We really enjoy some good jerky around here, especially if we’re traveling or embarking on a special diet (like GAPS or a detox diet). Store-bought jerky is often not an option for us because it’s expensive, made from factory-farmed meat (sometimes…but if not it’s even more expensive!), and can contain sodium nitrite, soy, and sugar. No thanks!
I’ve been making jerky for over 13 years now…and we’ve perfected the way we like it. If you’re used to the sweet, tangy store-bought options, it doesn’t taste like that. Instead, it’s its own kind of delicious. 🙂 And, I promise, it’s easy.
Recipe Collection: How to Make Jerky
- 2.5 lbs. grass-fed beef roast (bottom or top round are nice options)
- Juice of two limes or one lemon
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 – 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp. sea salt
- Water to cover
You’ll need to choose a beef roast for this. Grass-fed is best if you can access/afford it. Choose the least fatty cut you can, because you’ll cut off the fat anyway.
The beef needs to be sliced thinly for best results. You can do it with a sharp knife and patience, but if you have a willing butcher, ask them to slice it for you! Remove as much obvious fat as you can as you slice, because the fat becomes tough and unpleasant (and the jerky can spoil faster).
Step 1: Put the meat in a large bowl or mason jar and add all the marinade ingredients. Add just enough water to cover the meat.
Step 2: Put a cover over the bowl (or lid on the jar) and refrigerate for 6 – 8 hours (overnight is good).
Step 3: Transfer the meat to dehydrator trays or a cooling rack placed on a baking sheet, if you want to use your oven. I use my Excalibur Dehydrator. Lay the strips flat with space in between them.
Step 4: Turn the dehydrator on to 155 (the highest setting) and leave it for 3 – 4 hours, checking until it is completely dry. If using the oven, set to 170.
Step 5: Check the jerky to ensure it’s fully dry. If it’s still squishy, bacteria could grow. If in doubt, leave it awhile longer!
Then, your jerky is done! Store in an air-tight container and eat whenever the mood strikes! Full of protein and very yummy. 🙂
Oh my goodness is that dehydrator expensive! How much food will you need to dehydrate before you recoup the cost?
what an awesome idea! cant wait to try it..
We actually got it for about $180, not as much. I haven't figured out how much we've "gotten out of it" yet. But I figure long-term it'll be worth it because I've already used it several times.
I haven't tried making jerky, but I have dried strawberries to put into oatmeal, candied fruits (mangoes were yummy), and a healthier fruit roll-up. The roll-up was easy – put a bunch of fruit into a blender with a bit of honey. Cover the dehydrator tray with plastic wrap or freezer paper (cut out the hole in the middle), and pour the fruit mixture onto it. Dry until it's hard (should be sticky-feeling), then let cool before removing it from the tray. The humidity in the air will cause it to soften and be a sticky consistency just like the fruit candy it's named after.
If you look at the dehydrator as a mini oven, then it is cheap. You can cook yogurt in it, dry foods, make jerkey, crispy nuts – all at a lower temp than your oven will do it at. Great investment. Susan
Great post! I've made a couple batches in our dehydrator and it took a couple days as mine doesn't have a fan. I learned to cut off the fat after the first batch – yuck! Now, it tastes wonderful. I'm looking forward to trying your marinate recipe. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂
Subbing 😉 This is just what I was looking for. I think jerky is a must if meat is one of the few things you can eat do to other food restrictions/allergies. Happy coincidence that we found each other this evening 🙂 Yay!
Do you keep this in the fridge? I don’t think it would be shelf stable, right?
As long as it is fully dried, thinly sliced, and the fat content is lower, then it should be shelf stable in an air tight container for a month or so. Once opened, then refrigerate or freeze.