When a food dehydrator comes into your life, what do you do?
You make jerky!
An Excalibur food dehydrator became part of my kitchen gear, thanks to my friend Russ.
While I like jerky, I don’t eat it often because most of the time, the stuff you buy at a store is either cheap, unpalatable garbage filled with crap, or is quality jerky that costs an arm and a leg.
Making it myself means I can control the quality of meat and all of the ingredients that go into the marinade. I also can save a ton of money on the finished product.
For my first go-round, this was my recipe:
3.75 lbs lean beef (I used round tip steak because of the price and the fact that it was already sliced somewhat thin)
- splash of worchestershire sauce
- 1-2 tbs honey
- couple splashes tamari sauce
- splash of apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tbs sorghum molasses
- 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
- 2 tsp chopped garlic
- 2 tsp fire cider, a combination of hot pepper powders, garlic and ginger (see my recent blog post on how to make it)
- 1/4 tsp powdered cumin
plus a food dehydrator, of course.
First off, you have to prepare the meat by removing any excess fat and then cutting it into thin, jerky-sized pieces. I bought a cut of meat that was already sliced thin, and with a sharp knife I essentially shaved the top layer off, substantially reducing my overall labor.
Next, I mixed up the marinade in a large bowl. I’m new to this whole process, but common sense suggested to me that I wanted the jerky a bit salty and sweet, but not too much of either. I also wanted to impart some additional flavor and a bit of tang to the meat. In the end I just did a splash of this, a splash of that until I got a combination that tasted right to me. All in all it was about 1/2-3/4 cup worth of marinade.
I added all of the strips of meat to the bowl and tossed them to make sure it was all covered with marinade, and then put it all into a gallon freezer ziplock bag. I placed the bag on a plate and put it in the fridge, and went to bed. In the morning, I turned the bag over.
The next evening I poured any excess fluid from the bag and dried off as much excess marinade as possible by pressing the meat between two plates lined with thick piles of paper towels. By squeezing out all of the extra liquid, that helps the meat dry faster and evenly.
The final step was to lay out all of the meat in single layers on the dehydrator trays, and place the trays into the Excalibur. I turned the gauge to the highest setting (for meat), which was 155°, and left the dehydrator to run the rest of the evening and overnight, about 12 hours total.
When I got up the next morning, I had perfect jerky waiting for me!
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