Homemade Beef Jerky

Homemade beef jerky is like…WOAH! So that’s what jerky is supposed to taste like??

If it looks like jerky…and tastes like jerky…must be jerky.

My labmate, Cheryl, inspired me to make beef jerky last week. Her son recently went vegetarian, and so she’s been working on adapting her Mom’s recipe for veggie substitutes like tofu. Her veggie jerky was so good, I had to make real jerky! Plus, I had some round steak in the freezer that I had no use for. But I imagine that I might start buying round steak more often! Because this jerky is AMAZING.

For this recipe card, I put in the ingredients I used, but there are lots of variations out there. You can also add things like liquid smoke, brown sugar, hot sauce, meat tenderizer, etc…But I found that this recipe was plenty great!

Directions: Plan ahead. You’ll need time to marinate the meat (12-24 hours) and then dry it out (5-6 hours). So, for example, you might set up the marinade Friday night and watch it dehydrate in the oven Saturday during the day.

Cut your round steak into strips. You should cut an an angle against the grain (not along the grain). Keep in mind that as they cook, the width will shrink, so don’t cut them too thin. Put the strips in a freezer bag, and add all of the ingredients from the recipe card to the bag. Close the freezer bag and massage the meat for a minute to make sure all of the spices are mixed well. Then just put the bag in the fridge and you’re done!

After the meat has been marinating for 12-24 hours, it’s time to set up the oven. Before you turn it on, cover the bottom with foil. There will be some drippings during the cooking, and the foil will help you clean up the mess easily. Next, use a non-stick spray on one of the oven racks because you’ll be placing the meat directly on the rack. Now you’re pretty much all set up.

Preheat the oven to ~150-170°F. My oven is perpetually 50°F off of the set temperature, so I’m not exactly sure what temp it was at, but you basically want a low setting. Open the oven and pull out the rack with the non-stick spray so that it’s suspending above the oven door. Put a piece of foil on the open door in case some of the meat falls through as you’re setting it up. Then use tongs to pick up one strip of meat at a time, shake off excess liquid, and spread it across the oven rack.

Jerky jerky jerky

Carefully slide the rack back in the oven once you have all of the meat on the rack. Double check that none of the strips feel on the foil below before closing the oven door.

Once everything is all set up, let the jerky cook for 5-6 hours! I cooked mine for 5.5 hours, and got a great consistency.

SO GOOD! It’s hard to stop eating

This not only makes a good, filling snack, but it’s would be great for a day when you might not have time to stop and eat. (Like if you’re snowboarding or skiing, and you just want to keep going!) It’s also just super easy to make, so it would be a great snack to share in the upcoming holidays!

Enjoy!

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