Learning how to make beef jerky is a pretty straightforward process. It's just dried beef! Apply heat and some ventilation and the beef will dry out. Making jerky with pizazz involves another step.
The pizazz in my jerky comes from a marinade. A marinade does two things. It adds flavor to the beef from the seasonings and it actually tenderizes. A beef jerky rub accomplishes the same thing in a similar manner.
Selecting Beef for Beef Jerky
Other than the marinade there is one more critical component in how to make beef jerky with pizazz. You do need to be careful about the cut of beef you select.
A single muscle cut with very little fat is what's required.
Fat will not dry and will cause your jerky to go rancid quickly. Multi-muscle cuts have connective tissue, which is not good for jerky.
Sirloin or top round are excellent choices but my personal favorite is eye of round.
For consistent drying the meat needs to be sliced evenly. I've never been able to do this at home with a knife to my satisfaction. However my butcher will slice it perfectly with no charge.
Ask yours for slices about 1/4 inch thickness for fast drying. He will probably do it. Even if he charges extra it will be worth it in the long run.
My Favorite Marinade For Jerky With Pizazz
There are probably thousands of marinades out there that will add pizazz to your jerky but this is one of my favorites.
This is enough marinade for about 1 pound of eye of round beef strips.
3/4 cup teriyaki sauce
3/4 cup beer
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid smoke
4 1/2 teaspoons ketchup
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I like more)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper, or to taste
Stir together the beer, teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, water, liquid smoke, and ketchup in a large bowl. Stir in the red pepper flakes, salt, onion salt, pepper, and garlic powder until blended.
Toss the meat with the marinade until the strips are well coated. Tightly cover the bowl, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 6 hours. 24 hours is better.
Drying Beef Jerky In The Oven
Jerky traditionally was dried in the sun. I do mine in the oven. If you own a food dehydrator they are ideal for making jerky. The oven does a fine job however.
Drying jerky in the oven is not a tricky process but it does take time. How much time is also difficult to say! Temperatures, slice thickness and humidity levels vary so drying could take anywhere from 6 to 12 hours.
Set your oven for its lowest setting. You want a temperature of 150 degrees and some ovens won't go that low. 175 degrees is ok but use an oven thermometer to be sure where you are.
My oven set to warm with the door ajar maintains a perfect 150 degree temperature.
Drain the meat strips from the marinade and pat completely dry with paper towels. The dryer you can get them the quicker they will become jerky.
Place a baking rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and arrange the beef strips on the rack. Leave room between the slices of beef. You want to have good air circulation around the slices.
Place the sheet in the oven and leave the oven door ajar so moisture can escape. Start checking the jerky slices after six hours and check regularly from then on.
Your jerky is done when you can bend it and it breaks slightly. It shouldn't snap into but just break slightly.
More Beef Jerky Recipes
Like I said this marinade is my favorite. However it might no be to your taste. We all have different tastes. That's why they make more flavors of ice cream than vanilla!
The concept is what's important. Adding additional flavors to the beef jerky. Just look at the variations of commercial jerky. New ones are added all the time!
Spice up your jerky with a marinade of your choice and you will know how to make beef jerky with pizazz.
The Beef Jerky section of my website has more beef jerky recipes that could be more to your liking. There are also beef recipes of all kinds that will expand your beef cooking file. Check out Beef Cooking online!
Article Source: Ezinearticles.com
Article Posted: July 28, 2011