Caffeinated beef jerky may seem to be an odd choice for a recipe. However, with the right combination of ingredients, we believe you’ll be enjoying this tasty snack that delivers stimulation and flavor.
In terms of healthy jerky, you can get the results you want when you control the ingredients. Using garlic and onion powder that’s prepared fresh at home, using raw, organic and heirloom-variety ingredients is an easy example that can actually save you money.
If you want authentic, all natural beef jerky, then making it at home is your only option. It’s virtually the only way avoid the high fructose corn syrup, MSG and other “salts”, “natural flavors” and sweeteners that are disingenuously labelled, and use whole-food ingredients.
You can create a low sodium beef jerky alternative by using raw, uncured meat that hasn’t had sodium nitrate injected or absorbed into it. This process is done with most of the beef jerky brands, especially those that use chemical preservatives.
A reliable recipe for caffeinated beef jerky
Let’s take the guess work out of the equation, and show you an easy way to make this gourmet beef jerky. Some of the ingredients in the following list are marked ‘optional’ to keep things basic:
1 lb. beef (rib, steak, etc.)
½ cup Grade b maple syrup
Hot pepper powder (Chile, red, jalapeno, habanero, etc.)
1 tsp. liquid smoke or Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce or robust beef bouillon
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar or citrus fruit juice (optional)
12 oz. dark blend of coffee
No matter which kind of meat you’re using for this easy yet exotic beef jerky, cut it into slices 1/8” thick. Slice at a 45 degree angle, against the grain, like you would when filleting fish. If using a rib or variety that’s difficult to cut cleanly, semi freeze it to make the job easier.
Prepare the marinade, mixing all of the remaining ingredients together in a zip-lock bag or other seal-able container or dish. Stir the maple syrup in thoroughly to create a liquid solution, and marinate the meat in your refrigerator for 16-24 hours.
Next, take the marinated meat for this caffeinated jerky and wrap it loosely in paper towel to dry out excess moisture. Don’t squeeze moisture out, as most of it will reduce naturally via the dehydration process.
Place evenly in a meat dryer and cook at 160 degrees F for at least 4 hours. Depending on the size of your batch and the capability of your dehydrator, it could take up to 12 hours to get the internal temperature of your meat to 160 degrees for safe consumption.
How to make this caffeinated beef jerky recipe your own
This could easily product the hottest beef jerky you’ve ever had. When using any of these ingredients for flavor, note that they will concentrate and intensify via dehydration. 90-95% of the moisture (water) content will reduce, leaving behind a compound of delicious flavors.
This kind of beef jerky originally uses dark, black coffee, which is enough to give you more than a full portion of caffeine out of each piece. We recommend a dark, robust blend, however this adds considerably to a bitter flavor than can be offset by sweet honey or hot peppers.
Other options include brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate. Essentially, these are ingredients that complement the flavor of coffee and meat and can be dried for longer storage, without rotting. Fruits like oranges and cherries are viable as well, and we recommend pureeing, dehydrating and powdering them for use in the marinade.
Using a jerky dehydrator that features 600-1000 watts of power and tray extension capability, offers distinct advantages. First, you can take advantage of bulk meat purchasing deals, and prepare them all at once without any spoilage.
A meat dehydrator also often offers digital features, such as an automatic timer.