Who doesn't love beef jerky? but often store bought jerky can be expensive and the bag always runs out too quickly! My fiance Taylor loves beef jerky and though this is often considered a "Mans" gift I decided to make her some for Valentines day.
Now I do not have a dehydrator so for a long time I thought the possibility of making my own jerky was out of reach. After doing some research online I found many recipes where jerky was made but an oven was used instead of a dehydrator. From there I decided to take what I learned and do my own version/combination of these techniques to create some amazing delicious Oven Baked Jerky that I can gift to a meat loving gal.
- Prep time - 10 minutes
- Marinade time - 2 hours
- Drying time - 3.5 hours (Depending on thickness)
What you'll need;
The Meat - Now jerky meat needs to be lean (little fat content) because once dried it will last a very long time in an air tight container. However a high fat to meat ratio will quicken the spoiling process and should be avoided. The cut of meat I used for this recipe was Inside Round Steak Cuts I picked up 2 for $6.00 which worked wonders.
Large freezer bag
Placing your meat in a marinade is crucial to the end flavour of the jerky. I found many different required times for the marinade process ranging from 1-12 hours. I didn't have this kind of time as I was excited to get started. I only placed my meat in the marinade for 2 hours and the finished product was AMAZING so don't waste your time and over marinade, which I read can actually over cure the meat.
As for what goes into the marinade that's basically up to you and your flavour preference but just make sure you have the base of the marinade the same which is equal parts soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. From there you can add many different things like garlic powder, onion powder, chili pepper powder, crushed pepper flakes, honey, liquid smoke, smoked paprika and so on.
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1tsp onion powder
- 1 tbs smoked paprika
- 1 tbs fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tbs honey
- 1tbs crushed red pepper flakes ( optional )
Step 1: Slicing Your Meat
Jerky to be properly dried out with out taking days needs to be relativity thin and there are many different ways of achieving this but I found my method much faster then what I read online. Many people suggest partially freezing the meat others tell you ask the butcher to slice it which are both decent options but require additional work on your end so lets skip that.
What I did was using a fillet knife from my fishing tackle box I filleted the meat into thin slices. To do this lay your steak down onto a cutting board and position your fillet knife almost horizontal then starting about 2" from the end apply a generous amount of pressure to the point where the blade bends. Now holding the meat behind the knife begin to slice back and force while maintaining pressure creating a perfectly thin meat fillet.
Similar to filleting a fish.
**If you don't have a fillet knife and only a chefs knife I'd recommend the freezer method**.
Step 2: Marinade
This process is very simple involving leaving the meat in the marinade for 2 hours at room temperature. Then we will remove the meat and remove all excess moisture from the meat. Because we have to dry the meat out any extra marinade that is on the meat will only make the process longer.
Step 1 - combine equal parts Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce and stir.
Step 2 - Next add in all other ingredients and stir well to combine.
Step 3 - pour mixture into a large freezer bag then add all the filleted meat and massage to even coat each piece.
Step 4 - marinade for 2 hours at room temperature
Step 5 - remove the meat from the bag and place on paper towel and pat as dry as possible.
Step 3: Dehydrating in the Oven
Now that the meat has marinaded for 2 hours and all the extra moisture from the marinade has been removed its time to place the slices onto a cooling rack and place in a preheated oven set to 175 degrees. Next place a drip tray or baking try under the meat on the next rack down just in-case anything falls off during the drying process.
** Don't overlap pieces, this will slow the process down, they can be close together just not on top of each other. also place the rack near the back of the oven for the driest location***
We are not cooking the meat the temperature is hot enough to kill any harmful bacteria but not to fully cook the meat before it becomes dry.
Leave the meat in the oven occasionally open the door to check on the progress. Flip over each piece at the halfway mark and when meat looks like beef jerky its done which will take about 3 hours or a little longer if your slices are thicker.
Now you have some beef jerky ready to eat or gift to that lucky someone
Step 4: Finished Product
After 3-4 hours you should have the most delicious home made beef jerky that didn't require the use or ownership of a dehydrator.
This process was so easy that I immediately made another batch the very next day. after all I gave away all my first batch so I needed some more!!