Smoky Beef Jerky
While a lot of children awoke on Christmas morning to stockings full of toys (or socks and underwear!), my Grandma always stuffed ours with little homemade treats. We of course got the toys and practical items like clothes when we opened the packages, but my favorite thing to find in my stocking was her homemade beef jerky. To be honest, I actually have no idea what she used to marinate it in and really should ask her! Grandma I know you’re reading this, so let’s swap recipes soon!
I’ve loved jerky of any kind ever since, be-it turkey, beef, or even the bear jerky that a friend let us try one time in Colorado when I was growing up. I had never made it though until last year when I actually started scrutinizing the labels of the packages I was buying. There’s quite a few brands out there now that use healthy ingredients; but I find it is still easier, cheaper, and more flavorful to just make own at home. There will be a couple of different flavors in my new cookbook next Fall, but for now, here is our go-to Smoky Beef Jerky. I keep it in the pantry for those days when I need a salty snack or am on the run and don’t have time to fix lunch.
- 1 pound london broil steak or flank steak (ask the butcher for a very lean piece)
- ¼ cup coconut aminos*
- ¾ teaspoon all natural liquid smoke**
- ¾ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- dash of cayenne pepper
*You can substitute Tamari for the coconut aminos but omit the sea salt.
** I buy this brand of liquid smoke. Wright’s makes one as well. Ingredients should just be Natural Hickory Smoke Concentrate and Water)
- Place the steak in the freezer for 2 hours to firm it up and make it easier to slice thinly.
- Remove it from the freezer and trim any visible white fat. Any fat left on the meat will spoil after drying.
- Slice the steak into ⅛ inch pieces. For London broil slice it with the grain, for flank steak slice it against the grain.
- Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade and combine the marinade with the beef slices in a shallow dish or a ziploc bag. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours turning occasionally to evenly coat.
- Remove the meat from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels.
- Evenly place the strips on dehydrator sheets lined with parchment paper, careful not to let them overlap.
- Dehydrate the beef for 3-4 hours at 145 degrees F, flipping once half way through.
- Preheat oven to the lowest setting, usually 150-170 degrees F.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or foil and place a heavy wire rack over both (an oven safe cookie cooling rack will do).
- Place the strips of beef on the racks leaving space between each piece so they’re not touching. Place the trays in the oven, leaving it open a crack to allow air to circulate.
- Dehydrate for 8-10 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat, turning 1 time half way through.
- *If you have a convection setting this process will probably take about half the time. Check for dryness around 5 hours and continue dehydrating if the strips are still moist.
Store the beef jerky in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. *The research I’ve done shows that this method results in jerky that can last on the shelf in a well sealed container for as long as 2 months. It never lasts long enough in our house to test that out though!