What is one of the most expensive per pound items at the store? Beef Jerky. And how can you have the most flavorful beef jerky, cost effective jerky, by using a home food dehydrator for jerky. By making it at home your cost per pound will drop dramatically. No matter what cut of meat you buy, add in the cost of a food dehydrator, and it will still be a bargain. Everyone loves jerky: Dad, Mom, Brother, Sister and even the kids next door. You will not need to be a master chef to make top quality jerky for your family. Hey, why not make it a family project. Now there is a great idea, family time together and great beef jerky to boot.
Things to buy or borrow: 3-4 pounds of London broil, flank steak or brisket. (I like the London broil the best.) Seasoning for the jerky: Soy (3/4 cup), Worcestershire sauce (3/4 cup), Garlic (fresh or powder), even some onion (fresh or powdered). You will need salt (1 tsp.), pepper (two or three grinds of fresh cracked), and sugar (1 tbsp). A food dehydrator to dry the jerky in.
1. If you have one, use a meat slicer and cut the beef into very thin strips approximately six to eight inches long. Slice against the grain and trim with a sharp knife, the fat as much as you can.
2. Make up the “Go Juice”. Combined all of the marinade into a large 1 gallon freezer storage bag and add the thin sliced meat. Close the bag and when doing so push out as much of the air as possible. Continue to work the bag to distribute the juice over the meat evenly. Do this in the morning and refrigerate.
3. Allow the bag to set in the refrigerator overnight. When you can, rotate the bag to keep all the meat equally marinated.
4. Drain off the fluid out of the bag. Do not retain, this is contaminated with raw meat and should not be used for anything else. I always start with fresh.
5. Take the racks and spray with aerosol can oil and place the meat on the rack. It is best if they do not touch. Set temperature of the dehydrator to 145 to 150 degrees.
6. The drying time can vary greatly, maybe as short as a couple of hours to twenty four hours. Look at the mea t on a regular basis. The color will turn dark and the meat itself should still be pliable. Do not dry the jerky to the point where it is brittle.
7. Store in sealable freezer bags. When you pull it out from the freezer let stand at room temperature and it will be usable quickly.
Homemade jerky is the best. Better flavor and less costly. Less salt and less sugar than processed from the store jerky. Just remember when you make and dry it, you control what goes in it. Happy food dehydrator jerky making.
Mary Dahlberg has been active with food preparation her whole life. Her mother had a step stool for Mary to be right by her side in the kitchen learning good techniques early on. Her delight to please the palettes of others took Mary into healthcare management of food and nutrition services for over 20 years. Mary and her husband now own Food Tools Plus, an e-commerce site to offer quality food preparation equipment. They carry a range of Home Food Dehydrators to fit the need of anyone.