Lemon pepper is commonly associated with the delightful tang it adds to fresh fish, but have you ever considered using it on jerky? Imagine the heavenly flavors of lemon pepper-coated speckled trout fillets sizzling on the grill. Now, picture the unique twist that lemon pepper brings to beef jerky. It’s a close second to the traditional fish pairing, and trust me, it’s some damn good jerky.
While lemon pepper jerky may be unconventional, it’s incredibly easy to make and the key ingredient can be found in any grocery store. So, let’s dive into the process and unleash the flavors waiting to surprise your taste buds.
Slicing The Meat
In the pursuit of speed and convenience, I decided to cheat a little when making this recipe. I purchased some thin-sliced beef top round from my local grocery store, saving me valuable time and effort.
These pre-sliced pieces were approximately ⅛th of an inch thick, so all I needed to do was cut them into 1″ wide strips using a sharp knife. However, if you can’t find pre-sliced meat or prefer to start from scratch, you can grab a chunk of Beef Eye of Round and slice it according to your desired thickness.
Before you begin slicing, ensure that you trim off any visible fat from the meat. Fat spoils faster than meat, so removing it beforehand will extend the shelf life of your jerky. Slice the meat with a very sharp knife, either with the grain for a more chewy texture or against the grain for a tenderer jerky.
To achieve even strips that dry uniformly, you can wrap the roast in plastic wrap and partially freeze it for 1-2 hours. If you’re a serious jerky enthusiast, using a jerky slicer is an excellent investment for consistently even strips.
Crafting The Marinade
When it comes to flavor, my taste buds lean towards a spicy jerky, and this lemon peppered version hits the mark perfectly. The star of the show is, of course, the lemon pepper, accompanied by a touch of black pepper, garlic, salt, and soy sauce. This combination creates a tantalizing batch of jerky just beggin’ to be devoured.
Start by mixing all the marinade ingredients in a bowl or ziplock bag, then add the beef strips, ensuring they are evenly coated. Allow the strips to marinate in the refrigerator for 6-24 hours. Remember, refrigeration is crucial to prevent the meat from spoiling.
Drying The Jerky
Once the marinating process is complete, strain any excess marinade from the meat using a colander. Before placing the strips in your dehydrator, oven, or smoker, let them rest on paper towels to remove additional marinade. This step will speed up the drying process and prevent the jerky from becoming sticky once it’s finished.
Now, arrange the strips on your drying apparatus of choice, ensuring they have enough space to dry uniformly. I used my Sahara Dehydrator (pictured below) at a temperature of 165°F for a total of 4 hours. Remember to reach an internal temperature of 160°F to eliminate any potential bacteria. If your dehydrator doesn’t reach this temperature, you can pre-heat the meat in an oven before drying.
To test whether your jerky is finished, remove a piece from the dehydrator, oven, or smoker, and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Bend the jerky in half; it should be flexible and crack, but not break. You may also notice white fibers within the meat, particularly when torn in half.
If the jerky isn’t ready, continue drying for another hour and repeat the testing process until it’s done. Typically, 90% of the jerky I make is finished within 4-6 hours using a dehydrator or oven, and 6-9 hours when using a smoker. Pre-heating the meat in the oven can reduce drying time to as little as 2.5 hours.
To maximize the shelf life of your jerky, consider utilizing curing salt and storing it in airtight containers. For more information on preserving and extending the life of your jerky, check out my page on storing jerky.
Old Pro Tips:
Here are some additional tips from seasoned jerky enthusiasts:
- Buying already sliced beef roast saves valuable time in the preparation process.
- To extend the life of your jerky, consider using curing salt or celery juice powder.
- Marinating the meat for closer to 24 hours yields a more intense flavor.
- Opt for lemon pepper in a grinder for enhanced flavor, rather than pre-ground varieties.
For more detailed instructions on various drying methods, visit my page on Jerky Making Methods or click on the links below:
- How to Make Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator
- How to Make Beef Jerky in a Smoker
- How to Make Beef Jerky in an Oven
If you’re seeking more detailed guidance on making jerky with an oven, dehydrator, or smoker, visit my page on Jerky Making Methods and become a pro at crafting mouthwatering jerky creations.
You Might Also Like:
- Best Cuts of Beef for Jerky
- How to Make Beef Jerky with a Dehydrator
- The Best Dehydrator for Making Beef Jerky
- Slicing Meat for Beef Jerky
This unique twist on beef jerky, featuring the delightful combination of lemon pepper, is a flavor experience that’s both unexpected and utterly delicious. With just a few simple steps, you can create a batch of lemon peppered beef jerky that will leave your taste buds wanting more. So, gather your ingredients, embrace the creativity, and embark on a flavorful journey with lemon peppered beef jerky.