Home made beef jerky

Dustin loves beef jerky.. .but we also like to save money. A few years ago, Santa brought us a food dehydrator. I recommend that if you don't have one, you request Santa to bring you one too. I have dried flowers in it, made fruit roll ups, banana chips, and lots of stuff like that. I don't use it as much as I should though. Every time I use it I think, 'Why don't I do this more often?!'

Today is the second batch of beef jerky I've made. It is really simple. We get all our meat from Dustin's BFF, so we always have locally grown, fresh beef in our freezer. (My mom makes it with hamburger and turkey burger meat mixed together.) We have a lot of cuts that we just aren't getting around to eating, so I'm using them. The key is that you want lean meat. The fattier the meat, the shorter the life of the jerky. I just stick ours in a sealed container in the fridge so we don't have to worry about it. (well, that and Dustin eats a batch in 2 days, so I don't really have to worry about it going bad!)

I recently got a pair of Pampered Chef kitchen shears, so I was anxious to use them. Raw meat grosses me out, so they make this job MUCH easier and faster. Cut the meat in thin strips. I don't cut them very long (they just don't fit in the container I use if I do).  You also want to cut it perpendicular to the grain of the meat. That makes it more tender.

Then, I place them in a big glass bowl and let them marinate for at least an hour.

The marinade is easy. It is mostly soy sauce. Pour in enough so that the meat will be covered. Then, add a few dashes of liquid smoke, some powdered garlic, onion, and cayenne peppers. Mix it all up and let it sit.

After I think it has soaked long enough, I spray Pam on my drying rack and lay it all out. I don't know that the Pam is a necessity, I just don't want it to stick. This batch took three trays. I have 4.

This was the third tray, so it isn't very full. It also isn't a great pic.

Then, just plug in the dehydrator and let it go for about 8 hours. Last time, 6 was long enough. You want the meat to dry, but not be crunchy. Dustin usually test tastes it from time to time while it is in the dryer. It really depends on how think you have cut the meat. Or, if you are like my mom, how thick the jerky maker has the strips of ground meat.

The whole house smells like I poured soy sauce all over the place, but that goes away. Minus the drying time, which is pretty uninvolved, it only takes me about 20 minutes to get it ready and in the marinate.

I don't really like it, but Dustin LOVES it. And, it is so much better and CHEAPER than buying prepackaged jerky from the store.


  1. Just thinking about homemade beef jerky brings back the smell memory of when mom used to make it. We used to find this marinade when we went to Texas that makes GREAT jerky (dad would buy it by the caseload when we'd visit). If you have a marinade that you like I'd recommend giving it a try! Mom used to also grind black pepper on the jerky after she put the strips on the trays to make it a little more like the store bought kind for picky people (there never really were any though...).

  2. It does make the whole house smell while you make it. (not bad... it just makes it smell like soy sauce, or whatever the main ingredient you used). Poor Ellie and her little beagle nose. It is the second time I've made it since we've had her. It drives her crazy.

    I bought some teriyaki sauce the other day I am going to use as my base instead of soy sauce.

  3. One thing I didn't know here recently until I started watching my diet more closely is that soy sauce has wheat in it (it actually has more wheat than soy!). We got some jerky seasoning mix from Dutch Barn that we're going to try out this weekend, but it has some dried soy sauce in it also. Just something to keep in mind if you're the weird allergy kid like me =)

  4. How do you make your fruit roll ups in the dehydrator? I'd LOVE to know!


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