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I love beef jerky. It's healthy, tasty, portable, and easy to make. I may be addicted to it...No, I most definitely am.

I've been making homemade jerky for years. It all began with my dad, who taught me how to make venison jerky using an old and simple recipe. We made as much as we could, but it never seemed to last very long...hmm?

Our original recipe was solid but, determined to make it even better, I branched out further; adding new flavors and refining the methods further than ever before. These days I pretty much have it down to a science and can whip up a delicious batch in no time.

Eventually my friends found out about my jerky stash. They wanted to try some. Once they tried it they wanted their own bag. I took some to work. My co-workers demanded I supply jerky for all future meetings and business trips. The point is that I've shared my jerky with many people and the vast majority of them have really enjoyed it.

So, if your recipe is so good then why are you revealing all your secrets here? Well, I don't plan to make jerky full-time and I don't have the resources to send you all a bag to try. There's also nothing really proprietary about it since it's made with a bunch of common ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. So why not? I hope you will give it a shot, enjoy some with your friends and family, and improve upon it even further.

Let's get started!

Step 1: Gather Supplies

You will need the following gear:

  • Dehydrator capable of heating to 160-degF - I use a Presto Dehydro
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • 1.75 Quart (or greater) Bowl with lid

I'm a data nerd. These are totally unnecessary, but if you want to be like me you'll also need:

<p>Fantastic recipe, perfectly done and easy to follow directions. </p><p>BEST JERKY EVER #jerkyfever #moretocome</p><p>ps. I was going to post a better pic but we ate it all &lt;3</p>
<p>I have been making my own Jerky for some time now. If you want to try something a bit different, Try this recipe:<br></p><p>Bulgogi Jerky</p><ul><li>2 pounds beef, top or bottom round<li>1 cup soy sauce<li>1 cup pear nectar<li>1/2 cup sake<li>1/4 cup toasted sesame oil<li>3/4 cups honey<li>2 jalape&ntilde;o, chopped (seeded if you wish)<li>1/2 yellow onion, chopped<li>2 garlic cloves<li>4 tablespoons ginger, grated<li>2 tablespoons sesame seeds<li>black pepper<li>kochukaru (It really difficult to find, so Cayenne is a suitable alternative)</ul><br><ol><li>Place beef in freezer to firm up enough to slice very thinly (about 1/4&quot;). <li>Blend remaining ingredients except for salt, sesame seeds, black pepper, and kochukaru until smooth.<li>Add beef to marinade stirring gently to make sure all is coated and marinate about 24-48 hours.<li>Drain the marinade and place meat on the drying racks <li>Grind the salt and sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle (you can use a spice grinder, just be sure not to turn the mixture into a paste). <li>Sprinkle over beef, then grind fresh black pepper and add chili if desired.<li>dry in dehydrator at 160 for 3 - 4 hours <li>Store in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer.</ol><p>You are like me, you like the numbers, so after marinating, I drain the meat and weight it. After about 3 hours of drying I check the weight again and if the meat weight has reduced by half I know it is done. To make final weight check easier, weight your drying trays before you add the meat to them and make note of their weight. This will make the final weight checks easier because you can weight the meat and trays together, then deduct the tray weight to determinant meat weight. That way if you need to dry longer, you are not unloading and reloading the trays several times.</p>
<p>Wow! This is awesome! Thanks for the recipe and advice. Sounds delicious!</p><p>I really like how you've found a way to quantify drying time. In writing this I was somewhat concerned that my technique was too qualitative. Will have to look closer into weight loss over time in my future batches.</p><p>Thanks again!</p>
<p>Your welcome! Dehydration is definitely a science and cooking by weight is typically more accurate than by time or other measurements. In the case of meat, depending on the texture you want, you want to dry your meat 50-65%. Depending on environmental factors, like ambient air temperature, humidity, etc. it could take 3 hours or it could take 6 hours. I personally like this particular recipes a little bit chewy, so I dry it to 50% of original weight. Luckily I have learned to dry by weight, because I have seen it take as little as 2 hours during 90-100 degree days with zero humidity and as much as 6 hours when it was 20-30 degrees with 100% humidity.</p><p>I use this method for all my dehydration projects, especially since almost everything preserved by dehydration is based on the amount of moisture content. Of course, that also means you need to do your research to figure out how much water weight is in the object you are drying. Carrots and potatoes are a lot denser, with less water than say onions or celery. So once you figure out your water to solids ratio, you can then figure out your approximate water weight and then work out the math for the percentage of weight you need to remove, then the time doesn't matter as much.</p><p>IF I had my perfect dehydrator, it wouldn't be based on time, I would be able to tell it what my object was, it would then figure out it's weight and dry it until that weight was where it should be, then turn off. And yes, I have been experimenting with this idea and if I get it to succeed I will more than likely add an instructable about it. :)</p><p>Also, I have played with the saltiness of this recipe. In the above recipe I <br>have the pear nectar and the soy sauce set to 50/50. but I have tried <br>changing this a bit. I have found that I like it closer to 75/25 or 1 <br>1/2 of pear nectar and 1/2 cup of soy sauce. So play around with this <br>and see what you like. <br>The pear nectar is a meat tenderizer, so <br>depending on how soft, chewy or tough you want your jerky will determine<br> how long you want to marinade. I have found, for my taste, I like <br>marinating it for 48 hours using the 75/25 pear to soy tweak. But again,<br> you'll have to play with it and see what you like.</p><p>Hopefully you find this helpful! :)</p>
<p>I find it very helpful! Thanks again for sharing your knowledge. I really hope you get your idea worked out. Would love to see that Instructable!</p>
<p>Nicely done. A few tips to go along with it:</p><p>- If you want your been jerky to last longer, use the leanest meat you and, and trim as much fat as you can. Dried meat will last a long, long time. The fat, however, can turn rancid and ruin the stored jerky.</p><p>- You can get away with less marinade and better coverage by putting the meat and the marinade in a 1 gallon freezer bag and carefully squeezing as much air out as possible. This will ensure constant contact with the marinade and all of the meat.</p><p>- Most butcher shops, and many meat departments at good grocery stores, will thin slice the meat for you on their big commercial meat slicers. Most of them will slice it as thick or thin as you'd like. Considering how much of a pain slicing the meat is, even when it's firmed up in the freezer, it's definitely worth asking.</p><p>- Smoked Paprika will be a great addition to your marinade. It adds a rich smokey flavor without some of the odd or off notes that you can sometimes get with liquid smoke (for jerky, I'd still recommend some liquid smoke, too, unless you are smoking the meat).</p>
<p>Thanks for the tips! I am always looking to improve my methods and this is some great advice.</p>
<p>Excellent instructions and looks like a good recipe too. I will be trying it soon. I've been making venison jerky for years until the deer lease price got too high for me. Everyone loved it. I used 1/4 cup La Choy soy sauce (better flavor than Kikkoman to me) as well as Worcestershire sauce, powdered garlic, powdered onion, nutmeg, red pepper (pizza) flakes, and ginger. I would 'double dip' it in the marinade meaning I doubled the ingredients (not the meat), dehydrated the meat about 1/2 way, and then repeated the marinade procedure. It seemed to give it much more flavor. I'm looking forward to trying your recipe as it seems simpler to make and not as complicated as what I've been doing. It will be my first time drying beef as well. Thanks for getting me excited about jerky again and for the great instructions.</p>
<p>I'm right there with you on the deer lease prices...makes for about the most expensive meat you can find.</p><p>Your double dip technique sounds really interesting. May have to try that sometime. Some of my normal batches have been pretty strong but I bet that would really kick it up a notch!</p><p>Thanks for reading and I'm glad you're back on the jerky train!</p>
<p>My son is a huge fan of jerky, but I rarely buy it due to the sodium content and the price. Now, once I buy a dehydrator, I can make my own! He'll be thrilled! Thanks for the informative article.</p><p>http://sandramurquhart.com </p>
<p>I hope you both enjoy it! Be sure to include him in the process...many good memories making jerky with my dad.</p>
<p>Outstanding details... I love the tips &amp; explanations on the images.</p><p>I've been a jerky fan for ages, but have never had such a step-by-step, detailed instruction set. Will try making a batch for sure. Thanks for this awesome instructable...</p>
<p>Thanks for a great and amusing instructable ! </p>
Lovin this!! Such great ideas! I used to make tons of jerky batches. I used London broil (on sale) , one bottle of soy sauce, one bottle of liquid smoke (original) and the black pepper of course. I had several dehydrators (older style) and I bought a commercial grade meat slicer, like they use in the grocers deli dept, I just couldn't get the slicing right otherwise. It was delicious. I couldn't keep it in stock between my family and co workers. I'm looking forward to making some new batches with this recipe. I never considered the sweet/spicy taste!
<p>I have 2 Ronco dehydrators that I have used for many years making jerky, in case anyone is wondering if they have to use that exact type of Presto dehydrator.</p><p>Great Instructable!</p>
<p>Thanks! There are lots of good dehydrators out there. Way back in the day I used one (can't recall the brand) with just a heating coil on the bottom, no fan. Made for a lot of tray rotating but results were still awesome!</p>
That is exactly what mine are. :)<br>It is easy to make some more dry than the bulk of the batch so I still use them.
<p>Good post. But, each to their own. I always use pork loin @ $2.00 a lb., cut 1/4&quot; across grain. You can't beat the tenderness compared with the best cut of beef. This jerky will melt in your mouth. I won't go into the marinating method, because I change it every time it's made. Just try pork loin and I guarantee that you'll never buy beef again for your jerky. </p><p>everytime </p>
<p>Awesome Instructable! Got me interested in trying for sure!</p>
<p>Thank you! Be careful if you start, because it's hard to stop ;)</p>
<p> I have a fairly old American Harvest dehydrator that I use and it works out well. The best method for even drying is to move the trays up and down once an hour. The one marinade ingredient that I simply cannot do without is Johnny's Au Jus gravy concentrate. It comes in a small plastic bottle and is only about $3 and you should find it in the gravy/boulion section at King Soopers and Safeway. If you can't find Johnny's then substitute the Knorr brand dry Au Jus mix. If you're lucky enough to know a chef you could ask her for some demiglace. The best way for your marinade to actually soak in is to make it quite watery. I start with one cup of cool water, 3 tablespoons of the Johnny's mix and then other ingredients including white pepper, ponzu sauce and sea salt. This makes enough for about 3 pounds of meat. I put the meat and the marinade in a gallon size ziplock bag and periodically smush the meat around to make sure it marinates evenly. 12 +/- hours later I loaded into my dehydrator.</p>
<p>I appreciate the tips! Always on the lookout for new marinade combos and those sound awesome. I've got a buddy who's a chef too...will have to hit him up and really get this thing dialed in ;)</p>
<p>A forum I read all the time has an annual thread about beef jerky...</p><p>The Jerkython! </p><p><a href="http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1271129" rel="nofollow">http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=23&amp;t=...</a></p><p>Always a fun read, and you have probably never seen a tube of so much meat marinating in your life! :)</p><p>I will probably try your smaller batch method in the near future.. :)</p>
<p>Thanks for the link! Good stuff. Jerkython looks insane!!!</p>
I'm overnight marinating 1.8 lbs (800 grams) beef bottom round roast right now. I have a food saver and got a vacuum container I used...stubbs (beef marinade $3.99 / bottle) is sold in giant here on the east coast (va). target only had the bbq sauce. Ever used that? Also I could only find the hickory liquid smoke (Giant, $2.19/bottle), not the mesquite flavor. we'll see hope it goes! I'll update. have a line on cheap venison (butcher fee bout $100 for 50-80 lbs dressed meat from a co-worker...Can't wait:)
<p>Seems like you've got a good plan. Wouldn't worry about the liquid smoke flavor. Mesquite is just my personal favorite. Also, much more common here in Texas. Quite a few mesquite trees...</p><p>I really enjoy Stubb's BBQ sauce, but wouldn't necessarily recommend it for use as a marinade. What I have found is the thicker sauces don't absorb into the meat as well and sometimes they dry into this thin crust on top of your jerky. Again, mostly my personal preference. However, I would definitely encourage you to experiment with different marinades using this recipe as a template. I've been wrong before and just trying stuff is how I came across this recipe :)</p><p>Sounds like a good deal on venison. Wish I had that much but my supply is spread a little thin this year :/</p><p>Hope it turns out great! </p>
Very nice instructable. I've made beef jerky a couple of times ago but i've never got the marinade right. I really want to try this but i can't find Stubbs and liquid smoke in the netherlands. You've got any alternatives?
<p>Apologies for the late response. I've always had easy access to all the ingredients so I guess I have taken that aspect for granted. I'm no expert on the subject of international shipping but I'll do my best...</p><p>First, I would try looking online. Both Stubb's and Colgin (liquid smoke) have online stores and will ship all over. You can also try on Amazon or on some of the local cooking supply shops. I did a quick search for liquid smoke on Amazon and it appears that they will deliver to the Netherlands.</p><p>If that doesn't work then I would try the Worcestershire + Soy sauce recipe I provided in my list of alternative recipes. Those should be much easier to find. In addition to these main ingredients you can throw in some red pepper and/or brown sugar to get the amount of sweet/spice you desire. </p><p>Natural smoke is always a good alternative to liquid smoke, and I have read that smoked paprika also makes a decent substitute. I've never tried smoked paprika in jerky, but based on other dishes I have had it may be worth trying.</p><p>Also, as a word of encouragement, I have ruined many a batch of jerky due to bad marinades. It takes some time and experimentation, but you will eventually perfect it and discover what makes or breaks one for you. For me it is typically heavy soy-based marinades that taste the best.</p><p>I hope this helps. Good luck on finding everything and thank you for deciding to try my recipe!</p>
thanks for reacting. i think i'm going to make the marinade with worcestersauce and see if i get the liquid smoke.
<p>Great instructable, nicely detailed, good job! I have a couple questions for you, I to am a jerky maker for years, and have tried allot of different recipes</p><p>1. I don't think we have Stubb's in my area of WI., is there anything close to it that you can think of?</p><p>2. You have no added salt, is Stubb's really salty? You normally need salt not just for flavor, but also helps preserve the jerky?</p><p>Thanks, good job again!</p><p>Tp</p>
Thanks!<br><br>1. I can't think of a close substitute off hand, but you could try something with similar ingredients in the marinade section of your local grocery store. The Stubb's beef is predominantly soy, garlic, and red pepper so something along those lines should be comparable. A custom approach would be to use my old Soy/Worcestershire Sauce base and add seasoning (red pepper, garlic, brown sugar, etc.). You can also order Stubb's online. <br><br>2. I've always felt that the salt content of the marinades is adequate in preserving the meat. There are 370 mg of sodium in 1 Tbsp the Stubb's Beef marinade so it's pretty salty.<br><br>Hope this helps!
How do you store your jerky?
I use ziplock bags.
In the refrigerator or out? I am making 5 pounds of venison jerky now and don't want it to go bad. <br><br>Also have you tried the stubbs sweet peppercorn flavor with liquid smoke as the marinade?
<p>A well sealed ziplock bag @ room temperature should keep it for quite a while. I can't recall any ever spoiling on me.</p><p>Just make sure you let it cool down before you store it away. If it's still hot you could possibly get some condensation in the bag.</p><p>I have not gotten a chance to try the peppercorn yet...used the only bottle I had on some pork chops :)</p>
I tried the stubbs sweet peppercorn flavor with 5 tbsp liquid smoke and it tastes exactly like jack links peppered beef jerky, which is my favorite!!! I used venison instead of beef and it was the best ever!!! Thank you for your recipe!!!
<p>Sweet! That makes me really excited because I actually have some marinading in it right now. I'm also trying some of the Texas Sriracha. Hope it's good too!</p><p>Glad you enjoyed it!</p>
<p>How would you compare the flavor of this method to methods which use cure to extend the shelf life of the jerky?</p>
<p>I think the marinade method results in a much bolder flavor than anything else. For example, the Worcestershire/Soy Sauce recipe I use has a very strong soy influence that overpowers most everything else. In fact, the extremely bold flavor of this mix is why I began experimenting with the other marinades...I wanted something slightly milder to bring out more of the meat's natural flavor.</p><p>The &quot;traditional&quot; cure/smoke recipes I've tried seem to be either a lot saltier or more bland.</p>
<p>Can't wait to try it!</p>
Thanks for sharing.turned out great
<p>Awesome! Glad you liked it!</p>
<p>How does jerky made in the oven compare to ones made from dehydrators?</p>
<p>The end result is the same. The only real difference is in the drying process.</p>
<p>Nice, however I'm wondering how dry-rubbing whatever meat is in use, and then smoking it for real before dehydrating it would work vs. what you're using here.</p>
<p>That's definitely a viable option. I believe many others use that general method. The main difference I see is the convenience of each. The marinade-dehydrator approach I use requires far less equipment, time, and space.</p><p>Taste-wise---I'm sure there are some purists that would say nothing beats the flavor of real smoke. I don't necessarily disagree with that, but nobody eating this recipe has ever complained about the liquid smoke I use. I also feel that the marinaded stuff is much more flavor dense than any smoked/dry-rub stuff I've tried. I haven't tried it all though...</p>
<p>Or just simply smoking it and then dehydrating it.</p>
<p>Great 'ible. </p><p>When I was making jerky on a regular basis (current living situation doesn't allow for it), I used brisket. I cut the point off to make corned beef &amp; used the trimmed flat for jerky, cutting across the grain to make it easier to eat. I also used pineapple juice in the marinade which gives it a little sweeter taste while the acid helps tenderize the meat. Then I put it in my charcoal smoker for a couple of hours, suspended from steel skewers. Finished up in a dehydrator - I miss making jerky!</p>
I totally forgot about pineapple! You are absolutely right. It is very good. Made a batch with some one time and it was a big hit among my friends. Will have to dig up the recipe and add it on here...<br><br>Oh, and corned beef sounds so good right now... What process do you use to make it?
<p>I use Alton Brown's recipe most of the time but sometimes I vary the spices/herbs a little - easy to make &amp; great flavor </p><p><a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/corned-beef-recipe.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/cor...</a></p>

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