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How to Make Beef Jerky

Wondering to make beef jerky for a party or just for a change? Here is a thorough guide on how to do so.
Kanika Khara Nov 24, 2018
Jerky is dried, long thin strips of meat, commonly beef but can also be prepared from elk, buffalo, moose, caribou, fish, or deer. The traditional method of drying is under the sun, which is probably one of the oldest methods of preserving food.
In earlier days, the meat used to be dried over a small fire or under the sun after being soaked in brine―a mixture of salt and water. However, nowadays there are different sophisticated ways of drying meat like in an oven, a smoker, or a dehydrator.

Oven Style

  • 2 pounds lean beef (chuck or round)
  • Seasonings of your choice like olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar sea salt
First, remove the meat fat as it may spoil the jerky fast and slice the meat into very thin strips. To make the cutting easier, you can freeze the meat 4-5 hours before slicing. Marinade the meat strips with your favorite seasonings and refrigerate for 10-24 hours so that the meat absorbs the flavor.
Preheat the oven to 150 °F or 65 °C. The intention behind heating is not to cook the meat but to dehydrate it. Now keep the prepared meat on a wire rack and heat it in the oven for about 4-6 hours or until it is not raw from inside.

In a Smoker

  • 2 pounds lean beef (chuck or round)
  • Seasonings like olive oil, Worcestershire sauces, vinegar sea salt
Start by removing the meat fat and slice the meat into very thin or ¼-inch slices. You can freeze the meat for 4-5 hours before slicing to make the cutting easier. Marinade the meat slices with different spices or marinades that appeal your taste or simply season them with salt and pepper.
For smoking, you will need low temperature and a little smoke. Ideally, the temperature should be below 150 °F and if you are using an electric smoker, you'll require very less smoke. But if you are smoking over a charcoal or hardwood fire, you will require plenty of smoke.
To dry the jerky completely, it may take 12-72 hours depending upon the climate as well. However, the meat can absorb the smoke flavor in about 3-4 hours and hence if time is a consideration, you can take the jerky out of the smoker and complete the rest of the process in a food dehydrator or an oven.

Beef Jerky with Ground Beef

  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, onion powder, garlic powder, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, and salt. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until well-chilled.
Using a spoon, place the ground beef mixture between pieces of plastic wrap. With the help of a rolling pin, flatten the mixture into rounds less than ⅛-inch thick. Now, place the meat rounds on the cookie sheet and cook in an oven at 150 °F for 3-4 hours or until it is cooked from inside.