Making beef jerky at home using a dehydrator is a fun and rewarding process. Here’s a detailed guide to help you create your own delicious snack.
Start by preparing your beef strips. Ensure they’re cut evenly for consistent drying. Lay them on the dehydrator racks, leaving enough space for air circulation. Begin drying at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160 degrees. After 3 hours, reduce the heat to 145F. Keep an eye on the jerky, continuing the drying process until it bends and cracks but doesn’t break.
The next step is the marinade, a crucial element for flavor. In a glass bowl, mix soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, brown sugar, salt, pepper, meat tenderizer, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Place the beef strips in a glass baking dish and pour the marinade over them, tossing until evenly coated. For an even marinade distribution, toss the meat occasionally during the marinating process.
Arrange the marinated meat on wire racks set over baking sheets. This setup aids in cleanup. Preheat your oven to 175F if you choose to use it as an alternative to a dehydrator. Place the racks in the center of the oven and arrange the meat in a single layer for even drying.
When choosing a dehydrator, the Excalibur is highly recommended. It’s notable for its capacity, allowing up to 6lbs of meat to be dried at once. Made in California, it comes with a robust 10-year warranty, attesting to its quality.
For the marinade process, use a zip-top bag to mix the meat and marinade ingredients. This method helps to evenly coat the meat and allows for efficient use of space in your refrigerator. Marinate the meat for 3-6 hours, depending on your flavor preference.
Finally, spread the meat in a single layer on the dehydrator trays, shaking off any excess marinade. Dry at 165F/74C for 4-6 hours. Periodically blot any fat droplets that appear. To test if the jerky is done, use a cooled piece – it should crack but not break when bent.