You can do it – We can help.
Most of us can make cookies better than store-bought, we’ve mastered gourmet popcorn and homemade pizza… So why not make our own beef jerky?
Beef Jerky, the stuff macho cowboys used to pull out of their saddlebag, rip up, and chew lazily before riding into town, has become this generation’s healthy snack sensation.
And, it’s actually incredibly easy to make at home in your oven. But like a lot of things, is seems daunting at first thought… that is, until you know how to do it.
Here’s some key jerky making tips and recipes to get you off to the races, churning out batch after batch of tasty dried meat snacks!
TIP #1: Use the right cut of high quality meat. (We can help)
Quality meat makes for quality jerky results. Our recommendation will always be to use Free Range 100% Grass-Fed Beef for robust beefy flavour, not to mention the barrel of other benefits and attributes of 100% grass-fed beef. There are many cuts of beef that can be used for making beef jerky. However, there are only a few that should be used.
Best Cuts for Jerky
- Inside Round, Outside Round, Eye of Round, Top Sirloin, and Striploin
Of all these are good options, but our recommendation is Inside Round.
This cut of beef will yield nice big slices, give you the right texture and chew, and won’t break the bank. Ask our butcher for beef for making homemade beef jerky, and this is what he will recommend, and happily prepare for you.
TIP #2: Proper Slicing Technique (You got this! But if you want, we can help with this too!)
Slicing the beef just right is the key to getting the tender chew result you want.
This involves wrapping the meat in plastic wrap then placing it in the freezer for 30-40 minutes, or until it’s crusted but not frozen solid. Firming up the meat by freezing first will allow you to get nice even slices when you knife cut it.
A sharp kitchen knife and a cutting board are all you need to do the job. Try long, slow, smooth cuts. If you happen to have a commercial style meat slicer at home, all the better for getting consistent full slices.
With the grain, or against it?
If you slice the meat against the grain, it’s going to give you a more brittle, crumby result, but for sure it’ll be tender! For a more traditional jerky with a good chew and snap, you want to slice the meat with the grain.
Now for thickness
We recommend slicing the meat no more than ¼” thick (0.5 cm). If you like it chewier, slice it thinner. If you like it more tender and moist, go ¼”.
TIP #3: Seasoning
The main and most basic seasoning ingredient is what you might expect: SALT.
If you season with a sea salt and nothing else, you can get a result that is simple but delicious. Add 1-½ tbsp of salt for every point of sliced beef. As you get more experienced, you can develop your own spice blends, but make sure you don’t overdo it. It’s easy to overwhelm the flavour.
There is a load of jerky recipes available on-line, and some are included in the links in this post below. Whatever you decide for ingredients, for best results make sure to marinade your meat for at least 3 hours, or up to 24 hours before dehydrating in the oven.
Definitely some trial and error involved in homemade jerky making – enjoy the journey!