Edit 12/3/11: Updated the recipe to what works best for me now.
I still dehydrate mine in the oven, it works great and until it doesn’t or I want to start producing more for whatever reason, it’s my preferred method. The recipes won’t change for a standard dehydrator but the process described will, just dehydrate however you like and enjoy.
Grass fed beef is always ideal, the flavor is better, it’s slightly leaner and it’s SO much better for you than conventional store bought beef.
I’ve had lots of success with top round, london broil and flank steak, any lean cut of beef will do. This is one of the only times I will EVER tell anyone to steer away from natural fat, it just doesn’t dehydrate well.
Marinades are my favorite flavoring method and my all-time favorite recipe so far is from Angelo Copella at Latest in Paleo. By the way, the podcast is awesome dude, keep it up.
As far as cost, 3 oz. of store bought beef jerky (grain-fed, antibiotic filled cows, fake ingredients, possible gluten contamination and processed all to hell) costs about 6 bucks these days. About $2 an ounce. The stuff I make for myself usually comes out to about $0.75 per ounce after all is said in done. Less than half the price for a far superior product. Works for me.
1a. If it’s frozen, I’ll sit it on the counter and wait until it’s thawed enough to get through with a knife, probably 2-3 hours.
1b. If the beef is thawed, I pop it in the freezer for an hour or two to firm it up.
1c. Trim all the fat off, you just want red meat.
These beginning steps just make slicing the meat easier, I shoot for 1/4″ slices, against the grain. Uniform slicing is necessary to ensure all the pieces come out the same, once again it’s just easier this way. 2-3 pounds of starting beef fits well in my apartment’s oven, make more if you have more space.
2. Mix up your marinade. I’ll put together my favorite recipes and where you can find them at the bottom of this page.
3. Combine the beef and marinade in whatever’s handy, I use the big gallon ziplock bags because it’s super easy to mix up. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, I almost always marinade over night or at least 8-10 hours. I mix it up periodically when it’s marinating, no schedule just when I remember.
From what I can tell, the longer the better, haven’t gone over 12 hours yet, I can never hold off long enough.
4. Place strips of beef on the upper oven rack, above 2 cookie sheets (for drips) on the bottom rack.
5. Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon and cook at 175 degrees for what usually turns about to be 2.5 – 3 hours.
This time has varied a bit due to non-uniform slicing, the weather and the marinade. Just keep an eye on it. Check on it every 15 minutes or half hour to get to your desired level of chewiness. I start popping samples out around 2 hours because I can’t take the smell anymore.
Beef Jerky has been a pretty clutch snack for post-workout, long drives, hiking, long shopping trips and snacking at home. Check out the different recipes below, they’re all worth a try. Feel free to send your favorite recipes my way so I and others can try them out too.
Marinade Recipes -
- Angelo Coppola’s from Latest In Paleo
- Marks Daily Apple has a good post and comments on recipes
- Robb Wolf has an AMAZING Maple-Sage beef jerky recipe
- Paleofood.com has a great list of recipes
- Or you could always just Google It.