Making the Best Beef Jerky at Home: A Savory and Delicious Recipe

Beef Jerky

Do you remember the one thing that was on your Christmas list when you were a teenager? While most people were asking for trendy clothes or the latest books or music albums, I had a different request. I asked Santa for a dehydrator! Yes, that’s right. I had been a fan of homemade beef jerky for years and dreamed of making my own. It all started with my great aunt Chris, who used to make heavenly batches of beef jerky for our family gatherings. Her recipe was a hit, and I soon realized if I wanted that amazing beef jerky year-round, I had to learn how to make it myself. So, with her recipe in hand, I embarked on my beef jerky-making journey.

The Perfect Cut of Beef

Beef Jerky

The first question many people have is, “What cut of beef should I use?” I’ve experimented with various cuts, but my favorite is flank steak. It’s lean and results in thin, flavorful strips of jerky. Other great options include eye of round, top or bottom round, or London broil. Choose a lean cut and trim off any excess fat. For optimal results, slice the meat as thin as possible, about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. If you prefer chewier jerky, slice the meat with the grain. For a more tender texture, slice against the grain. You can either slice the meat yourself at home after chilling it in the freezer for a short while or ask your local butcher to do it for you.

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The Perfect Marinade

Beef Jerky

One common complaint about store-bought beef jerky is its excessive sweetness. Personally, I prefer my beef jerky peppery and savory. So, my marinade consists of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, liquid smoke, onion powder, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. If you’re a fan of pepper, I recommend adding extra cracked black pepper to the strips once you’ve laid them out to cook. For those who enjoy sweeter jerky, you can add 1/4 cup of maple syrup to the marinade. And if you like a bit of heat, sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes on top of the jerky as it cooks.

Cooking Methods: Dehydrator vs. Oven

Beef Jerky

The main question I often hear is how to make beef jerky without a dehydrator. While it is possible to make it in the oven, using a dehydrator yields the most consistent and best results. If you choose to use the oven, I recommend placing the jerky on wire racks placed on top of foil-lined baking sheets. This ensures even cooking and avoids making a mess. However, investing in a good dehydrator, such as the Cuisinart model, can make the process easier and yield excellent results.

The Final Steps to Savory Perfection

Beef Jerky

To make your beef jerky, toss the sliced beef in the marinade, ensuring it is evenly coated. Place the mixture in a large ziplock bag and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to a day. Once marinated, lay the strips out in an even layer on your dehydrator trays or wire racks in the oven. Follow the instructions provided below for both oven and dehydrator cooking methods. The aroma of the jerky cooking will fill your home, making it hard to resist!

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Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor

Once the jerky reaches your desired level of dryness, typically when it is cooked, dark, and slightly pliable, it’s ready to enjoy! I personally love my jerky really dry, but you can adjust the cooking time to your preference. The best part is, you can now have a batch of delicious, homemade beef jerky whenever you want. This recipe has been a part of my life for 17 years, and countless batches of beef jerky have been made and shared.

So, go ahead and indulge yourself in the art of making the best beef jerky. It’s a satisfying and flavorful experience that will surely impress your friends and family. If you’re ready to embark on this culinary adventure, check out Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ for more mouthwatering recipes and our selection of premium ingredients. Happy jerky-making!

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