Beef jerky, or jerky made with other types of meat, is a great tasting, healthy snack that can be easily made with a food dehydrator.
Beef jerky’s basic ingredients should consist of:
– A lean piece of meat
– If desired, marinades, sauces, glazes or other liquids to impart flavor
– If desired, salt, pepper or other spices
Here are 10 tips towards making home made beef jerky:
1) Before beginning, familiarize yourself with basic, safe raw meat handling procedures as recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture.
2) Choose lean cuts of meat and trim excess fat from the meat. Also remove any tough parts such as tendon, gristle, and connective tissue. Trimming the meat will aid in the drying process and help preserve the jerky longer after it is dried.
3) Partially freeze your meat prior to cutting it (or fully freeze it and then let it partially thaw). Partially frozen meat will be firm, making it easier to cut uniform and even 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices.
4) Some cuts of meat have distinct lines or grains in them. Flank steak, skirt steak, and London broil , which are all good meat cuts for making jerky, are good examples of meats with grain lines. These grains in the meat are fibers that run through the meat. Cutting through the grain or fibers (or also called cutting against or through or across the grain) can make meat more tender and easier to chew. Slice with the grain for a chewier meat and jerky.
5) Cut your meat into uniform strips no more that 1/4 of an inch thick. Keep the strips at a reasonable length and width as well. Remember, the thicker the meat, the longer it will take to marinate and dry.
6) Use a jerky marinade and marinate the meat in the refrigerator. Do not leave marinating meat on the kitchen counter which could allow bacteria to develop.
7) Turn and move the meat during the marinating period. Allow the marinade to penetrate the meat’s surface and cracks to add flavor and tenderize it.
8) The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that, before dehydrating, meat strips be heated to a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius). The USDA recommends this step to ensure that salmonella, listeria, e coli and other potentially harmful bacteria are destroyed.
9) Place the meat strips in a food dehydrator and maintain a constant drying temperature of between 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (54 to 60 degrees Celsius).
10) After removing the food from the dehydrator, allow it to cool off before placing it in a airtight storage container. Warm foods can sweat a bit while cooling and otherwise leave some moisture in the container.
Visit Food-Dehydrator.com to learn how to dehydrate food and make beef jerky and dried fruit. Use our food dehydrator content and calculators to discover the benefits of food dehydrators and dried food.
Photo. Tomáš Sova