I don’t like beef jerky!!!
Correction: I didn’t like beef jerky….until we began to make our own.
My hubby is always looking for good healthy foods that he can put in his pack for when he is called out with the emergency services. He often doesn’t know how long he will be out, and food is often stopping in at a fast food place that’s definitely NOT paleo friendly. One of his tricks at a local take-away place is to ask for a steak sandwich – without the bread. Not absolutely ideal, but sometimes it’s the only option.
We began to explore the idea of jerky….high in protein, light weight, easy to put in a pack or pocket. And it’s just meat, right?! NO!!! We discovered that all the brands of jerky we found were highly processed and had some kind of additives we want to avoid. Ingredients included flour (yes, flour – wheat – gluten!), vegetable oils, sugars of various kinds (maltodextrin, dextrose etc), vegetable gum, guar gum, vegetable protein and other nasties. In some cases meat came way down the list.
No wonder we didn’t like beef jerky. It really did taste like spicy cardboard and the ingredient list explains why.
I have to say that we did discover one `clean’ brand available online, but the cost is huge if you are having it very often. We decided to order some just to see what it tasted like. The verdict – good. It was nice – we could really grow to like that – a lot.
So we began to look for homemade jerky recipes. Surely we could make beef jerky ourselves with a lot less cost, and thus being sure of what it in it.
The marinade is the key to the flavour. Find a great marinade and then the dehydrating concentrates that flavour in the finished product. I tried quite a few different recipes for marinades and found many of them quite complex. I wanted something that both hubby and I could easily do with out needing to go out and buy lots of special ingredients. Here’s the recipe for our current favourite beef jerky.
- 1 kg Beef – make sure you get a good quality lean meat. If it has any fat on it, make sure to trim it off as fat does not dry well. We get a nice lean topside from our local butcher. He cuts it ready for making the jerky.
- Meat needs to be cut evenly at about .5 cm thick.
- Then cut into strips as wide and long as you like. We do about 3cm wide.
- 2 large cloves of garlic – crushed
- 3 cm lump of fresh ginger – finely chopped
- 3 chillis – finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons salt (Himalayan pink salt or celtic sea salt)
- Juice of 2 Limes
- 1/2 bottle of red wine
I use the Thermomix and put the garlic, ginger, chillis and peeled limes in it – mix for about 5-10 seconds on speed 8. Add the salt and wine and mix for another 10 seconds. Done!! Much easier than chopping it all by hand – and it really doesn’t matter what it looks like.
Use a shallow dish and put the meat into the marinade, making sure that each piece is totally coated and covered. Seal and leave in the fridge overnight – 24 hours is good.
- Pour off the marinade.
- Pat each piece dry so that it doesn’t drip everywhere.
- Place onto the trays of food dehydrator
- Set dehydrator to 75 C and turn on
It will take about 4 – 6 hours for the beef to dry.
How do you know when it is done? Take a piece out of the dryer after about 4 hours and let it cool. Test it by bending. It should be flexible and softish. You should be able to bend it to about 90 degrees and not have any juices come out.
Store in a sealed container or bag. It will keep for several weeks or even months this way. I like to pack it into individual zip-lock bags and store in a basket in the freezer. That way it’s ready for hubby to grab when he is going out.