Here’s one of my favorite recipes, reasonably healthy too!
Snacking on a hunk of beef jerky instead of your typical carb-laden snacks provides your body with needed proteins, while avoiding the crash you might feel after a small bag of chips or a candy bar.
This Killer Beef Jerky Recipe is easy to make, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and actually gains friends!
Here’s a simple beef jerky recipe. I’ll be making some later this week, so I’ll add pictures or a video when I do that. For now, I’ll just write the words.
I like to use a Top Round Roast, often packaged in the store as a London Broil. Even though it may be labelled as such, “London Broil” is NOT a cut of meat, but rather a method of cooking. And since I am not in London, nor am I broiling the meat, we’ll go ahead and use the Top Round, even if it does say London Broil on the package.
Trim off any excess fat around the edges, and if there is a silverline or silverside running through the meat, cut along both sides of it (splitting the roast into two pieces) and discard the silverline. That is connective tissue, is hard to chew, and pretty much undesirable in our jerky.
Lay the roast on a cutting board, and slice it into thin strips, about 1/4″ – 1/2″ wide. Don’t go crazy trying to be exact here: the meat’s gonna move around a bit on you, so if a strip winds up a bit thicker, don’t fret, it’ll still be fine.
Put your slices into a dish for marinade.
Now, here’s the fun part: let’s make the marinade!
The marinade gives the jerky its flavor. You can use just about anything you like, and of course feel free to experiment. I’ll give you a couple tips on what we want to achieve, and I’ll even give you my ‘secret’ ingredient that propels my jerky into the outer atmosphere.
The purpose of the marinade is twofold: first, to get the essence of your flavors deep into the meat so that when it dries (gets jerkified), it has a deep flavor, and second, the marinade tenderizes the meat. Drying meat tends to make it tough: marinading the meat breaks down and loosens some of the fibers, making it far more palatable.
So, what do you put in your marinade?
Here’s what I like to use:
Good Ol’ Worcestershire — use about 5 good squirts for a 2-3 pound roast.
Frank’s Red Hot — any hot pepper sauce will do; Frank’s is my fav.
PickaPeppa — a wonderful fruity semi-hot vinegary sauce from the islands (Jamaica perhaps?) … adds nice depth to the marinade.
Red Pepper Flakes — optional, but you’ll use’em! You can add the flakes into the marinade now, or you can sprinkle them on the strips when we lay them on the dehydrator trays.
Molasses — gives all the heat we just added a touch of sweet. It seems to actually enhance the hot flavors while simultaneously mellowing them. Use about 2 tablespoons for the 2 pound roast.
It really doesn’t get much simpler. Proportions? Amounts? Teaspoons, tablespoons, quarter-cups? Puhleeze, don’t make it complicated!
Here’s what I do: For an average size 3 pound roast, I use a 9×12 Pyrex baking dish and spread my beef strips around in it. In a mixing bowl, I squeeze three to four long squirts of WShire Sauce, one long drip of Pick-A-Peppa, and about six ‘shakes’ of the hot sauce. Then I add two tablespoon drips of molasses. (Wipe the rim & the lid of the molasses jar, elsewise life will suck next time you try to open the jar.) Mix all that good stuff together in the mixing bowl. Then add a palm-full of the pepper flakes. Stir again.
Pour all that deliciousness over the meat in the Pyrex dish; spread the meat around in the liquid and get it as even as you can. No science here: we’ll be mixing it a few more times before putting the meat in the dehydrator.
Once the mixture is well integrated, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Overnight at least; longer will be better. I slosh the mixture around every four to six hours, but if you wish you may sleep through the entire night and do the additional mixing first thing in the morning.
The idea is to get the marinade thoroughly saturated into the meat. You’ll be able to tell, especially the first time you stir the mixture: some of the meat has darkened significantly, while some is still pink. Ideally, you want the strips to be darkish; that’s the marinade soaking in.
When you’re satisfied with the marinade process, lay your strips on the drying trays of your dehydrator. Avoid having the strips touch each other. A three-pound roast should lay out nicely on 4 or 5 trays.
Turn on the dehydrator at 165* and let-r-rip for 6-8 hours or so. Periodically check the strips: we’re looking for nicely dried, but not necessarily ‘crunchy.’ This is a matter of taste, but also can be a health issue. I like my jerky slightly ‘chewy’ (less dry) rather than crispy. As such, I keep my jerky refrigerated after cooking, and I try to eat it within a week, which is not hard for me to do.
For long term storage (over a week), you should store the dried meat in an airtight container, and /or freeze it when finished.
Either way, enjoy your jerky, and equally as important, enjoy making it!