Lots of recipes, variations, etc, but here’s our favourite.
While still partially frozen, slice trimmed strip steak in 1/4 inch strips. Put those trimmings in a small pot and later add enough water to cover, bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer for an hour or two. After water has cooled, pinch off any meat bits and throw fat strips to the dog or cat if you don’t like them (the fat not the dog/cat). This is great beef broth for veggie soup base.
Put lean strips into a larg bowl or heavy plastic bag that doesn’t leak when closed. After the strips have fully thawed (may need to pour off more blood at this point), then prepare the seasonings and pour into meat. Stir or massage until strips are coated in the seasoning mix. Cover bowl or bag and place in frig for 24 hours. You may want to place the bag in a deep dish or something, just in case it leaks a bit. Stir or massage meat strips a couple times during that 24 your period, just to mix it up a bit with the seasonings. This recipe can accommodate 2-4 lbs of meat.
- 4 oz liquid smoke (i use Wright’s)
- 1/2 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- 1 tsp Real or sea salt
- 3 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, i don’t use it – my husband is allergic – and it makes the mix pretty ‘hot’ (picante)
After 24 or so hours marinating, preheat oven to 160°-175°F and place strips in a single layer on a cooke sheet that has a raised edge so the liquid seasonings don’t run off the pan. I scrunch them in close together because i don’t want any more pans to wash than i have to. Plus the meat will shrink considerably whilst drying. However, today, i’m going to try lining them with parchment paper and see if that affects drying time. Definitely should make cleanup a LOT easier. Actually, i think i’ll try a side by side test of just placing parchment paper directly on oven rack and one on the tray. Hmm – will let you know. But for sure i’m not going to place the strips directly on the oven rack as many recipes will say to do – that’s far too big a mess to clean those racks!
Now the key is to dry them to the point your family likes. The thicker slices take a little longer, thinner ones less. Do you like jerky crispy? then cook it a bit longer, chewy, a bit less. So, just check it after a couple hours, then every hour or so. One thing i’ve discovered is that the jerky will dry out a bit more after you removed from the oven, so allow for that before leaving it in the oven too long. If the meat is completely dried, then you can likely store it at room temperature – no problem. We typically like ours with a bit of moisture so it’s more chewy, this requires refrigeration.
I’ll update this blog entry with the results of my drying test
Update – I decided to line my stone pans with aluminum foil. No doubt this causes longer cooking time for the jerky (6-7 hours at 170°F). But cleanup was so easy.