Making your own beef jerky is a super fun way to get your protein fix! It's also great way to use up left over meat you might have in the fridge. All you need to make your own beef jerky is some lean beef, sauce, and your favorite spices.
In this post, we'll share a simple and easy recipe for beef jerky that you can make at home.
First Off, What Is Beef Jerky?
Beef jerky is a type of dried and cured meat that originated in ancient times. It was originally made as a way to preserve meat for long periods, but now it's a popular snack food all over the world. It is made from lean cuts of beef that are trimmed of fat and then cut into strips. The strips are then marinated in a mixture of spices and other flavors, before being dried and cured.
The ancient Egyptians were among the first to dry meat, but the most similar contemporary beef jerky begins with indigenous communities in Peru's Andes mountains.
Jerky was also popular with Native Americans and was used as a trade good between tribes. In the 1800s, beef jerky became a popular snack food for cowboys and settlers traveling west. Today, beef jerky is enjoyed all over the world as a healthy and delicious snack. It is especially popular with athletes and people who are looking for a high-protein, low-fat snack.
Things You Should Know Before Making Your Beef Jerky
Before you begin, there are a few things you should know:
Drying Beef Jerky
Beef is usually dried after it has been marinated. You can do this in a dehydrator, oven, or smoker. The key to successful drying is to achieve the correct balance of moisture - too much moisture will cause the jerky to spoil, while too little moisture will make it tough and chewy. The ideal moisture content for beef jerky is around 12-15%.
The Best Kind Of Meat For Beef Jerky
When making Jerky, the quality of meat you use is important. It's crucial to use lean cuts of beef for your jerky. This means choosing cuts like eye of round, top round, bottom round, or flank steak. You'll want to trim away any excess fat from the meat before cutting it into strips.
Once you have your lean cut of beef, it's time to cut it into thin slices. If you have a sharp knife, you can do this by hand. However, if you don't feel confident about your slicing skills, you can always use a meat slicer.
Common Ingredients Used For Homemade Beef Jerky
Here are some common ingredients you can use for a great beef jerky recipe:
Sliced beef (lean)
Red pepper flakes (optional)
How To Make Beef Jerky (Instructions)
Making beef jerky is actually very simple. Just follow these instructions, and you'll enjoy delicious homemade beef jerky in no time!
Mix Your Ingredients
First, you want to mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure that the beef is well coated with the marinade.
Marinate the Mix
We recommend marinating it for at least 12 hours, but you can marinate it for as long as 24 hours if you want.
One of the great things about making beef jerky at home is that you can get creative with the flavors. You can also experiment with different herbs and spices to find a flavor you like. So don't be afraid to play around with the ingredients and find a flavor you love.
If you're unsure where to start, we've included a basic marinade recipe below.
1⁄2 cup coconut amino sauce ( We didn't use popular choices like low sodium soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce because this is a paleo recipe)
1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar - 1⁄4 cup coconut sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
Seal It In A Plastic Bag
Once the beef is done marinating, you want to put it in a plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag tightly. Then, put the bag in the fridge and let it sit for at least 12 hours.
Slice The Meat Thinly
As stated before, slice the meat thinly. Remember, the thinner the slices, the quicker they will dehydrate. Just make sure that the strips are no more than 1⁄4 inch thick.
Once the beef is sliced and marinated, it's time to dehydrate it. Set it to 155 degrees Fahrenheit and let the beef jerky dehydrate for about four hours if you're using a dehydrator. If you're using an oven, set it to the lowest setting possible and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Let the beef jerky dehydrate for about six hours. After this, your tender jerky is ready to eat!
Tips For Making Perfect Home-made Beef Jerky
Here are some tips you can use to ensure the jerky making process goes smoothly:
If you are using wild game meat, it's best to freeze it entirely before drying. This helps to destroy any potential parasites in the meat,
Meat that is only partially frozen is much easier to cut into thin strips. Cut strips along the grain for a chewier jerky. Slice against the grain for meat that is more delicate.
Slices that are thicker will take longer to dry than thin ones. To ensure uniform drying, try to maintain your strips as consistent in size as possible.
Salt not only draws moisture from the meat, but it also functions as a preservative. Salt-cured jerky will have a longer shelf life than non-salted jerky. Unsalted jerky is defined as having one teaspoon of salt per pound of meat, plus any optional herbs and spices.
Salted jerky is generally brined in a solution of 2 1/2 cups pickling salt per three quarts of water, plus any additional herbs and spices. After one to two days, take it out of the brine, dry it off carefully, and continue to dehydrate.
When oven-drying, you may lay strips straight on the oven racks, but place a layer of heavy-duty foil on the floor to catch any leaks.
A stainless steel rack inside a foil-lined cookie sheet is another alternative, although improved air circulation may be necessary. A low-speed fan blowing toward the open oven door will sufficient.
Jerky seasoned with salt can last for two to three months in the refrigerator or freezer. It decays after a while if kept any longer. Unsalted jerky should be refrigerated and consumed within two weeks.
When you're done cooking the jerky, be sure it has completely cooled before putting it away. Any moisture should be wiped away. The store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
How To Pair Your Beef Jerky
If you're not sure how to pair your beef jerky, here are a few ideas:
Serve it with crackers and dairy-free cheese as an appetizer. You can also add some pickled vegetables for a more savory flavor.
Add it to a salad for a protein-packed lunch. The beef jerky will add a nice smoky flavor to the salad.
Serve it as a main course with roasted vegetables and mashed sweet potatoes. Sweet potato wedges would also be a great pairing.
Make a beef jerky sandwich for a quick and easy lunch. This is great at work or on the go. - Use it as a topping for a pizza. The beef jerky will add a nice smoky flavor to the pizza.
Make beef jerky tacos by adding it to paleo tortillas with some chopped veggies. You can add some sweet potato or cauliflower rice to the tacos for a more filling meal.
Make beef jerky nachos by adding it to tortilla chips with some dairy-free cheese and salsa. You can add 100% grass-fed ground beef to the nachos for a more filling meal.
Eat it as a snack with some fruit or vegetables.
As you can see, there are endless possibilities for pairing beef jerky. So get creative and have fun!
Nutritional Benefits of Beef Jerky
Jerky is the perfect snack to take on the go, and it’s also a great way to get some protein in your diet. With its long shelf life, you can make a big batch of jerky and have snacks for weeks. If you’ve never made beef jerky before, give it a try! The recipe we shared is simple and easy to follow.