Homemade Beef Jerky
Did you know that you can make your own Beef Jerky? It is not difficult to make but it is time consuming. It has to marinate overnight and depending on your dehydrator it can take more than 3 hours to dry and it is worth every minute you wait. You do not need an expensive dehydrator, my first one was small and inexpensive. I am sharing my favorite marinade recipe but there are many others you can use too. I like to vacuum pack my beef jerky but you can keep it in in a resealable bag just as well.
Slice strips of the beef thin and place them into a resealable bag. To make it easy to slice I freeze my meat, thaw it slightly and cut it thin by hand. If you cut with the grain you will get a chewy and tough jerky. Cutting against the grain will give you a less chewy and softer jerky. Make sure you cut away most visible fat as it will not dehydrate completely and can make the jerky go bad faster.
In a medium bowl whisk together the marinade ingredients.
Pour the marinade over the meat in the resealable bag, getting all of the air out of the bag, then seal the bag. Gently massage the meat until it separates the pieces. Place the bag of meat into the bowl, in case the bag leaks, making sure all of the meat is all covered with the marinade. Refrigerate for 10-12 hours.
Place the meat into a colander and allow the marinade to drain completely, discarding the marinade. Lay the strips of beef flat onto the dehydrator shelves, being careful not to let them touch. Dehydrate according to your dehydrator suggested temperature. The total time to dehydrate will depend on your dehydrator, the temperature and the thickness of the meat.
Continue to dehydrate until they turn almost a black color like this. If you bend them you should see white cracks.
Once the jerky cools, place it in a resealable bag or vacuum pack in serving size pieces and refrigerate. Even the vacuum packed jerky needs refrigeration. These will keep in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks or you can freeze in serving size pieces if you want.
Homemade Beef Jerky
- 4 – 5 pounds lean beef, partially frozen
- 1/2 cup liquid smoke
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 2/3 cup water
- Slice the partially frozen beef into thin strips, cutting away any visible fat, then place it into a resealable bag. If you cut the beef with the grain, you will get a chewy and tougher jerky. Cutting the beef against the grain will be less chewy and softer.
- In a medium bowl combine the rest of the ingredients for the marinade, whisking thoroughly.
- Pour the marinade into the bag over the beef pieces. Squeeze out all of the air you can and seal the bag. Gently massage the beef, separating the pieces.
- Place the bag into a bowl in case it should leak. Refrigerate for 10 – 12 hours.
- Pour the beef into a colander, draining and discarding all of the marinade. Let drain thoroughly.
- Lay the beef strips flat onto the dehydrator shelves making sure they do not touch. Check your dehydrator manual for the suggested temperature.
- Dehydrate for 3 hours then turn the strips over. Continue to dehydrate until the beef is almost black and when you bend it you will see white cracks. The time could be quite a few hours depending on the type of dehydrator you are using, the temperature and the thickness of the beef.
- Let the jerky cool then place it into a resealable bag or vacuum seal into individual serving size pieces. Refrigerate, which ever way you chose, for up to a few weeks (mine never lasts that long). You can also freeze the jerky in serving size pieces but it will be softer when it thaws.