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Making jerky - types of meat and methods

by (2254)
Updated about 13 hours ago
Created February 13, 2010 at 9:44 PM

Never made jerky before. I'm thinking beef to start with as it's the easiest meat to get. But I have no idea what cut of beef would be best for making jerky. What sort of cut is ideal? And what would be the cheapest one that would still make decent jerky even if not the best?

Also, I don't have a dehydrator or anything fancy. Just an oven (no fan). Can this be used and how? (temperature, length of time)

Thanks!

A387199898dd4f2e108df042046cfbd1
60 · June 15, 2011 at 5:43 PM

London broil is a great cut to use. I have also used top round, it requires a bit more trimming but has good flavor.

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2485 · February 27, 2010 at 10:23 PM

I like that you gave the meat counter guys some! The meat counter guys at my Whole Foods got really excited when I told them I was making jerky. I thought about bringing some to them but my first batch has already been eaten :) Maybe next time.

Af12951fdf48cf67d71605c1a7f9a492
324 · February 26, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Sounds like we're doing almost the exact same thing. I've been buying "London broil" at Whole Foods and making it in my Nesco dehydrator! I believe that top round roast is the most common cut sold as London broil so that's probably what I'm getting as well. I vary the marinade each time and don't follow a recipe.I tried drying some eggplant slices in the Nesco without following any recipe... not so good.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107
15593 · February 15, 2010 at 3:51 PM

I marinated mine in red wine vinegar and some cayenne pepper, as much for maximal killing of bacteria (I was making the jerky for 2 weeks straight hiking) as for taste. Because the meat was so thin it looked entirely cooked just from the marinate (tasted pretty, pre-drying good too).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · February 15, 2010 at 2:44 PM

That sounds great! Way better than keeping the oven on for a long time down here in Mexico where it gets pretty hot anyway. May give it a try.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13
10502 · February 15, 2010 at 11:10 AM

That is amazing!

52cae90a114ca8f0404948e2b7ccb7ef
1595 · February 14, 2010 at 2:00 PM

We make a marinade of water with various spices from the pantry and let the sliced meat soak in it overnight. Garlic, onion, cumin, pepper, etc. No formal recipe. It doesn't overpower the beef flavor in the end.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13
10502 · February 13, 2010 at 10:34 PM

@speno Do you season or marinate your jerky? If so, with what?

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15 Answers

best answer

Fa47fe5368e66325865f60a928609145
11
961 · February 15, 2010 at 11:00 AM

I just build a jerky-maker for 7 euros out of a cardboard box, some skewers and a light bulb. Take a look :) http://www.mypaleokitchen.com/?p=166

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13
10502 · February 15, 2010 at 11:10 AM

That is amazing!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · February 15, 2010 at 2:44 PM

That sounds great! Way better than keeping the oven on for a long time down here in Mexico where it gets pretty hot anyway. May give it a try.

Af12951fdf48cf67d71605c1a7f9a492
5
324 · February 14, 2010 at 5:53 PM

We have a dehydrator and I highly recommend getting one. It's easy to use and easy to clean. I've made beef and venison jerky quite a few times. My favorite is grass-fed london broil. It may be a bit more expensive than some other cuts but it is so easy and tastes great. There is no or little fat or connective tissue to trim and it is simple to slice. I put it in the freezer for about 2 or 3 hours just so it firms up without freezing through. Then you can slice it into evenly thick pieces in just a minute or two. I put the slices and whatever marinade I'm using into zip bags with the air squeezed and let them sit in the fridge. After 24 hours it will make a great jerky but after 48 it will be amazing. With a dehydrator it takes maybe 4 hours to be finished. My wife always gets into it a little early because she likes it when it is still warm and a bit chewy.

A387199898dd4f2e108df042046cfbd1
60 · June 15, 2011 at 5:43 PM

London broil is a great cut to use. I have also used top round, it requires a bit more trimming but has good flavor.

52cae90a114ca8f0404948e2b7ccb7ef
4
1595 · February 13, 2010 at 10:21 PM

We use eye round, which is lean and easy to slice by hand with a sharp knife. You can get it pretty cheap at places like Costco, around $3/pound.

If you aren't willing to slice and are willing to pay more, you can often find thinly sliced beef in an Asian market.

Without a dehydrator or an oven with a fan, I'm not sure what the best method would be. Perhaps the sun? :-)

EDIT: We use a Nesco FD-80 American Harvest Square-Shaped Dehydrator. Super easy to use and clean.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13
10502 · February 13, 2010 at 10:34 PM

@speno Do you season or marinate your jerky? If so, with what?

52cae90a114ca8f0404948e2b7ccb7ef
1595 · February 14, 2010 at 2:00 PM

We make a marinade of water with various spices from the pantry and let the sliced meat soak in it overnight. Garlic, onion, cumin, pepper, etc. No formal recipe. It doesn't overpower the beef flavor in the end.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107
15593 · February 15, 2010 at 3:51 PM

I marinated mine in red wine vinegar and some cayenne pepper, as much for maximal killing of bacteria (I was making the jerky for 2 weeks straight hiking) as for taste. Because the meat was so thin it looked entirely cooked just from the marinate (tasted pretty, pre-drying good too).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
3
78422 · February 13, 2010 at 10:56 PM

Just Google beef jerky oven recipe and you'll find things like http://homecooking.about.com/od/beefrecipes/r/blbeef103.htm

Sounds easy enough- partially freeze meat to slice thinly more easily, marinate slices, 4 hr. in 250 F oven, then air dry 24 hr. and put in zip lock bags..

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208
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13983 · February 13, 2010 at 11:51 PM

Flap meat is a good (and inexpensive) cut of meat to try. An oven on your lowest setting (150'F to 200'F) with the door left open for 24 hours should work just fine to dehydrate the meat.

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20 · February 13, 2010 at 11:37 PM

flank steak --best bang for your buck.

F82f7d4dafb6d0ffc4c2ee2a85420786
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484 · April 29, 2010 at 5:02 AM

My husband is in charge of making jerky - although it's Biltong, the African version, and I'm not sure how different that is - but anyway, we use a dehydrator we bought for $40 and it does a good job. Latest success - Kangaroo Fillet! Easy to get and very cheap - in Australia. It's lovely and lean and gamey - even better than beef.

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98
1
3268 · February 27, 2010 at 9:55 PM

Let me add another vote for getting a real food dehydrator. I got the Excalibur, cut up and marinated some grass-fed bottom round beef, and the jerky came out perfect the first time. I even brought some to Whole Foods where I got the meat, shared some jerky with the guys at the meat counter, and they all loved it!

5cd18bfcafadc56292971e59f2f1faf6
2485 · February 27, 2010 at 10:23 PM

I like that you gave the meat counter guys some! The meat counter guys at my Whole Foods got really excited when I told them I was making jerky. I thought about bringing some to them but my first batch has already been eaten :) Maybe next time.

5cd18bfcafadc56292971e59f2f1faf6
1
2485 · February 26, 2010 at 3:12 AM

I was inspired to buy a Nesco dehydrator thanks to this thread. The homemade dehydrator looked cool but I probably would've burned my place down with the cardboard box and lightbulb. Great device and highly recommended. I tried it with a cut from Whole Foods labeled as "London broil" that I believe was top round. $6/lb. It turned out as some of the best jerky I've ever had with just a simple water & spice marinade. I'm dehydrating some strawberries now to experiment with my own Paleo-friendly trail mix (jerky + berries + nuts).

Af12951fdf48cf67d71605c1a7f9a492
324 · February 26, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Sounds like we're doing almost the exact same thing. I've been buying "London broil" at Whole Foods and making it in my Nesco dehydrator! I believe that top round roast is the most common cut sold as London broil so that's probably what I'm getting as well. I vary the marinade each time and don't follow a recipe.I tried drying some eggplant slices in the Nesco without following any recipe... not so good.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107
1
15593 · February 14, 2010 at 10:17 AM

My butcher recommended that I use rump steak (round steak, for you Americans) for its leanness, but mine worked fine using some braising steak. If you can be bothered to trim your meat extensively it'll end up with less fat anyway.

I also just used a non-fan oven on the lowest setting propped open with a wooden spoon. It cooked disappointingly quickly, but it was incredibly thin and still had the jerky taste, even if it presumably wouldn't keep so well. I assume that opening the door wider and turning the heat off totally now and again would allow a longer drying process.

D0a99b40ec8616a1672ec4d2177ed7de
0
26 · June 28, 2011 at 3:12 AM

here's another place you can get grass-fed beef jerky. www.nomadjerky.com

3bd6be5906b9572f3e06e8fdb9f4dcf5
0
0 · January 21, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Or you can jut purchase from me for an affordable price delicious flavors made from 100% grassfed top round beef!

http://grassfedjerkychews.com/

Thanks!

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff
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7821 · May 03, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Pemmican you say? Never venture far into pemmican land without Lex Rooker to guide you: http://www.traditionaltx.us/images/PEMMICAN.pdf

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337 · May 03, 2010 at 8:18 PM

I'd recommend getting a jerky gun. You fill it with ground hamburger and then press out thin strips or tubes of meat onto your dehydrator trays. I just made my first batch, and it came out great. It holds together just like "real" beef jerky (although it is a little easier to chew). This method seems easier to me and is much cheaper.

9b8bb0e998b9d754f74e490ee79e06f0
0
0 · February 13, 2010 at 11:51 PM

I just used the Alton Brown method complete with box fan...excellent

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