What exactly is it about Beef Jerky that is so addicting and tasty? And why in the world is it so ridiculously expensive? On average, a 3 oz. bag can run you at least $4.00 and lasts what, 2 minutes? This is the reason why we have made the executive decision to make our own beef jerky at home with our own ingredients! And lo and behold, our proposal won the hearts of the people at Foodbuzz, as we are one of the 24 bloggers chosen to be a part of Foodbuzz 24×24 this month. We are here to make a public service to all of you by sharing the simple steps to create your own jerky at home without investing in an expensive dehydrator. Instead, you will be using what you already have at home – an oven! *gasp* Once you get the hang of it, you will never buy overpriced beef jerky ever again!
There are essentially 5 easy steps to making your own beef jerky: 1) Pick your cut of meat. 2) Slice your meat. 3) Marinate with desired flavors. 4) Dehydrate in the oven. 5) Enjoy the homemade beef jerky. Okay, maybe it’s only 4 steps, but I wanted to make sure it’s eaten, too! For this post, we used 3 different cuts of beef (sirloin, top round, and flank), 6 different marinades (cayenne habanero, hamburger, honey bbq, spicy beer, hawaiian, and lemongrass & chili), 2 different methods of dehydrating (oven and smoker), and finally, for 1 special reason…
That special reason is that we wanted to commemorate Memorial Day and honor all of the lost soldiers that have fought for our country. We thought it would be nice to package some of our Homemade Beef Jerky and send it to our troops to say ‘Thanks’ for all their dedication and sacrifice. We are all too lucky to be where we are right now and may take the simple joys for granted. Let’s bring some smiles to our troops, shall we?
This is the top round meat that we used. The slices can be anywhere from 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch, depending on preference.
This is the flank steak, which in our opinion, created the best tasting jerky we've had! It is a fattier meat so it's much more moist. Keep in mind that fatty meats do not last as long, so you have to eat the jerky within 2 weeks or it will spoil. So typically it's best to use lean cuts of meat because it preserves longer. You can also trim off excess fat.
When we finally finished slicing all the meat, we yielded about 3.5 lbs. of top round, 3 lbs. of sirloin, and 1.5 lbs. of flank.
We flooded our kitchen island with ingredients to prep the 6 different marinades - everything from honey to Corona Beer!
And even fresh lemon grass from our garden!
We added an assortment of meat into each bag of marinade. This one here is the Cayenne Habanero flavor. Ingredients include: 1 cup All-Spice Cayenne Habanero Sauce, 1 bottle of Alaskan Amber Ale Beer, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 cup ketchup. Results? You get a buffalo-style flavor from this marinade, which has a subtle vinegar taste.
This flavor is inspired by the ingredients we use when we make hamburgers! Ingredients are: 1 oz. package of Onion Soup mix, 1 cup water, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp crushed red chili flakes, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 tsp anchovy paste. Results? Definitely can taste the onion flavor on the beef jerky, so it was interesting and tasty!
This is the Honey BBQ flavor, which is my FAVORITE! We combined 1/3 cup honey, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup butter, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 mashed garlic clove, and 1 tsp chili powder. This marinade actually has to simmer on the stove for about 5 minutes to let the butter melt and flavors incorporate. Then you can add 1 lb or 1.5 lb of meat to this mixture. It's my favorite flavor because it's sweet and has a nice BBQ taste.
This one is kind of similar to the Cayenne Habanero, but I think it tastes better. This recipe calls for 1 bottle of Corona beer, 3 Serrano peppers thinly sliced, 1 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup light soy sauce, and 1 tsp cracked pepper. The flavor of the beer is definitely noticeable when you bite into the jerky, with a mild hint of spiciness in the background. Yum!
This Hawaiian Jerky recipe is courtesy of Meal-Master. Ingredients include: 1/4 cup pineapple juice, 1/4 cup light soy sauce, 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp salt. We also added some pineapple chunks, too. Results? Not bad! The fruity pineapple flavor mellows out the saltiness.
And finally, our last marinade is definitely Vietnamese-inspired. This Lemongrass & Chili Beef Jerky recipe is courtesy of Viet World Kitchen. This recipe includes: 8 chopped Thai chilies, 1/3 cup minced lemongrass, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2.5 tbsp fish sauce and 3 tbsp soy sauce. We also added 2 tsp of curry powder to give this jerky that yellow glow. The flavors of the lemongrass, chilies, and curry blend well together. We didn't expect this one to be spicy, but it definitely has a kick of heat!
It's best to marinate in the fridge overnight, but if you are pressed for time, try to marinate at least 4-6 hours.
After marination, remove the meat and lay it out on a rack. Since we had nearly 8 lbs. of meat, we had to maximize space by using our oven racks!
The meat goes into an oven at 200-degrees Fahrenheit and dehydrates in there for 3-4 hours, depending on the thickness of your meat. We kept it in there for 4 hours.
Outside in the backyard, we also got our smoker going so that we can get a nice smoky flavor to some of the meat. We used mesquite wood chips and kept the meat in the smoker at 200-degrees for about 3-4 hours. If the pieces are small and thin, it should be done in 3 hours. Keeping it in too long will dry out the meat and it will be unpleasant to chew.
After countless hours of patiently waiting, you end up with a box of beef jerky that is made from scratch! This is not only a great snack to have in the house, but it's perfect to share with family and friends.
We packaged up several different bags of jerky and tied it in red and blue ribbons. How patriotic, huh? I think our soldiers will really enjoy this care package from yours truly at The Food Addicts!
Even though we made an abundance of beef jerky to share, we made sure that we still had some for ourselves to enjoy for the upcoming weeks. It's such a treat to have a snack full of protein and flavor when you're on-the-go or need a little pick-me-up throughout the day. It just takes a little bit of patience and imagination to create delicious strips of beef jerky in infinite flavors! You'll end up having a favorite marinade that you will use over and over again. And guess what? You've also saved yourself a grip load of money from buying it at the store! We hope this post has been helpful to you in making your own homemade beef jerky! Have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend and remember to appreciate what this holiday is all about.