Doc’s Favorite Beef Jerky

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Doc’s Favorite Beef Jerky

If you like store-bought jerky, you’ll absolutely love this homemade beef jerky. It’s the best on the internet, if we do say so ourselves! All you’ll need is some round steak, our irresistible beef jerky marinade, and a dehydrator to make this top-rated recipe.

Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

What Is Beef Jerky?

Beef jerky is lean, trimmed beef that has been cut into strips and dried. Drying (or dehydrating) meat with heat and salt slows bacterial growth dramatically, stretching its lifespan by many months. The word “jerky” comes from a Quechua word: “Ch’arki,” which literally means “dry, salted meat.”

What Is Beef Jerky Made Out Of?

This beef jerky is made from steak cut into thin strips and marinated in a sweet-savory marinade made with spices, sauces, and seasonings that you probably already have on hand. Some beef jerky recipes can be made in the oven, but this one requires a food dehydrator.

Beef Jerky Marinade

What makes this beef jerky marinade so absolutely irresistible? The combination of sweet, savory, and umami-rich ingredients. This marinade is a beautiful blend of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, brown sugar, salt, pepper, meat tenderizer, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.

How to Make Beef Jerky (With a Dehydrator)

Truly, it couldn’t be easier to make this beef jerky. You’ll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here’s a brief overview of what you can expect:

Marinate the Beef

Arrange beef strips in a single layer in a glass baking dish. In a bowl, mix together all of the marinade ingredients until they’re well-combined. Pour the marinade over the beef, cover, and place in the fridge for 8 hours or up to overnight.
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Pound the Beef

Remove the strips from the marinade and place them between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound the beef to 1/8-inch thickness with a meat mallet.

Dehydrate the Beef

Dry the beef in a dehydrator set to the highest setting for about 4 hours, or until the jerky is done to your liking.

Best Cut of Beef For Jerky

Avoid anything with a high fat content — the more fat there is, the harder it’ll be to achieve the dry and chewy texture you’re after. Plus, fatty cuts will cause the jerky to spoil more quickly. Choose a fresh, lean cut instead.

This recipe calls for round steak. You could use sirloin or flank steak, but they’ll be a bit pricier.

How Long Does Beef Jerky Last?

Homemade beef jerky doesn’t last quite as long as commercial beef jerky. We recommend enjoying this jerky within three months for the best texture and flavor.

How to Store Beef Jerky

Store your homemade jerky in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to a month. Move it to the fridge to extend the shelf life by a couple more months. If you invest in a vacuum sealer, you could make your beef jerky last for up to a year.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

“We raise cattle, and I routinely use a dehydrator to make jerky from our freezer full of fresh beef,” says Wendy James Ashworth. “Today I made this recipe as well as my family’s reigning favorite jerky recipe. In a side-by-side taste test, this recipe was declared (5-0 votes) as the new favorite!”
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“You might as well double this recipe to start with,” advises cheri. “This is by far the best basic jerky recipe out there. As is, it is GREAT and it leaves room for tweaking without destroying the results. Add a teaspoon of ground or crushed red pepper for a little kick. Bump up the sugar or add honey for a sweeter side.”

“It is amazing,” raves Jeremiah Tyson. “I also added some habanero flakes from my garden to a portion of the beef and it came out with a perfect taste and that slight sizzle I was looking for. I might just have to go get more meat and get this started again!”

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams

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