HOME MADE BEEF JERKY: IN WITH THE YUMMY
Yummy, right? Except I dare you to find some at the store that isn’t absolutely LOADED with a crazy amount of all sorts of chemicals and nasties. Sugar, Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Soy Sauce, Monosodium Glutamate, Fermented Soy Beans, Maltodextrin, Hydrolized Corn Gluten (REALLY?), Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Erythorbate, these are some of the ingredients that are commonly listed on packages of beef jerky.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll pass…
I know you can find good quality, all natural jerky out there, but it isn’t that easy a task, especially not in my part of the world, apparently.
Plus, when you do find it, it really doesn’t come cheap…
So I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my very own meaty snack. Good news is, it’s not complicated at all. The process does require a little bit of time and yes, it is a lot more work than simply ripping open a package of the ready made stuff…
But biting into a piece of chewy jerky that YOU just made in your very own kitchen, especially when it’s still slightly warm, has something so satisfying and so rewarding about it, I can’t even explain it. It feels like you just performed some kind of inexplicable magic trick!
You’re like: WHOA DUDE! THIS IS JERKY! I MEAN REAL JERKY, MAN, AND I, ME, MOI, MADE THIS!
And the look on your friends face when you offer them a piece and tell them you made it? Priceless!
Let’s take a look at how it’s done, or at least how I did it, shall we?
Start with a beautiful piece of lean beef and remove all traces of visible fat from that meat.
I chose to use brisket, but you could also use loin, sirloin, top round, flank or any other lean cut. Always keep in mind when making jerky that fat will go rancid on you rather quickly so you want to use the leanest cut of meat possible.
The leaner the meat, the longer your jerky will keep for.
Once you have removed as much of the visible fat as you can, send your piece (or pieces) of meat for a quick trip to the freezer, say 60 to 90 minutes. You don’t want your meat to be frozen solid, you just want it to start to form ice crystals. It should be really firm but you should still be able to pierce it with the point of a sharp knife.
Freezing the meat like that will make it a lot easier for you to cut it into long, thin strips.
Of course, you could also ask your butcher to cut the meat for you. That would save you the hassle!
Slice the meat in long thin strips, going with or against the grain depending on your preference. Jerky sliced against the grain tends to be easier to chew and breaks more easily into pieces whereas jerky that is sliced with the grain will be a lot chewier and somewhat leathery.
You can also go on a diagonal, which is pretty much what I chose to do. Not quite with, not quite against…
Place your strips of meat in a re-sealable plastic bag then pour the marinade right in. Mix everything around until all the meat is completely covered, then place that in the refrigerator and let it marinate overnight.