I had tried to make jerky a couple of times in the oven and it came out alright, but was a lot of hassle, poking tooth picks through each piece, hanging them all on the oven racks and the mess. it got old quick.
Then a friend sold me an extra dehydrator that he had on hand and that all changed. The ease of loading trays instead of hanging on tooth picks alone made it all worth it.
Another thing that a lot of people complain about is slicing the meat. most guides recommend slicing the meat as thinly as possible to allow for quick drying. I thought I has this issue solved by having a neighborhood butcher do the slicing for me. That didn't last to long as he tired of having to clean his slicer just for a couple of pounds of meat.
Again, the dehydrator made all the difference. That part was so easy that I just kept plugging away figuring out the other steps.
This is what I figured out so far.
Let's get started!
Step 1: Ingredients and Supplies
We've all seen recipe after recipe for jerky. There are so many as to make ones head spin. Everything from the most basic, do nothing just dry the meat, to throw the kitchen in a bowl for the marinade and I tried more than a few of them and learned what my palette likes.
A few of my taste guidelines for the spices and marinade. It needs to be fairly spicy, easy, and quick.
I tried dry rubs because of the ease, but that never seemed to impart the flavors that I was looking for, and I didn't really care for plain dried meat. That pretty much leave some kind of marinade.
1/2 c. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 c. Soy Sauce
3/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
3/4 tsp. Onion Powder
1/2+ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Freshly ground Black Pepper
1+ tsp. Chili Pepper Paste ( I used homemade)
Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and warm to just below a simmer. The idea is to heat it enough so that the ingredients dissolve and the flavors combine.
Let cool completely.
A dehydrator. (I bought mine used from a friend for $20.00.)
A vacuum sealer.