How to make Beef Jerky

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Joined Apr 30, 2018
Hey all. My first post here. Excited to be part of an educated cooking community.

Anywho, beef jerky! I'm looking start experimenting, but I'd like some input from people who've made a go at it. What cuts you've used, seasonings, cooking methods and the like.

How does marbling play in the dehydration process? Does the raw tenderness of the cut make a difference on the first finished product?

Excited to here from you!
 
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Joined Mar 21, 2008
Leaner the better, fat = rancidity. Make sure you use a cure to prevent botulism.

Top round makes a good jerky, as does top sirloin. Trim out tendon as much as possible and trim off the fat. Cut across the grain for tender bits, with the grain will be chewier...

I use cure, salt, black pepper on mine so the flavor of the meat shines through!
 
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Joined Apr 11, 2018
I use cure, salt, black pepper on mine so the flavor of the meat shines through!

There ya go; I love that. Seems like most every commercial brand these days is so slathered in seasoning that the only thing you can't taste is the meat. Not to mention the chemical tenderizers... And liquid smoke, bleh. Might as well be strips of Soylent Green hidden under all that stuff for all anyone can tell...

For me it's salt, pepper, and natural smoke (typically mesquite). +1 on slicing against the grain.
 
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Joined Apr 30, 2018
I'd love to use brisket flat, or even sirloin flap. Great beef flavors using just salt and pepper, but you think the fat contents of those meats would render it unusable?
 
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Joined Oct 25, 2017
My family (Wife and 9-yo daughter) prefer I use a finely ground meat instead of sliced. Even a mixture of meats (beef, veal, venison. (no pork!)) is preferred. Like everyone else said... Salt, black Pepper, and a small amount of liquid smoke...
 

pete

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This is one of the few times that fat and marbling are your enemy. I usually use either top or bottom round. Plenty of solid muscles with little inner fat. Perfect for jerky, IMO. I know many jerky products that use "ground" meat, and many jerky kits sold in stores are meant for ground meat, but I am not a fan of ground meat jerky. I just don't like the texture. I am also all for cutting with the grain when making jerky. It's a personal thing, but I love the chewiness and the long tears that you get when you make it with meat cut with the grain, but that is up to you. I do jerky in my dehydrator. I usually marinate overnight, smoke the meat at a low temperature and then finish it in the dehydrator for 8-12 hours. I like a lot of different flavors, but I agree, that the beef should be first and foremost with all the other flavors playing backup.
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2011
I’m going to add to this as it seems better than starting a new thread. I just got into an argument with a friend because he insists that “three jerks filet mignonbeef jerky is the best ever. I tried to explain what that tenderloin was not a good cut to choose for price/flavor/fat overall, all i got was pushback. I’m stunned.
 
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Joined Apr 30, 2018
I’m going to add to this as it seems better than starting a new thread. I just got into an argument with a friend because he insists that “three jerks filet mignonbeef jerky is the best ever. I tried to explain what that tenderloin was not a good cut to choose for price/flavor/fat overall, all i got was pushback. I’m stunned.


I wonder if filet would be a good jerky cut? Forget price. Has anyone had it before?
 
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Joined Apr 30, 2018
Dehydrating at 110F as opposed to 180F shouldn't have an affect on the final products texture, right? Dry is dry? Or does slower, longer drying times have a dry aging affect where enzymes are breaking down the tissue?
 
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Joined Mar 21, 2008
Dehydrating at 110F as opposed to 180F shouldn't have an affect on the final products texture, right? Dry is dry? Or does slower, longer drying times have a dry aging affect where enzymes are breaking down the tissue?


Shouldn't matter as long as you use a curing salt... if no cure salt you need to cook it at 165 minimum to prevent bacterial growth.
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2011
P Pojowoof Filet is pretty lean for such a tender cut, but my point was that it is a horrendous waste of money. Filet is the most tender and most expensive of all the cuts. it is best served seared to a med-rare. While it is possible to make jerky from it, the filet is very low in beef flavor and the drying process will eliminate the benefit of its tenderness. So, in essence you will be paying 5 times the price for something that has less flavor than if you used beef round and texture would be the same.
 
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Joined Apr 30, 2018
P Pojowoof Filet is pretty lean for such a tender cut, but my point was that it is a horrendous waste of money. Filet is the most tender and most expensive of all the cuts. it is best served seared to a med-rare. While it is possible to make jerky from it, the filet is very low in beef flavor and the drying process will eliminate the benefit of its tenderness. So, in essence you will be paying 5 times the price for something that has less flavor than if you used beef round and texture would be the same.


Ah, I see. So tenderness of the meat has no play when it's dried out. It's just about the flavor the meat provides. Thanks
 
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Joined Jan 17, 2015
Ive made a lot of jerky "a lot of jerky!"! I use Top or Bottom round roast sliced very thin. My dehydrator will hold a 4lb roast.
I put the meat into a plastic sandwich bag "the really large ones" I make different styles but a good one is: mix in "Tony Chachere Cajun spice until all the meat has spice on it then I take and just pour in some honey.

Because I slice mine almost thin enough to see through its done in like 5 hours on 160 degrees. We eat mine so quick if theres a little moisture left it dosent have a chance to get that white fuzzy growth on it. I keep mine in the fridge now after a mold issue on a batch 2 years ago I made during the summers high hoomidity but I ate it anyway and didn't die! "lol" tasted fine.
Flank steak works pretty well to if its on sale but it has a different texture when done, not a bad texture just different.
Oh...ive always wanted to do a salmon jerky with maple syrup but haven't gotten around to it yet. I think one of those farm raised hunks of salmon would be a good cut to try.
 
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Joined May 28, 2018
I'm a little late to the party.
Any type of lean beef will work, but for ease, leanness, and economy, I highly recommend whole eye of round (they avg. 6 to 7 lbs ea) or ask your butcher to cut you off a thick piece of top round (aka inside round), both very lean and are single muscle (no internal connective tissue to deal with).

Remove any external fat. Place meat in freezer 20 to 40 minutes to get a firm crust on the outside for ease of slicing. With a scimitar or carving knife, cut slices about 2 cm thick (3/16 in.). Slice going with grain of meat.

Marinate 1 to 2 days. I have tried many different homemade recipes, sweet, teriyaki, BBQ, etc, but traditional style has always been my favorite.
1 1/2 cups of water, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 Tbsp onion powder, 2 Tbsp liquid smoke, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 t. salt, 1 t. MSG, 1/2 t. cayenne pepper. Marinate refrigerated.

I have made hundreds of lbs of jerky over the years from moose, caribou, venison, and beef, I usually do pretty big batches at a time. I have found that the easiest and quickest way to dehydrate it is in an oven. Line foil on the bottom of an oven but DO NOT COVER THE VENT SLOTS OR HOLES, assuming it is a gas oven. Hang jerky slices from oven rack by running a toothpick though the ends of 2 pieces of meat at a time, put a little space between them, then lay toothpick crosswise on over rack. A home oven will usually hold up to 15 lbs of jerky this way (using two racks).

Set oven on low, prop the top of the oven door open slightly to let humidity escape. Jerky is done when you doesn't quite break when you bend it completely.
 

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