For health reasons, the best cut of meat for jerky may come down to sodium content, and the ability to make organic beef jerky. An easy example for low sodium beef jerky is to get a raw cut of meat that hasn’t been cured with coarse salt and sodium nitrates, and cook it in your food dehydrator to keep it fresh.
The truth is, the best meat for jerky depends on your preferences for flavor, health and price. It’s possible to make turkey jerky, deer jerky and even fruit jerky, and get exactly what you’re looking for.
Going beyond the beef jerky brands
When making homemade beef jerky, you have more control over the ingredients you use, including the meat, itself. Generally speaking, the less fat and grease content in your jerky, the longer it will last without the use of artificial preservatives, as well.
For economic reasons, you might make a delicious batch of venison jerky out of ground meat. Rather than letting it deteriorate and rot, you could create a large batch that’s easy to chew, very tender and cooked consistently.
Here’s a recipe that you can use right now in your dehydrator jerky maker. It works just as well for preparing a soft beef jerky, or using any kind of lean meat.
- Beef, turkey, fish, venison, deer or other cuts of meat (as lean as possible; 90% or more)
- Tomato puree
- Black pepper
- Pink Himalayan, kosher, or other form of healthy salt (optional)
- Garlic and onion powder
- Worcestershire sauce
You can use any cut, from a ribeye steak to prime rib, and make shredded beef jerky. If not using ground meat, cut out as much fat as possible. Otherwise, you can shred your meat using a slow cooker or stand mixer, or simply cut it into strips ¼” thick.
Mix all of your spices into your jerky meat before coating or mixing it with tomato puree and Worcestershire sauce. Use liquid ingredients sparingly, as any moisture content will cause your jerky to take longer to cook, and flavors will intensify through the process.
We recommend making your own tomato puree, using brown sugar or honey to sweeten your beef jerky marinade. This puree will also help tenderize your meat, using the naturally acidic content of tomatoes, and other ingredients that you decide to use in it.
Place in the trays of your jerky dehydrator, and dry at 160 degrees for about 4 hours. Depending on the wattage and other capabilities of your food desiccator, it may take 1-2 hours longer.
The best way to make organic beef jerky
A beef jerky dehydrator can be a life saver, whether you’re making peppered beef jerky, or looking for natural alternatives to any ingredient. For example, consider this simple, yet effective and tasty recipe for turkey jerky.
- Turkey meat (fillet, steak or whole breast)
- Black pepper
- Soy sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Ground jalapeno, red or chili pepper
To make this turkey jerky recipe, begin by removing as much skin and fat as possible. Cut the turkey breast into slices 1/8” thick. You don’t want to shred the meat, so it’s recommended to freeze it for under an hour to harden it, and then cut against the grain, using a sharp knife.
Next, combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and allow it to marinade for at least 6 hours. Place them in your meat dehydrator and cook at 160 degrees for 4 hours.
Afterward, let a piece of it cool for about 30 minutes, testing it for chewiness and moisture content. You may have to experiment with your dehydrator to find the perfect drying time.
You could use any kind of beef jerky marinade you like. From BBQ and teriyaki to simple salt and pepper recipes, or the hottest beef jerky using unique blends of peppers, spices and herbs, the world is your oyster.
Using a beef jerky machine is also a great way to prepare healthy alternatives to any of the dry ingredients that you use in your recipes!