Monday, August 4, 2014

We Made Beef Jerky

I love beef jerky.  And I enjoy making it at home.  I like the taste of homemade beef jerky.  I like knowing there are no preservatives in it to lengthen its shelf life.  I like beef jerky to be thoroughly dried.  Some of the store bought brands either are not completely dry or they add something to it during packaging that makes it too moist. It feels and tastes unnatural to me.  So, I make my own.  This batch turned out just as I had hoped it would and I would like to share with you just how I made it in case you are interested in making some of your own.

We started out with round steak.  You do not need an expensive cut of meat to make beef jerky.  Round steak works perfectly.  This particular one came with one of those "pop-up" thingies to let you know when it is done if you are planning on cooking it in the oven.

Since we were not cooking it in the oven, we promptly removed the pop-up thingie.

We have had this Krups slicer for more years than I can recall and it still works beautifully.  I sliced the meat in half which made it more manageable on the slicer.

Each slice was about 1/8" thick.  Sort of like a thick cut bacon.  This looks like long strips of beef but actually they are short cuts laid out on the cutting board.

Into a quart sized Ziploc bag with it all.  The steak weighed a little over two pounds.

Previously, before slicing, I made the marinade.  And believe me when I tell you, this is absolutely perfect.

Beef Jerky Marinade

4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix and marinate the meat for 4 to 6 hours, then drain.

I also add one teaspoon of salt per pound of meat.  So in this case, I added 2 teaspoons of salt to the marinade in addition to the 1/2 teaspoon that is called for in the recipe.

Mix this all together with a whisk and let is sit for at least 30 minutes.

Pour it over the sliced beef jerky strips.

Seal the bag.

Let it marinate for 4 - 6 hours.

Here is the beef marinating on a plate next to chicken breasts which were marinating in Italian dressing. More on those later.

When it is done marinating, pour everything out of the bag onto a plate and grab some paper towels.

Lay down a couple layers of paper toweling.

Lay out a few strips of marinated beef.

Fold the toweling over to absorb some of the marinade.

And now you have beef jerky strips ready to be placed in the dryer.

Tray 1.

Tray 2.

Tray 3.

Tray 4.

Temperature set, and we were making beef jerky.

Here is a small sampling of our beef jerky.  It is delicious.

To store, we placed it in a mason jar and tightly sealed the lid.

Then we placed it into the refrigerator.  Beef jerky stored on a shelf will start to go rancid at room temperature after 3 or 4 weeks.  Refrigerate or freeze for longer storage.  It will stay fresh and tasty for up to 6 months in the freezer.

Also, the instructions for the dehydrator stated that it should take between 4 and 15 hours to thoroughly dry the beef for jerky.  You will need to monitor the drying process closely.  This jerky was ready in 2-1/2 hours.  Any longer and it would have been like shoe leather.  It all depends on the thickness and the type of meat you are using for your jerky.  A little experimentation and you will get it just right.
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