Tuesday, January 01, 2008

How to Make Beef Jerky

I don't know of anyone who is more crazy about beef jerky than me. I LOVE beef jerky--especially the hot and spicy variety (Damn Good Jerky and Enjoy Beef Jerky makes great ones). But I'll eat any flavor so long as it is jerky. Turkey, salmon , venison jerky, whatever!

So this past Christmas, my husband's parents bought me a food dehydrator, jerky gun, and seasoning so I can make my own jerky. (I will also use it to dehydrate fruit, fresh herbs, and make fruit rollups!)To make beef jerky, you need meat. I picked up a 2.5 lb. pack of eye of round roast (top round works too) at the grocery store and had it sliced 1/4" in. thick (if possible, have it sliced with the grain).
Wash and paper towel dry the meat and lay the slices out on parchment paper (wax paper works too) as close to each other as possible so as to not waste the seasoning.

For the seasoning, I used the Hi Mountain Original Blend (they also have other flavors on their website) which comes with the seasoning and cure. Mix the seasoning and cure according to the directions and sprinkled on one side of the beef slices, flip them over and sprinkle over the other side.
Stack the slices and wrap tightly with plastic wrap (you could use an airtight plastic container or Ziploc bag) then put in the refrigerator to cure for 24 hours (or longer if the slices are thicker to give time for the cure and seasoning to penetrate the meat).
When the beef is done curing, it will turn brown. Lay the slices on the dehydrator trays, giving them room for the air to circulate around.

Set the dehydrator to the recommended temperature setting (I set mine to 165° F) and in 2 1/2 hours and my jerky was done! The time needed to dry the jerky depends on how thick the cut is and your dehydrator. You'll just have to check the jerky from time to time during the drying process. The jerky will get brittle and crumble to the bite if it has dried too long. I think it is just right when the slices are completely dry but still somewhat flexible. (I think it's funny how the meat turns reddish again from being brown; like dead meat coming alive!)
You may want to put them on paper towels to soak up the sweating and oil and to cool off before storing in a plastic bag (which helps keep the flavor in and the jerky from drying out).

YUM! I think homemade jerky always tests better than the store bought kind if done right. It tastes fresher without the plastic packaging taste. Besides the sodium, jerky is a great snack. High in protein, stores well, and portable so I can take on camping trips or carry in my bag for when I need a snack to tie me over until the next meal.

I'm excited about digging up the frozen meat in my freezer to grind up and make jerky using the jerky gun. I feel like Tom Hanks in the movie, Castaway, when he started a fire but instead of crying out "fire", I'll be bellowing, "JERKY!"...LOL.


Corrin said...

how weird that it turns brown and back to red! looks yummy though.

Annejelynn said...

what a fabulous gift idea for you!?! perfect!~ I wanna taste some of the finished product!!!