Recently, I've had this desire to do more things with my bare hands. From fixing things to cooking things from scratch. Maybe it's a primal instinct that has taken over my mindset. I'm not sure the reasoning, but I like it!
One of the things I've always wanted to do was to create my own beef jerky. Besides eating my favorite packaged beef jerky from Wild Bill's, I grew up loving the home made beef Jerky from Laudermilch's in my hometown! It was fresh, tender, and of course, delicious.
I decided it was finally time to give it a try, and bought a food dehydrator. I looked up a couple of different recipe's, but I decided to try out Alton Brown's recipe. Here it is:
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak
- 2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Special Equipment: 1 box fan, 4 paper air-conditioning filters, and 2 bungee cords
Trim the flank steak of any excess fat, place in a zip-top bag, and place it in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours in order to firm up.
Remove the steak from the freezer and thinly slice the meat with the grain, into long strips.
Place the strips of meat along with all of the remaining ingredients into a large, 1-gallon plastic zip-top bag and move around to evenly distribute all of the ingredients. Place the bag into the refrigerator for 3 to 6 hours.
Remove the meat from the brine and pat dry. Evenly distribute the strips of meat onto 3 of the air filters, laying them in the grooves and then stacking the filters on top of one another. Top these with 1 empty filter. Next, lay the box fan on its side and lay the filters on top of it. Strap the filters to the fan with 2 bungee cords. Stand the fan upright, plug in and set to medium. Allow the meat dry for 8 to 12 hours. If using a commercial dehydrator, follow the manufacturer's directions.
Once dry, store in a cool dry place, in an airtight container for 2 to 3 months.
Alton used a fun method of a box fan and air filters, but I used my dehydrator. Anyways, here are some photos of my process.
The beef jerky came out pretty well for my first try. The thinner pieces were done in 3 hours. The thicker cuts took about 6 hours. I enjoyed the flavor and tasted the worcestershire sauce a little more then I thought I would. Also, I decided to not cut the excess fat, only because I knew I would be devouring the beef jerky quickly. It was pretty delicious! All in all, it was a fun, easy, and a long process. I'm excited to try out a couple different marinades in the future. Perhaps a fun Vietnamese Thit Bo Luc Lac or a Korean Bulgogi marinade... or perhaps a spicy one! I'll post about those experiments in the future!