How to Make Homemade Jerky

How many of you have memories of delicious, chewy, flavorful jerky? Do you still find yourself craving it as a snack but find yourself disappointed in how much it costs? If you’ve answered yes to any of these you should know that it is entirely possible to make your jerky right at home. And homemade jerky is often a fraction of the cost compared to pre-made and purchased from most grocery stores or retail stores.

If you’ve ever considered how to make jerky at home, Wholey’s is happy to help share with you all the tips and tricks to make that happen.

The Basics of Jerky

The key to a good jerky can be broken down into some important, but simple concepts. As flavoring and personal taste is a deeply personal thing, and there’s so much room to experiment with flavor pairings, we’ll break down these key steps first before diving in.

Basics:

  • Meat. In most cases, it will be beef. The cut of beef is relatively important. You will want a cut as lean as possible with beef, such as Eye of Round, Brisket Beef, or the pricier options such as Flank Steak or Filet Mignon. Whichever you choose, lean is best. Make sure to trim off any excess fat.
  • Marinade. Marinating the meat before drying is extremely important, not just for flavor. Marinating with salt is extremely important as it kills bacteria, making the jerky safer to consume. Curing meat correctly will eliminate harmful bacteria that could make you ill if you skip the marinade.
  • Dehydrator or oven. You can make jerky in the oven just as well as in a dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator, to cook the jerky evenly in the oven lay the jerky directly on the wire racks or use a wire rack in the oven and place them on top of foil-wrapped baking sheets. The baking sheets will catch any drippings, saving you from a messy cleanup.

Note: You will most likely get more consistent temperatures in a dehydrator than an oven.

Basic Marinade:

Feel free to experiment here. Do you like hot and fiery? Add red pepper flakes, dried ghost pepper powder, or your favorite hot sauce. Prefer sweet? Use honey or brown sugar. The marinade flavor is up to you.

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke

Mix these ingredients for a basic marinade and feel free to experiment with different flavors.

How to Make Jerky at Home

  1. Slice your beef as thin as possible (1/8 – ¼-inch thick.) If you want a chewy jerky, cut with the grain. If you prefer your jerky less chewy, cut against the grain. For easier slicing, freeze the beef for 15-20 minutes beforehand.
  2. Place sliced beef in a Ziplock bag or an airtight container with the marinade and make sure the beef is coated evenly. Then place the bag in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or 24 hours to let all flavors sink in.
  3. After marinating, remove strips from the bag and lay them on dehydrator trays or your wire rack in the oven.

If You are Making Your Jerky in the Dehydrator:

Make sure that you follow your dehydrator’s instructions to cook your jerky until it is dry, firm, and slightly pliable. Since cooking times can vary depending on the make, model, and size of a dehydrator, as well as the thickness of the meat, it is best to follow the instructions for that dehydrator. Once the jerky is finished, remove it from the dehydrator, transfer it into a sealed container and refrigerate. Your jerky should last in the fridge for up to 1 month.

If Making Your Jerky in the Oven:

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Adjust the racks inside the oven if needed to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Using two of your largest baking sheets, wrap them with foil and place wire cooling racks on top of each sheet. Lay the strips out on the wire racks and bake until dry, firm, and a bit pliable, about 4 hours. Flip the jerky halfway through at the 2-hour mark. Your cooking time will depend on the thickness of the meat. Remove from wire racks, place in an airtight container, and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

We hope you enjoyed this adaptable recipe on how to make jerky at home and that it turns out delicious. Remember to use salt of some sort in your marinade to keep bacteria to a minimum and to thoroughly dry the meat before consuming. The marinade, of course, can have any other number of flavors you enjoy, so have fun experimenting!

Don’t forget: jerky can be made from any other lean meat as well. Consider trying:

  • Pork
  • Venison
  • Buffalo
  • Duck
  • Elk
  • Fish
  • Salmon
  • Snake
  • Trout
  • Smoked Turkey Breast
  • Wild Boar
  • Alligator

It’s best to avoid raw poultry, however, as the texture and flavor aren’t as palpable to most. Beef jerky is a wonderful low carb, high protein snack as well, which makes it an excellent choice to grab and go when in between meals. Compare to some store-bought jerky, where you might find them packed with preservatives, sugar and even gluten, by making your jerky at home. You’ll know exactly what went into each step.

Are you looking for the perfect and convenient cut of Eye of Round, Brisket Beef, Flank Steak or Filet Mignon to try making jerky at home? Look no further than Wholey’s. We provide the freshest, highest-quality meats delivered right to you. Fresh, available, and easy to use meat and seafood — we’re your go-to source for all your meal needs. At Wholey’s, we are passionate about delivering fresh, flavorful products and knowledge. Shop online today to see why we’re one of the top online markets and order your next delicious meal!