Making Jerky At Home
By Bethany Booth
This near weightless and protein filled snack is perfect for backpacking, biking and so many other summer activities. Too many people don’t know that they can make it at home in an ordinary oven. The steps are simple and, with the right marinade, can create an outstanding summer snack.
Where’s the beef?
The best beef cuts for jerky are London broil, brisket, eye of round or flank steak but you can use any thinly sliced beef. There are even ways to make jerky out of ground beef.
Beef is the most popular, but any firm meat can be made into jerky. Other good meat choices are: turkey breast, venison, and salmon.
Slice it up!
Ask your butcher to slice the meat thin (about 1/8 an inch and no thicker than 1/4 inch). If you are slicing the meat yourself be sure it is semi-frozen. This will make the job much easier.
Spice it up!
Mix up your choice of marinade and immerse the strips of meat. Always refrigerate any raw meat while it marinates. Turkey or fish will only need a few hours. Tougher meats, such as beef or venison will be best if left to marinate over night. For helpful marinating tips see the article Marinade Aid.
Drain and dry!
Drain meat and pat dry with paper towels (you want the meat as dry as possible). At this point it is a good idea to add a dry spice rub or just some simple black pepper depending on the flavor of jerky you desire.
Place aluminum foil in the bottom of the oven – for easy cleanup. Preheat oven at lowest setting, about 110 degrees F. Place meat directly on oven racks. You can also try hanging meat from your oven rack using round toothpicks. Allow jerky to bake for 8-12 hours.
That’s all there is to it. Here is a basic but tasty jerky marinade but don’t be afraid to get creative and test out different flavors and spices such as red hot peppers, Cajun spices, sesame seeds, garlic powder…whatever you like.
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons liquid smoke flavoring
2 tablespoons steak seasoning (or other spices of your choosing)
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