Since I was a little boy, I have always loved home made beef jerky. I fondly remember my mother making it and how the smell wafted through out the house as she was drying it in the oven. It seemed about half the batch would be gone before she could say it was done most times. Later, when I was in the Navy, Mom would send me containers of home made jerky while I was deployed out to sea on board the USS Enterprise. Don’t you know I would be the most popular guy in the shop when I would get those care packages. It’s a good thing Mom always sent enough for me to share with my shipmates. A little taste of home was always good to receive during those long months at sea. I could have a piece of jerky and momentarily forget that it would be several weeks to months before I would set foot on dry land again.
Friends, beef jerky can be not only a tasty treat, but also a nutritious and high protein snack. Having jerky for a snack is satisfying and oh so much better than a candy bar to treat the taste buds. And it is relatively cheap and easy to make. While there are some fine jerky’s on the market, none taste so good as that which you have made yourself.
Here is a simple and basic recipe;
- 2 to 3 lbs lean beef, sliced into thin strips. I like to partially freeze the beef to ease thin slicing. I also like to use a tenderizing mallet on it for easier to chew jerky. Depending on how dry you get your jerky, you can get a 2:1 to 3;1 ratio. Or, 2 or 3 lbs of beef will yield 1 pound of jerky.
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 2 TBSP liquid soake
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Slice the beef into thin strips. As an option, I like to hammer the strips thin with a tenderizing mallet. Note, be sure to cut off all excess fat.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and then pour over the beef in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator 12-36 hours. Ensure the meat is evenly coated with the marinade.
Once the meat has marinated, you are ready to dry it in either a dehydrator or in your oven. Either drying method is perfectly suitable. If using a dehydrator, place the strips on the dehydrating racks, turn it on and try to avoid getting into your jerky as it is drying. Your house is going to smell heavenly.
If you do not have a dehydrator, simply preheat your oven to 165 degrees while you place wire racks on a cookie sheet and then lay out your beef strips atop the racks. Place in your oven and let dry for 6 to 10 hours.
Once your jerky is dry to your desire, let cool on the racks. Then you can pack it away in zip lock bags or vacuum seal if you want to store it a while. Store in a cool dry place and enjoy at your leisure.
Be sure to share with a friend!