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Homemade Beef Jerky


V.H.
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I just picked up about some very lean eye round roasts today to make some homemade jerky. Usually I freeze for a bit, slice them about 1/8 inch thick (with the grain), marinate, and dry in the oven at the lowest possible temp until they are dry but still pliable. The last time I made a batch I asked the guy at the meat counter to slice for me and I ended up with kind of thick slices, about 5/16 inch thick. I ended up drying those for a couple of hours, taking them out and cutting them into inch wide pieces, and putting them back in to dry the rest of the way.

When I dry, I move my rack up so that the meat will be suspended in the center of the oven, skewer the meat onto barbecue skewers, and lay the skewers across my rack so that the meat hangs down vertically. I only do this for the first couple of hours because the meat tends to dry more at the top but when I start the drying process, the wet meat takes up too much surface area and I can't lay it all across my rack. After a couple of hours, I take it off the skewers and lay the now smaller, dryer pieces directly on the rack to finish drying.

I am looking for any tips anyone may have to improve my process or any great marinade recipes. I'm generally pretty happy with the quality of my finished product but would love to make it even better.

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Are you keeping the door cracked on your oven? Supposedly this helps keep the humidity down to let the moisture in the meat espcape.

I've only tried the oven pilot light technique once. I liked the results, but since it took so long I went ahead and bought a cheap dehydrator.

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A lot of press and social media activity lately about the homemade beef jerky at District Kitchen. I can't wait to try their rendition.

In the meantime, we've been getting a lot of mileage out of Ye Olde Excalibur. Recent creations include venison, spicy peppercorn beef, and even a salmon jerky.

A couple of lessons so far:

  • Cooking the meat first may make the FDA happy, but the texture will suffer. For a better chew, eschew the guidelines, source smartly, and crank your device up towards the 145 mark.
  • The process takes a long time. Longer than that. Nope, longer. Keep waiting. Consolation prize: Your entire kitchen smells amazing.
  • Season boldly. This is about interesting textures and flavors, not one or the other.
  • Shelf stable, perhaps, but I still keep the finished product in the fridge at all times. The rational human in me knows its dessicated, understands other people say its safe, but damn if it can make its way out of the cold case.

If anyone has other lessons or recipes to share, bring it!

(and no this won't be a contest)

(for obvious reasons)

(stop it)

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A lot of press and social media activity lately about the homemade beef jerky at District Kitchen. I can't wait to try their rendition.

In the meantime, we've been getting a lot of mileage out of Ye Olde Excalibur. Recent creations include venison, spicy peppercorn beef, and even a salmon jerky.

A couple of lessons so far:

  • Cooking the meat first may make the FDA happy, but the texture will suffer. For a better chew, eschew the guidelines, source smartly, and crank your device up towards the 145 mark.
  • The process takes a long time. Longer than that. Nope, longer. Keep waiting. Consolation prize: Your entire kitchen smells amazing.
  • Season boldly. This is about interesting textures and flavors, not one or the other.
  • Shelf stable, perhaps, but I still keep the finished product in the fridge at all times. The rational human in me knows its dessicated, understands other people say its safe, but damn if it can make its way out of the cold case.

If anyone has other lessons or recipes to share, bring it!

(and no this won't be a contest)

(for obvious reasons)

(stop it)

Ba Le has packaged homemade beef jerky in their tiny little shopping aisles. Warning: it doubled in price last time I went, but I believe that's because I went there, three nights in a row, and bought it (color me paranoid, but that's what I believe. It went up from almost $10 a package to $20 for the same-sized package - I balked, called BS, and walked out empty-handed.). It has an orange-rind, MSG flavor to it that's worth trying if you don't mind the MSG. It's nothing AT ALL like District Kitchen's which is soft and honorable; this is tough, and quite a challenge to rip.

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