Introduction: Cold-Dried Beef Jerky
Our family enjoys beef jerky but, honestly, the stuff at the store is really expensive. We also can't be entirely sure of the ingredients and procedures to make it, if the preservatives and chemicals on the bags are any indication. Enter this recipe and Instructable. We've been using this recipe, our own modification of a "classic" beef jerky marinade, for years, and we recently added the cold-dried aspect courtesy of Alton Brown. The result is a delicious beef jerky, perfectly dried, which gives us a quick and plentiful snack for school days.
Step 1: Gather Equipment and Ingredients
- Slicing knife
- Cutting board
- One non-reactive, sealable container for marinade
- Four white cotton bar towels
- 20" box fan
- Four 20"x20"x1" paper furnace filters (NONE WITH FIBERGLASS)
- Two bungee cords
If you want to use a regular dehydrator, you can also do that.
Meat: 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. beef (While flat iron steaks and skirts are excellent, we buy whatever is on sale.)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup Worchestershire sauce
1/3 cup cream sherry
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp Cholula Hot Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Step 2: Slice the Meat
We have the best slicing experience with the 12" slicing knife from Victorinox, but any sharp blade should do. If you place the meat in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up, it makes slicing easier and more uniform.
Slice into uniform-sized pieces, about 1/8" thick. You can do long strips or sheets, depending on your preference. Cut with the grain of the meat for the most tender final product.
Step 3: Mix Marinade and Soak Beef
Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a flat, non-reactive, sealable container. Layer meat slices, being sure each piece is soaking in the marinade. Cover tightly and refrigerate 8-12 hours or overnight, and up 24 hours for best results.
Step 4: Towel-dry Meat and Place on Filters
Remove meat from marinade and pat dry each piece on a clean towel. Place the meat in the valleys of the furnace filter. Space the meat far enough apart that air can flow around each piece. When you fill one filter, stack the next on top and continue to place the meat slices. When done, place one filter with no meat on top to cover.
Step 5: Stack Filters on Fan and Dry
Place the stacked filters onto the front of the box fan. Attach securely with bungee cords. Place the fan on a level surface, in the standing position, and turn on the fan to the highest setting. Dry the meat like this for 12-36 hours, depending on ambient humidity, room temperature and thickness of meat slices. You can stop the fan and remove the filters at any time to check on the progress of the drying without fear of interrupting the process. If the meat is not dry enough, reassemble fan/filter structure and continue.
Step 6: Remove Meat From Filters and Store
When the meat is dried to your liking, remove the filters. Peel each piece of jerky from the filter, being careful to remove any paper that may have stuck to the meat.
Place the finished beef jerky in a paper bag or large plastic canister for storage. Do not use plastic zip-top bags, as they can accumulate any remaining moisture and cause mold.
If you liked this Instructable, please vote for us in the Meat Challenge. You can also find more of our recipes and tips at www.gastroNOMNOMicon.com.
Participated in the
Meat Contest 2016
6 years ago
The material of the filter is food safe? Is there a specific brand you recommend?
Reply 6 years ago
Use paper (cotton) filters only. DO NOT use any containing fiberglass. The ones in the Instructable are
Filtrete™ Allergen Defense Air Filter
which we found at Target for $5.00 each. Here in Alaska, they are our only option that is paper. I don't think you can actually find "food safe" furnace filters, but I would also guess you could make frames from cheesecloth with relative ease. That would be a great Instructable!
6 years ago
I just might try this. So there's no fear of the meat going bad during that time?
Reply 6 years ago
We have never had a problem with that. Make sure you pat the meat completely dry. As soon as you put it into the cold-air dehydrator, the meat begins to dry out. Between that and the salt, it preserves rather than deteriorates.