Food & Entertaining

Delicious Homemade Beef Jerky

Delicious homemade beef jerky

I find that I’m seeing jerky on the grocery store shelves more and more often these days. As far as snacks go, it’s the perfect combination of healthy and tasty… But the good stuff also seems to be outrageously expensive! That’s why my husband and I prefer to make our own (plus we like the idea of using all natural ingredients too).

This recipe will serve as a delicious starting point.  Feel free to experiment and change the ingredients to suit your taste. It’s my husband’s method (adapted and updated from Alton Brown), and trust me, the end result is definitely worth the effort. Even our two year old loves it!

Homemade beef jerky recipe

Total time required:

Prep time: 20 mins
Inactive: 8 hrs
Cooking time: 5 – 8 hrs

What you’ll need:
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak
  • 2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons ancho (or other) chili powder (optional)
  • Several dashes hot sauce such as Franks or Tabasco (optional)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Place the flank steak in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours in order to firm up and make easier to slice. In the meantime, mix together all of the remaining ingredients in a large bowl to create the marinade.

Remove the steak from the freezer and thinly slice the meat against the grain, into long strips.

beef jerky - slicing

Place the strips of meat along with the marinade into a large, 1-gallon plastic zip-top bag and move around to distribute evenly. Put the bag into the refrigerator for 3 to 6 hours.

Place a rack on a tin-foil lined baking or cookie sheet (the foil is there simply for easier clean up and the rack allows for the warm dry air to circulate all around each piece).  Lay the strips of beef on the rack as shown.

beef jerky - ready to go in the oven

Next, put the cookie sheet/rack combo in the oven at its lowest setting (175 – 180 degrees) and let dehydrate to the desired texture (somewhere between 6 – 8 hours).

Getting the texture of the jerky just right requires some judgement. If you dry it too long, the beef will be a bit crumbly.  If you don’t dry it long enough, it’ll be a bit chewy.  Just check periodically.  Since the goal is to remove moisture from the beef in order to preserve it, a convection oven works best.  If using a dehydrator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

When finished, let the jerky cool and place it in a zip-top bag or other sealed container.  It will keep for several weeks at room temperature (store in a cool, dry place).

Yum… snacking perfection!

How did this recipe work out for you? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

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