
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