Are you a beef jerky fan? Lots of folks recommend making your own to save money and get the flavor you want. There are a variety of tools to use to make it and the recipes are endless. This is usually a two day process. Start with deciding what type of equipment you’ll use. The options are:
Procure a lean piece of meat – beef, deer, elk, turkey, etc. about two pounds. Cut off any fat layers. This will taste yucky when meat is cured and can go rancid if stored for a while. Place meat in freezer to firm it up. It will slice easier when firm but not frozen solid. Make sure you use a sharp knife. If you’re worried about cutting yourself, wear a protective glove on your hand. Slice the meat cross grain to diagonal of the grain (some difference of opinion here) for ease of chewing. Slices should be 1/8” strips. Think thick bacon.
Make a marinade for the meat using:
2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce options can include:
2/3 cup soy sauce 1/2 TBS minced garlic
1 TBS honey 1/4 TBS turmeric
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper sliced jalapeno pepper
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Place meat strips into 1 gallon zip lock bag(s) and add the marinade. Make sure all slices are covered. Squeeze out the air and seal. Place in refrigerator over night. Next day drain slices on paper towels and place in dehydrator. Note: if you are using an oven, line the bottom with aluminum foil and spray racks with non-stick cooking spray; if using dehydrator, make sure solid liner is on the bottom below the lowest rack to catch drips and moisture as it leaves the meat.
Spread slices so they do not overlap. Set temperature to 160ºF. Leave oven door cracked to allow air flow. Dry for 5-6 hours. Check meat for doneness. If it breaks when bent, it’s over done. It should bend and tear easily. Allow to air cool completely. Testing along the way is allowed.
When using the Sun Oven®, use parchment paper on the racks, leave the latch open with one latch turned in between the glass and the black gasket. At the end of first day of drying, simply leave everything as is, latch to seal and reopen and continue the drying process the next day.
Store in airtight container for up to 1 month at cool temperature, 3 months in refrigerator or 6 months in freezer, if you can keep it that long.
• Always wash hands with soap and water before and after
handling raw meat. Use clean equipment and utensils
• Use fresh meat within 3-5 days
• Low heat is meant to dry meat not cook it.
• Poultry temperature should be 165ºF
Billie Nicholson, Editor