Beef jerky is something that’s so amazingly simple yet kind of intimidating to make. You cut up raw meat, lay it flat to dry (on a dehydrator but still), then eat it. Though “raw,” it is safe, delicious, and most of all healthy. This concept might never become NOT weird to me, but I’ve wholeheartedly embraced it. I’ve made a few different marinades, some have come out greater than others (there was a spice rub disaster of a few years ago…bleh), but my favorite is with using my Worcestershire sauce as a base for the marinade. Its tangy, chewy, flavorful, a little sweet, a little spicy, and so so satisfying. I eye each batch and will adjust the amount of liquid to the amount of meat (you want to make sure that it’s sitting in a fair amount of liquid so it can absorb it) and will adjust the amount of hot pepper depending on who the batch is for.
I’ve used tons of different cuts of meat but haven’t truthfully found one that’s better than another. I usually go with what’s on sale at the grocery store and trim the fat and chop at home. I’ve bought shaved steak before and its been a little too thin and has come out a tad try, so I’d stick with buying a big hunk of meat. By the time it finishes marinating, the meat is nice and tender and full of flavor.
3 pounds of beef
1 ½ cups of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 teaspoon mustard
2 teaspoons chili powder
fresh ground pepper
sprinkle of salt
Slice beef into small pieces and set aside. I usually cut them the length and width of my pinky finger, sometimes longer, but it makes a great bite size. In a bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined.
In a sealable container or in a large bowl, combine the beef and the marinade and stir until the meat is covered. Cover and put in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. If you have a chance after the 4 hours, mix the beef to make sure every piece is covered and put back into refrigerator. After the beef has sat at least 8 hours (I let mine go overnight or for a whole day), drain in a colander to get rid of excess liquid.
Set up the food dehydrator (mine was set to 140 degrees) and place the beef on, piece by piece, and try to not let any touch. Once all of the beef is placed on trays, turn the dehydrator on and let sit for 4-8 hours, depending how thick the beef is. You’ll know when its done when its become hard and no longer pliable when pressed between your fingers. If you don’t dehydrate long enough, the beef will mold when stored.
Take beef off of trays and enjoy!