This beef jerky is not dry, flavorless, packed with MSG, GMO’s, or preservatives. This beef jerky is completely good for you, all natural, delicious, and best of all, easy to make!
Start with a lean piece of meat. I like to use a roast, or brisket, or a flank steak. The most important thing is to have as little fat as possible, because the fat is what will make it go rancid.
The next thing you want to do is have your meat partially-thawed/partially-frozen. If you have already-thawed meat, put it in the freezer for around 90 minutes, or until it’s sliceable but not wiggly. If your meat is frozen you will need to thaw it, but you might have to put it back in the freezer just to get it to the right consistency. It should be firm but able to be sliced.
Now, we’re going to slice the jerky. You can slice it anyway you want, but there are ways to slice it that affect the texture. For example, slicing AGAINST the grain will yield you (in my opinion) the best texture. It will be chilly but not tough, and it will break apart easily. However, slicing WITH the grain will yield a more leathery jerky. Slicing diagonally and going with/against the grain is a happy medium.
But any way you slice it, you want your strips to be about a 1/4 inch thick.
Next, put the meat in a plastic bag and pour the marinade over it, making sure the meat is completely submerged. I like to put the plastic bag in a bowl to make sure that the meat stays submerged. Let it marinate in the fridge overnight.
The next step is drying the meat. I like to put a bit of dry rub on the meat as well to really add to the flavor. I pull out a strip from the marinade, let it drip as much as possible, then dip one side (longways) into the dry rub and lay it on the rack.
The oven racks are too wide to put the meat on, so I use my cooling racks (that I usually cool cookies or muffins on) on top of the oven racks, and put the meat on top of that. That way nothing falls through the cracks.
Turn your oven on to the lowest possible temp. Mine stops at 170˚F. Then dry your jerky for around 3 hours, flip it over, and dry for another 3 hours. I leave my oven door cracked about 3 inches so that the moisture can escape and it dries better. Total cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your strips. The best way to know when it’s done is to try it! Another way to tell is if it is dry enough to tear/rip apart easily but doesn’t SNAP when bent.
To store, I pat dry my jerky with paper towels to get off any excess oil that might make it go rancid, then I store it in glass jars and store those glass jars in my freezer until I’m read to eat it. This might be overkill.
An alternate way to store it is to let it dry for 24 hours and then seal it in a plastic bag and throw it in your pantry, where it should keep for several months. You want it to be completely cooled before bagging so there is no moisture in there. Moisture is jerky’s worst enemy. That’s why I freeze mine just in case. But it’s really up to you!
Below are several different options for marinades and the dry rub I use. Happy jerkying! (Whoops. That sounds bad. Oh well.)
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 TBSP fish sauce (buy this one!)
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 TBSP liquid smoke
Spicy dry rub
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 3 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp crushed chili pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground clove
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup soy sauce (buy this one!)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 TBSP molassases
- 2 TBSP tamarind paste
- 1 TBSP liquid smoke
- 3 TBSP sesame oil
- 1/4 olive oil
Asian dry rub
- 1 TBSP sea salt
- 2 TBSP black pepper
- 1 TBSP cane sugar
- 1 TBSP garlic powder
- 1 TBSP onion powder
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
I am so happy you posted this recipe! We love beef jerky – perfect after school snack, but its extortionately priced and full of sugar. I am trying this ASAP. We don’t have liquid smoke – it plays a role of a flavouring, not a preservative, right? Do you measure the temperature inside your oven? If you leave it slightly open, it wouldn’t be at 170 F I guess. Mine goes down to 50 C (122 F), just wondering what the ideal temp is.
122 F is perfect. I leave my cracked for two reasons: to vent moisture and lower the temperature. Liquid smoke is a substance produced from smoke pass through tube from a combustion chamber filled with wood chips to condenser. In the condenser the smoke walls and forms a liquid, needed by the addition of water. It is used for flavoring.