Homemade Beef Jerky is a favourite snack and ours tastes way-way better than any of the shop bought stuff we can buy locally.
We get to choose the best cuts of meat from our local butcher and season just as we like it.
Have you seen the price of grass fed beef lately?
Homemade Beef Jerky doesn't require any special ingredients or equipment, although having a good food dehydrator will make the process easier.
So how do we go about making the best homemade Beef Jerky?
It's no good trying to make the best beef jerky in the world, out of cheap fatty cuts. We're not cooking the meat here but preserving it with a high salt marinade and by removing the moisture so leaving it in a state where bacteria cannot live.
Fatty meat is more difficult to dry effectively and leaves it prone to going rancid.
Leaner meat works best and flank holds up well to drying and will hold the flavour of a good marinade.
You need to remove all the excess fat and silverskin from the flank, Use a sharp knife and cut or scrape all the pockets of fat and shiny membrane from your steak.
You will need to slice your meat into thin 1/4 inch strips. The thinner and more uniform the better and partially freezing the meat will make it firm enough to do this.
It's your choice to cut the meat with the grain, or across the grain.
Cutting with the grain will make for chewy jerky, across the grain will make it easier to fall apart.
Try it both ways and you'll soon find which you prefer.
Personally, I like mine cut with the grain.
You can use a dry rub or liquid marinate to get the flavour you want.
The marinade serves two purposes here. It gives us the flavour that we prefer and also adds some natural preservative in the form of sugar and salt.
Here's one of the recipes I use – I recommend marinading for at least 6 hours but leaving it in the fridge for up to 24 hours will really impart the flavour of the marinade into the meat. It's not a race here!
1 Flank Steak – 1 1/2 to 2 lbs
1/2 cup os Soy sauce,
1/2 cup of Worcestershire sauce,
Teaspoon of black pepper,
Teaspoon of salt
Tablespoon of Honey
A couple of cloves of garlic, crushed up.
Put it in a zip lock bag with you meat strips and refrigerate for up to 24 hours
Remove your Jerky from the marinade and lay the strips evenly on the oven racks. Place in the top part of the oven
It's a good idea here to put some aluminium foil on the lower shelf as it'll get pretty messy here.
I don't rinse off the marinade.
Set the oven to 70 degrees C ( 160 F ) and leave the top of the door open to let the air circulate. We're after drying the meat rather than cooking it out.
Leave for about 3 hours then turn the strips over and leave for another 3 hours. The Jerky is done when it's dry enough to rip a piece off rather than snap break it.
Leave it out to completely cool down before storing it in zip – lock bags.
If it's not completely cooled down it will sweat off moisture and end up going mouldy and spoiling all your efforts.
It should be good without refrigeration for 4-6 months – if you can leave it that long!
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