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Homemade jerky is in high demand in my home and after tasting this homemade jerky recipe, I think you will see why storebought jerky is just not good enough.
Once you learn how to make beef jerky with a dehydrator, you will want to make your own jerky from now on.
As long as you cut the jerky slices the same, you can use your food dehydrator to create a plethora of snacks from many different cuts of meat using the same dehydration process.
Lean cuts of beef work best and in my opinion, homemade is so much better than commercial beef jerky.
This homemade jerky recipe can be made with a variety of meats, including venison. If you prefer beef, you can make homemade jerky from flank steak, top round, eye of round, sirloin tip, rump roast, or any lean cut of beef you choose.
If you want, you can even make ground beef jerky as well.
How to Store Homemade Beef Jerky
Homemade jerky is so easy to create and as long as you store it in an airtight container, this snack can be stored at room temperature for quite some time.
That is one of the reasons that homemade beef jerky is one of my favorite snacks to make, it has a long shelf life.
I usually make a lot of jerky strips whenever it’s time to make homemade jerky. Everyone always wants to take some home after they try it, so I store some in a Ziploc bag to give away, and depending on the jerky needs of my recipient, sometimes I fill a large ziplock bag.
For my own jerky needs, I usually store it in a glass container, I prefer to store it in a mason jar. This allows for longer storage and since my family can’t get enough of this delicious beef jerky, I try to stockpile as much as I can.
Once I make the jerky marinade, I cut the many pounds of meat into jerky strips using my jerky slicer, and have all of the wire racks in use, I feel like the hard work is done.
So I make a lot of excess marinade and prepare an extra pound of meat or so. Enough to last a long time. This way I am not tasked with making my own beef jerky on a regular basis.
I learned this lesson the first time I ever made jerky. Most of the jerky was eaten before I even had the dehydrator trays cleaned. If you are using a jerky gun, that is just another reason it is a good idea to make a lot of jerky at once, those things can be a real pain to clean.
Just be sure to store dry jerky in an airtight container for best results.
Tips for Making the Best Beef Jerky with a Dehydrator
When cooking your own jerky, be sure to place thin strips of meat in a single layer when drying.
Important things to keep in mind about the drying process is that the size of your strips will determine the cooking time needed.
The amount of time needed for the perfect beef jerky may vary each time, so be sure to check the jerky for texture towards the end of the cooking time.
Rule of thumb for jerky, 4 pounds of beef will make about one pound of beef jerky.
If you want the end result to be tender jerky, cut the strips of meat against the grain.
If you want a chewier jerky cut the meat strips with the grain.
You can partially freeze the beef before slicing if you have extra time. This will firm up the meat a bit, enough to make it easier to slice. This part is not necessary but it can make a big difference when preparing the jerky slices.
How to Choose the Best Beef for Homemade Jerky
When choosing the meat for your jerky, be sure to select a lean meat without much fat to make the cutting process easier. Always choose the best meat for this recipe, it will make preparing it a million times easier and deliver a delicious finished product.
A lean cut of meat will deliver more usable pieces and cut down on wasted sliced meat that is too grisly for jerky.
When purchasing beef for homemade jerky, go with the cut that looks best, which can be hard since the surface of the meat is all that you can see when buying from the store.
You have no idea how much fat is inside once you get that piece cut open unless you use ground meat.
This will limit the amount of fatty pieces you will need to discard before making homemade jerky but it can be messier to work with ground. Most red meat will have some fat but it will save a lot of waste and time by selecting the best cuts of beef when possible.
Ingredients Needed to Make the Best Beef Jerky
The marinade ingredients consist of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, liquid smoke, brown sugar, and a variety of seasonings.
Mix the marinade ingredients together including the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika, in a medium bowl. I prefer a glass bowl but you can use whichever you prefer.
You can make this flavorful marinade with an addition of meat tenderizer but it is not necessary. When I have a tougher cut of meat, I usually add in this ingredient, along with some pink salt.
Some of the recipes I have come across online include sodium nitrite but I have heard that this can be harmful to your health so I never used it.
I try to keep the beef jerky as simple as possible without sacrificing flavor. I like to use the seasonings needed to create a delicious jerky flavor but sometimes I will add in a few extra seasonings.
One of my favorite ways to switch things up is to make spicy beef jerky.
You can find my favorite ways to make this happen by checking out the Variations on this Recipe section.
How to Make Homemade Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator
Using a sharp knife, cut strips of meat and remove the fat cap. Blot out excess moisture from meat with a paper towel before marinating.
place the raw meat between two pieces of plastic wrap and then pound to 1/8-inch thickness.
Arrange the beef strips in a 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Pour marinade into the glass baking dish. Make sure all of the meat has marinade on it, and move around the pieces to ensure good coverage.
In a pinch, you can use baking sheets to marinate.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and marinate the jerky by leaving it in the refrigerator overnight.
If you decide to make thick slices, you will need to add a little bit more time to the cooking process to make sure the beef reaches a safe internal temperature.
You can cut into long strips or short, whichever will fit in your dehydrator or whichever you prefer.
If you prefer, you can preheat your dehydrator or place the strips right into it, depending on the type you have.
Be sure to lay the beef strips in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. Dry at the dehydrator’s highest setting until the jerky is done to your liking, this should take about 4 hours.
I usually check the jerky every so often to see if it is done earlier, the drying time will depend on the thickness of your beef strips as well as the type of dehydrator you use.
Be sure to check my list for the best dehydrators for making jerky. If you are using an air fryer, you may need to dehydrate jerky by setting it to the lowest temperature possible, also depending on which type you have.
If using an air fryer, the low-temperature setting should be about 210 degrees for the best jerky. Be sure meat is stored in a cool dry place.
Head down to the recipe card to see the simple ingredients and if this is your first time making jerky, check out my tips for success above.
Variations on this Recipe
If you like really spicy beef jerky, try adding in a ghost pepper powder. This ingredient alone will transform this simple beef jerky recipe and it’s sure to leave a tingle in your mouth. Keep in mind that the ghost pepper ranks around 1,041,427 Scoville Heat Units, so this may not be for everyone.
If you would like to add a little spice without the commitment of a hot pepper like ghost pepper, you may want to try chili powder. Sprinkle some of this powder on your beef jerky or add to your marinade for a delicious kick to your taste buds.
For those of us with a garden full of peppers, a great way to add spice to beef jerky is to make your own powder. My husband loves the flavor that ghost peppers and habaneros when they are mixed together.
He pulls these peppers off of the plant and then dehydrates them, then makes a powder by grinding the dehydrated peppers. He uses this powder for pizza, chili, and so many dishes that he wants to add a lot of spice without much effort.
Best Dehydrator for Jerky
If you don’t already have a dehydrator or are looking to upgrade, these are some of the best models for making homemade bee jerky.
These are a great investment because once you learn how to make beef jerky with a dehydrator, you will want to do it again and again.
This large capacity dehydrator is perfect for jerky and it is equipped with a LED smart panel to make operation easy. Thanks to the ten trays, you can make a lot of jerky at once and they are dishwasher safe for easier cleanup.
The only downside in my opinion is the oven door window isn’t as easy to see through as some of the other models.
If keeping an eye on your jerky is important, you will love this food dehydrator. It offers a large viewing area for the entire cooking process. You can dehydrate fruits, meat products, vegetables, and flowers for a very reasonable price.
This machine has 8 trays and is on sale as I am posting this, head over to this listing on Amazon to see what price it is today!
I love the look of this food dehydrator, it’s stainless steel and offers 8 trays for making beef jerky, and is equipped with easy-to-use temperature control.
If you want to save money and still get one of the best dehydrators for jerky without all of the bells and whistles, this dehydrator is perfect for jerky and is less than $50.
More of the Best Dehydrator Recipes
Make use of that dehydrator with some of these delicious dehydrator recipes. Enjoy a healthy version of chips with this simple recipe that is perfect for the Fall. This 30-minute apple chips recipe is so easy and delicious!
During the Summer when I have a lot of zucchini to go around, I like to make these Crispy Dehydrated Zucchini Chips. They are the perfect snack to have with lunch or whenever you want a healthy yet satisfying version of the classic potato chip.
Another great way to use your dehydrator is to make your own lunch meat. You can make a healthy version of lunchmeat at home that is free of all of those additives and preservatives that make the storebought version so unhealthy. Learn to Make the Healthiest Lunch Meat here.
If you have an air fryer but don’t quite know how to use it as a dehydrator, you are in luck. This post shares How to Use an Air Fryer as a Dehydrator and shares 9 of the best recipes.
I hope you enjoyed this post sharing how to make beef jerky with a dehydrator. If you tried this recipe be sure to leave a comment below letting me know your thoughts.
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- 2 lbs of meat, cut into strips
- 1/4 cup of soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of ground paprika
Mix the marinade ingredients together including the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika, in a medium bowl.
Using a sharp knife, cut strips of meat and remove the fat cap. Place the meat between two pieces of plastic wrap and then pound to 1/8-inch thickness. Blot out excess moisture from meat with a paper towel before marinating.
Arrange the beef strips in a 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Pour marinade into the glass baking dish. Store overnight in a covered container in a refigerator.
Lay the beef strips in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. Dry at the dehydrator’s highest setting until the jerky is done to your liking, this should take about 4 hours. '
Store in an airtight container.