Beef jerky is my favorite afternoon snack. It’s a delicious and quick protein source that’s superior to any protein powder in the world.
I love the smoky taste and chewy texture of jerky, but I struggle with many of the shop-bought varieties of due to their sky-high sugar, sodium and preservative content. As I often say, we can do a lot better than that.
Making amazing jerky at home is as simple as putting together a marinade. Give this recipe a try, you’re going to love it!
Here’s what you need…
For the marinade
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar.
- 1/2 cup coconut aminos, soy sauce or tamari.
- 1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or molasses. Molasses is my favorite.
- 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke.
- 1 tbsp black pepper.
- 1 tbsp garlic powder.
- 1 tbsp onion powder.
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika.
- 0.5 to 1 Teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Careful, 1 is hot! You can also add 1-2 tbsp of chili flake.
- 2 teaspoons salt.
- 3 tbsp sesame or olive oil.
- 4 cloves of fresh, crushed garlic.
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds.
For your jerky
- For a batch of jerky, use about 5 pounds of fresh, high-quality meat. I love flank steak, brisket, or top round cuts of beef. Sirloin works great too.
- You can also use turkey, even mushrooms (they’re delicious!). Be creative.
Use whatever you like.
Remove all of the visible fat from your meat. Once trimmed, place the meat in the freezer for about an hour, or until it’s firm. This will make it much easier to cut, believe me. Just don’t let it freeze solid.
With a good knife, slice the meat into long, thin strips and put it in a large freezer bag. I like to cut against the grain so my jerky comes out more tender.
Put all of the marinade ingredients into a bowl, mix well, then pour the liquid all over your sliced meat. Seal the bag, and make sure you remove the air and massage the meat a bit to coat everything in the marinade.
Get your hands in there.
The final marinade. Ready for meat.
Place your bag of meat in the fridge and let it marinate overnight. If you are making jerky in the oven, cover the bottom with aluminum foil. You could also use a large baking sheet. And just one more tip, as you pull you racks in and out place a bit of old newspaper in the oven door. The meat will drip all over and make a right mess, so being prepared will make your efforts a lot easier.
Remove the meat from the marinade and place the strips directly on a wire cooling rack. Heat your oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, and make sure to never fully close the door. Prop it open with a wooden spoon if you must.
This will stop the meat from heating up and cooking, and instead will allow it to dehydrate and actually turn into proper jerky.
Once your rack is in the oven, let the meat dehydrate for about 2.5 to 3 hours, then turn it over and bake again. The total time depends on how thick you slice your meat (thicker slices will take longer). The jerky is done when you can rip off a piece easily. Overall it should have a consistent color and should not look crispy.
Leave the jerky out to cool for a couple of hours and then transfer it to an airtight container or sealed plastic bag. You can also vacuum seal portions for storage. This jerky will keep for about 4 to 6 months although you’ll have eaten it all way before then.
If you have a dehydrator, line the sheets and then layer your beef. Set the temperature to 170 degrees and dehydrate according to instructions. I usually dehydrate mine for 3 hours, flip the meat, then dehydrate for a further 3 hours.
For your veggie mushroom jerky, use the very same meat method. Just clean your mushrooms with a dry tissue (no water), slice thinly, then line and bake. The resulting jerky is chewy and delicious.