Homemade beef jerky requires so much salt you'll hesitate about how much salt you're about to use to make it. Don't worry. It's the right amount. It's also the only preservative going into your jerky, unlike gas station beef jerky, which is dehydrated with chemicals not found in nature. Beef jerky isn't hard to make at home as long as you have patience, an oven, and a good knife to get thin slices—a quarter-inch thin, ideally—of beef round. Maurer uses a cimeter knife in his shop, but any sharpened chef's knife will do, as will asking your local butcher to throw the cut on the deli slicer.
Once you've sliced, marinated, and dehydrated the beef, the finished jerky should be dark maroon—not gray—and it shouldn't be floppy. Then, you'll have a perfectly chewy, spicy stash of jerky with a mustard-seed kick to last you until, well, you run out and do it all over again. And trust us, you will. You could place the meat directly on top of your oven racks, but you do have to make sure those are already clean. Plus by using wire baking racks, you can easily rotate the racks during the drying process in case your oven has any hot spots. After you place the meat slices on the wire baking racks, pat them dry again with paper towels.
Line the bottom of your oven with foil to make clean up MUCH easier. This is a step my husband always seems to forget — grumble, grumble. You can also place the wire baking racks directly in a large baking sheet. But I think the air circulates better through the meat by placing the wire racks directly in the oven.
The BEST Beef Jerky
Although I say to dry the meat in the oven for hours, it is not a simple formula when making oven beef jerky. You know the beef jerky is done when it is no longer moist to the touch and does not bend without cracking. If the jerky breaks immediately when you try to bend it, then you over dried your jerky.
We are always checking the status of the jerky during the drying process. We do this about 4 times until the jerky is completely done.
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Remember, the total drying time depends on how large your jerky pieces are. Some of the smaller and thinner pieces dry first, so I remove them from oven before the larger pieces. If all of the pieces of meat are the same size, they should dry out at the same time. Typically homemade beef jerky should last months. But it does depend on a few factors. The amount of fat and moisture in your beef jerky affects spoilage, so make sure your oven beef jerky is trimmed of all visible fat and is completely dry.
How to Choose the Best Meat for Jerky
Oxygen is also a factor in the shelf life of beef jerky. Store your cooled oven beef jerky in air tight containers. You can add food grade oxygen absorbers in the container with the beef jerky. This helps prevent bacteria growth. You can also use vacuum sealers to store your homemade oven beef jerky.
We store our beef jerky in resealable bags with a paper towel in it inside our pantry. You know your beef jerky has gone bad as it has darkened in color, hardened and changed in smell. Beef jerky is fabulous source of protein and great a snack option for those on a low carb or keto diet. My husband and boys take beef jerky on camping trips and hikes as they are a great way to keep their energy up, besides the usual trail mix. Beef jerky is also a popular protein choice for backpackers.
Best Homemade Oven Beef Jerky
Backpackers choose foods that are light in weight, first and foremost. This is where meat jerky excels. My husband adds beef jerky to packages of store bought beef stroganoff while on backpacking trips. The Boy Scouts also add pieces of beef jerky to soup and ramen packages they cook up while on these trips. If you like black pepper, sprinkle some ground black pepper over your beef strips before you place them in the oven to dry out.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases. Your email address will not be published. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Seriously the best recipe! I make it about once a month for my family. Venison jerky made with this recipe is amazing! This was great!
So, I had to make some changes to this. Made kangaroo jerky and tastes awesome! Thank you for sharing this treasure! Super yummy! Also, I marinate it over night, then freeze it, thaw it and then dehydrate. Freezing it causes crystals to form and breaks down the meat a bit, making it more tender. I made this today.
I added more coarse ground pepper since my family loves it spicy. It is the best jerky any of us have tasted. Yup, way better than store bought. The fresh ground pepper tasted superb along with the combination of ingredients. Great texture and flavor.
Freakin' Amazing Beef Jerky
I would recommend this recipe as it is extremely easy to make and comes out perfect. So I got a dehydrator for Christmas and this was the first recipe I used to make jerky. Afterall, it said it was the best. Now that I have tried several other recipes including this one I have to agree this is right up there with best! Kudos to Aunt Chris and to you Ali for sharing it, its truly delicious. Made this! Came out awesome! Thank you for sharing! My girlfriend and I had been pining for a dehydrator specifically to make Jerky, and here we are following your recipe!
I misread your recipe and used two tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper. It was awesome! This is a great recipe that produces delicious jerky. So good! Everyone loved it last time I made it! I also love that there is no sugar in the recipe! Absolutely delicious! My daughter requested that I make beef jerky so I found your recipe online. It looked amazing so I immediately went out to Costco and purchased flank steak.
I ran out last night to get more flank steak and started marinating right away. I am baking this new batch as I write. My daughter will be coming home from university tonight so this has to be done by then. My favorite thing in life is time spent around the table. And all the better with some seriously tasty food to bring us all together.
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I recommend popping the steak in the freezer for minutes before slicing so that it is easier to cut. Or the butchers working behind the meat counters at most grocery stores will also do this for you if you ask. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until combined. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day. With my dehydrator, that meant cooking the jerky on medium heat for about 8 hours. Refrigerate for up to 1 month. Adjust the racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line two large baking sheets with aluminum foil, and place wire cooling racks on top of each sheet.