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Homemade Beef Jerky

Remember when I said don’t let me start making bread at 9pm on a Saturday? Well I also started on making beef jerky. Luckily beef jerky is a two day process.

I’m a sucker for beef jerky. Let’s just get that out of the way. If there’s a bag of beef jerky near me, it will be had. So when my dad and I watched Alton Brown make beef jerky, we decided to make some. We’ve done this multiple times before and we have a large dehydrator from the 1970s, so we had all the components (once we bought the beef) to make beef jerky.

This is kinda sorta like making meals in a slow cooker except there’s definitely more prep work for it.This is going to be picture heavy because I’m assuming this isn’t something most people do, so  I took lots of photos. My father wasn’t used to having the paparazzi take pictures of his process.

The things parents have to put up with. Poor guys.

First things first, you need at least 5 pounds of beef. Dehydrating it will take it from 5 pounds to about 2 pounds. So anything less is, to me, not worth the effort. Also, a dehydrator is required or some dehydrating contraption. Alton Brown has an interesting one here. You can get small ones on Amazon for less than $100, but they’re rather small.

We have an old battle-ax of a dehydrator from the 1970s, it still works when we jerry-rigged it to shut properly. See?

Pardon the blurriness. My camera and I were on the outs that day. But when replacing this one (it has 9 trays) is upwards of $200, blue tape is totally worth the ghettoness.

First Step: Cut away ALL of the fat. And I do mean all of it, or as much of it as you possibly can. The fat will shorten the shelf life of the jerky by going rancid. Rancid – such a fun word. I let my dad do this, because I have a thing about touching raw meat. It’s definitely a manly thing to do.

Second Step: Put your meat on a parchment covered baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let it chill for about an hour to an hour and a half in the freezer. Did anyone else call these cookie sheets growing up? We did and it wasn’t until I watched a cookie show on the Food Network that I realized they weren’t actually cookie sheets, they’re actually jelly roll pans.

Third Step: You slightly freeze the beef so its easier to cut into thin pieces. If you have one of these nifty contraptions this is the perfect time to break it out. I think this was a wedding gift for my parents back during the reign of Noah. My dad likes to harp on my mother every time he uses it because apparently my mother warped the bottom of the slicer by leaving it on the stove with the oven on. Tough love baby.

Fourth Step: While slicing you want to make sure you go WITH the grain of the meat or you’ll have stuff that looks like the piece on the left rather than looking like the piece on the right.

Fifth Step: After slicing all of the meat, place it in a bag with the marinade and let it get happy for 3-6 hours or overnight.

Sixth Step: The next day get the trays out and wash them if they need it.

Seventh Step: Put the now marinated meat on the dehydrator trays.

Eighth Step: Arrange the trays so they are evenly spaced. After this shut the door and allow to dehydrate (for us it was at 145 degrees)  for 10 hours. Prepare for your house to smell AMAZING.

Beef Jerky Marinade
Adapted from Alton Brown

1 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon honey
4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Put everything in a bag and then toss the meat in  to marinate. If you’re worried about it dripping put the bag in a container.

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