How to make Beef & Chicken Jerky at home without a Dehydrator. Homemade Dried Beef Jerky Recipe.
Homemade beef jerky recipe.
Making beef or chicken jerky at home without the need for expensive dehydrators is simple. This homemade recipe omits the need for artificial ingredients and additives, which in factory produced jerky is added in abundance.
Once prepared, the meat jerky can last for up to six months. This makes for healthy snacks at all times and is ideal for taking on camping trips or hikes as a valuable source of protein.
Choosing the meat.
For making beef jerky at home. depending on individual taste. most meat cuts can be used. Using high quality steaks such as sirloin, will usually produce similar results to cheaper cuts. The least fatty the meat, the quicker it will procure and would be of a better flavour.
Trim the Fat
The fat whilst cooking in an oven, helps keep the meat moist. Creating beef jerky does not require cooking or moisture. Remove as much of the fat as possible. Beef jerky is beef which has had the moisture removed, not cooked.
If a lot of fat is left on the meat, the jerky will not last as long, will take longer to procure, and will taste greasy.
Freeze the Meat.
Freezing the chosen cut of meat aids with the slicing process. The thinner the cut strips, the quicker it will be dehydrated.
By freezing for approximately 20-30 minutes, it will allow the meat to be cut more easily into the required thickness.
Attempting to cut the meat whilst fresh, will result in thicker and uneven slices, taking a considerably longer time to dehydrate.
Slice The Meat
For a tender beef or chicken jerky the thickness of the meat tends to be approximately 3mm to 7mm.
Cut across the grain of the meat. This reduces the chewiness of the finished product. Slice the meat as if carving a joint for a meal.
Simple beef jerky recipes only include adding salt, pepper and some BBQ sauce. The marinade is down to individual taste.
Mix the sliced meat into a marinade, either in a bowl or a sealable bag and allow to marinate overnight or at least for several hours.
For simplicity, add 1 part BBQ sauce to 2 parts water, salt and pepper for a quick tasty flavouring.
Rack The Meat
Gently remove the meat from the marinade. Shake the individual strips to allow excess marinade to fall off, but do not scrape or rub off the marinade.
Place meat strips onto cooking grates or grill racks. Do not put in oven tins, these only help keep in the moisture.
Cooking / Dehydration
The meat is not to be cooked, but is to have all the moisture removed from it.
Line the base of the oven with oven foil to help collect all the drips from the marinade. This will save a lot of cleaning later.
Preheat the oven to 140 - 170 (f) degrees, or at least to the lowest setting possible. The low heat will evaporate the water content within the meat.
Once the racks of meat are ready and the oven is on, place the racks in the oven.
DO NOT SHUT THE OVEN DOOR.
By using any implement ensure the oven door does not close. This will allow the evaporated moisture from the meat to escape. This also prevents the meat from being cooked.
Using a dehydrator allows this process to be quicker.
The dehydration time in the oven depends upon the thickness of the meat as well as the type of oven being used, and can take between 5 - 8 hours.
After 2 hours, turn the meat over.
After dehydrating the meat for 2 hours on each side, test for flexibility.
Take a piece of home made beef jerky and allow it to cool for approximately 15 minutes.
After this time if it feels juicy or bends to easily, then it needs more time in the oven.
If the meat starts to stretch or rips like fibres, then it is nearly ready.
Warm jerky straight from the oven will easily bend so it does need to be cooled prior to testing.
Harvesting your Jerky
If after allowing all your meat to cool, it is decided that it is not dehydrated enough, then simply pop back into the oven.
Once the beef jerky is ready, allow to cool off for 24 hours at room temperature. After the jerky has cooled down, package away in airtight containers or jars.
The beef jerky can be kept on shelves in containers, but some people prefer to keep it refrigerated.