Natural, healthy snacks at home

How to Make Beef Jerky with a Dehydrator

Beef jerky is great, and you don’t need to buy it in stores anymore. With a dehydrator, you’ll be able to make your own beef jerky right in the comfort of your home. If you’ve tried making jerky before and have failed miserably, don’t worry: it takes a lot of time to master.

Luckily for you, we have a lot of tips and an easy method that will allow you to make the best beef jerky in town.

beef jerky

Start by Marinating Your Meat

We’ve found that flank steak works best for beef jerky. You’ll need about 1 – 2 pounds to start. Start by trimming all of the fat off of the meat, and then cut it into beef jerky strips before getting started. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need the following:

  • 2/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. onion power
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

These are the essentials, but you can also add in other ingredients. Many people will add honey to provide a subtle sweet taste and liquid smoke to give the beef a delicious smoke flavor. A little garlic and ginger can also be added to find the right flavor for you.

Remember, this is meant to be a dried meat, so soaking the meat in wine isn’t a good option.

You’ll want to add all of your marinade items together and place them on the meat, but you don’t want to do that just yet.

Prepare the Meat

A neat trick that I’ve learned over the years is to place the meat into a Ziploc bag and freeze it for a few hours before marinating. This allows for an easier cut.

I do recommend trimming the fat prior to freezing the meat.

Apply the Marinade

After the meat is ready and cut, you’ll want to apply the marinade to the meat. This is best done inside of a Ziploc bag as well. Simply place the meat in the bag, add all of your ingredients and shake the bag as necessary.

Reopen the bag and make sure that you’ve removed all of the air prior to closing it for good.

Now, you’ll want to place the bag in the refrigerator in 3 hour increments. This is where it gets a little difficult to judge. If you like a mild flavor, keep the meat marinating for just 3 hours. Stronger flavors develop after 6 – 9 hours, so experiment, and have fun.

Dehydrate the Meat

Take the meat out of the refrigerator, and pat it with a paper towel to eliminate any immediate moisture. Now, turn your food dehydrator to the highest setting and place the meat on a single rack, allowing several hours for the curing process to finish.

You’ll want to check on your jerky periodically to find the right dehydration time for your meat.

Once finished, you’ll take it out and store it in an airtight container for best results. Note: If the meat gets brittle, you have dehydrated it too much.

That’s all you need to do to make beef jerky at home!