The Ultimate Guide to Making Beef Jerky at Home
I grew up listening to my Papaw's stories at our family butcher shop, and came to develop a great understanding and appreciation on different methods for preparing meat. This grew into my passion for making beef jerky at home.
In this guide I am going to share everything I've learned over the years on how to make jerky.
Choosing the right cut of beef for jerky
When it comes to choosing meat for beef jerky, the most important thing to keep in mind is a low fat content.
The leaner the beef, the better your end result will be because extra fat makes the jerky more prone to spoiling.
Marinade vs. Dry Rubs
When you're making beef jerky, seasoning for your jerky is what gives it that delicious, mouth watering flavor.
Yes. Dehydrated beef jerky can be mouth watering if prepared properly!
There are really two primary options when it comes to seasoning: marinades and dry rubs.
Should you cure beef when making jerky?
You also want to consider whether you would like to cure your meat, and what your preferred method is. Straight up: Many different home jerky makers will argue on whether or not this step is actually needed. I'll leave that up to you. Try both ways!
Curing is the process of adding a salt, sugar, and sodium nitrite mixture to the meat to prevent bacteria such as botulism from forming.
Botulism thrives in low-oxygen, low-heat environments. If you are going to use smoke or temperatures below 140° F to dry your meat, you should use a cure to keep bacteria from forming.
However, if you're using a higher temperature either in the oven or in an automatic dehydrator, you can get away with not using a cure.
When in doubt, always opt for the cure for safety. Nothing ruins a good batch of jerky like a case of botulism.
Now that your meat is properly seasoned and cured, you're ready to cook!
It is possible to cook jerky using a smoker if you have one, but for those of us without, you can choose to cook your jerky in the oven or use a beef jerky dehydrator.
No matter the method you choose, your jerky should be monitored throughout the process to prevent over-drying or burning.
However you choose to dry your meat, remember that no recipe is exact in its cook time.
Every oven and dehydrator varies slightly, so you'll want to check on your meat every 30-60 minutes starting 2/3 through the cook time (at 2 hours if the recipe says 3 hours total).
This will prevent you from cooking or drying the meat too much. Make sure to turn the meat over throughout the process as well, for a more even result.
Making Beef Jerky can be easy and delicious
After reading this guide, do you feel ready to start making beef jerky at home?
These are all of the tricks of the trade I've picked up over the years, and they should be all you need to get started.
If you've enjoyed this guide on how to make beef jerky, please share it with your friends who are looking into the jerky world. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below. Thanks for reading!