Making your own homemade beef jerky is easier than it sounds and well worth it. Store-bought so-called jerky brands have nothing on the natural flavors of homemade jerky. While most pre-packaged jerkies tend to be dry and full of food coloring, preservatives, and other additives, this homemade jerky proves superior in flavor and texture.
For your beef jerky, you can choose to use beef brisket, eye of round, or flank steak. Just make sure that it is a quality piece of meat. This jerky is flavored in a marinade of soy sauce, Worchestershire, garlic, onion, ginger, and Chinese five spice. Be sure to plan ahead to allow your beef slices to marinate overnight as well as allowing for 8 to 12 hours of drying time in the oven or dehydrator. This recipe provides instructions for both drying methods depending on your preference and kitchen equipment.
- 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder*
- 3 pounds lean beef brisket (or eye of round or flank steak)
- Trim your choice of beef completely of fat and cut across grain into slices 1/8 inch thick. To aid in slicing meat thinly, freeze meat until ice crystals are formed. After slicing, set aside.
- Blend soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, ginger, and in a small bowl.
- Dip each piece of meat into marinade, coating well. Place coated slices in shallow dish.
- Pour remaining marinade over top, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Next, follow the instructions for the oven drying method or dehydrator method depending upon your preference.
- Preheat oven to lowest setting (preferably about 110 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Place several layers of paper towels on baking sheets. Arrange meat in single layer on prepared sheets and cover with additional toweling.
- Flatten meat with rolling pin.
- Discard towels and set meat directly on oven racks.
- Allow to dry for 8 to 12 hours (depending on the temperature of the oven) being sure to monitor the jerky and oven.
- Arrange meat on trays in a single layer and dehydrate 10 to 12 hours, depending on thickness, following manufacturer's instructions.
- Once dried, store your homemade jerky in plastic bags or in tightly covered containers in cool, dry area.
*Ingredients Note: Chinese five-spice powder lends an especially delicious and complex flavor to this beef jerky. Though it is used primarily in China, as the name implies, the spice blend is also used in other Asian and Arabic cooking, particularly in Indian cuisines. Though there are variations of the blend, Chinese five-spice powder typically includes star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, fennel seeds, and Sichuan pepper.
Source: Jim Vorheis. Reprinted with permission.