Home made jerky is an acquired taste. You know that when you leave a batch of jerky out at home, it won’t be long until it’s eaten and everyone’s asking for more.
Making beef jerky is surprisingly simple, especially when you’re using a meat dehydrator. You have the option of using fresh ingredients and spices, as well as any kind of meat you choose. There are some techniques, however, that’ll make the task easier and take your homemade jerky to the next level.
How to make your own beef jerky
Homemade beef jerky, alone, has an enormous amount of potential. Along with getting creative with jerky cures, seasonings and marinades, there are also different forms of the meat, itself. Beef sticks, ground jerky and slices of steaks and roasts are a few examples.
We’re going to share a beef jerky recipe that’ll show how simple it is to get started on your own. We’ll also explore a beef jerky marinade recipe, and even show you how you can transform your sauces and individual ingredients into a jerky seasoning that you can use at your leisure.
Sweet and spicy beef jerky – alternate recipes
- 4 lbs. beef, cut into ¼” slices
- 1 ½ cup soy sauce
- 1 ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp. ground and dried jalapeno or chili pepper
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp. black pepper
- 2 tbsp. each garlic and onion powder
Mix all of the ingredients together to create a beef jerky marinade. Completely submerge the meat in a sealable container and let it marinade overnight, or for at least 6 hours.
Set your kitchen dehydrator to its highest setting (160-165 degrees F). Place the sliced, marinated beef on the trays and dry for about 5 hours.
You can dry the beef jerky out further if you intend to store it for months at a time. Meat preservation is an entirely different subject, but less moisture means less bacteria growth. For other tips including using ingredients that tenderize and soften the meat, and how to properly store it, can be found on the Home Dehydrator Pro blog.
A universe of beef jerky recipes
You can change the beef jerky marinade recipe that we’ve used here, in any way you like. Swap out most of the ingredients for a BBQ, honey garlic, teriyaki or hot sauce, or sweeten it by adding 1-2 tablespoons of honey.
It would be impossible to mention all of the beef jerky flavors in one place. You can take any of the marinade recipes you’d like to use, and dry them in your dehydrator to create a beef jerky seasoning or powder. For example, you can make your own tomato puree and BBQ sauce, reduce its moisture and grind it in a blender.
Jerk chicken and turkey lend well to recipes that are similar to beef jerky. Fish and venison, on the other hand may require a jerky cure, which to be clear, is different from a brine. You can find examples and tutorials for this on the blog, as well!
A jerky maker vs. beef jerky in the oven
If you’ve ever had salami or other types of French, Italian and South African meats, you may know that they often aren’t cooked. They use a process of curing to effectively prevent bacteria growth, and an extended period of drying.
Making jerky, however, involves both cooking and drying meat. In fact, a dehydrator machine is much more efficient and convenient than your kitchen oven. You can achieve an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, for safe eating, and you’re wasting less energy on open space.
You also have feature options, including a digital timer and adjustable thermostat. Custom trays are also provided that produce consistent cooking and flavor, and work with the heating apparatus and internal fan to regulate heat and air effectively.
Try your hand at making beef jerky at home in your meat dehydrator, and share some of your favorite recipes!