Beef jerky makes for the perfect grab and go snack. Not to mention it's health benefits! Beef jerky is dense in nutrients, packed with protein and low in fat.
Reasons to Love Beef Jerky
Jerky can have up to 15g of protein per serving and (depending on which beef you use) can by up to 98% fat-free. Choosing lean beef is a great choice for beef jerky. The less fat, the better for you and the longer the shelf life.
Jerky is not only easy to make, but it makes for an even easier snack. Many other healthy snacks (fruits, vegetables, and other non-processed foods) have a short shelf life or don't hold up well in a backpack or purse, but beef jerky has a long shelf life and doesn't bruise or soften.
Note: Store-bought beef jerky does not have this benefit. Pre-made jerky is often expensive and comes in a small portion. However, when you make your own beef jerky it becomes a very affordable snack especially when you buy a quarter beef!
How to Make Your Own Beef Jerky
Choosing the Right Cut of Meat
The best cuts for homemade beef jerky are the eye of round, top round and bottom round. These are lean cuts that provide great flavor and texture for jerky and are cheap. *TIP* After you choose your cut, ask the butcher or deli attendant to slice the beef for you and trim excess fat which will bring the price of your beef down even more!
Prepping Your Beef
If you don't have the butcher slice your meat, it's easy to do yourself! Place the cut of meat in your freezer for 30-40 mins to flash-freeze the meat. This will make it easier to cut. Then remove the beef and using a sharp knife start cutting the beef into thin slices, about 1/8 inch thick. Make sure to trim all excess fat as the jerky will not last as long at room temperature with fat.
Once your beef is prepped place the beef strips in a glass bowl or baking dish with your marinade, cover and place beef in your fridge for at least 2 hours. For more intense flavor, marinate for up to 12 hours or even 24 hours (the longer you marinade the more flavor you'll have).
Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheets with tin foil and place a baking rack over it. Lay the beef in a single layer across the rack. Drain any marinade that drips through the rack before placing in the oven. Bake for 3-4 hours.
Check the jerky after 3 hours. If it looks done, remove a piece. Let it cool on a piece of paper towel and give it a taste!
Once beef is at the desired dryness, let cool and store in ziplock or Tupperware containers and enjoy!
Note: You can also use a food dehydrator.
Our Favorite Beef Jerky Recipes
1 cup of soy sauce
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
3 tbs vegetable oil
3 tbs onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbs cup brown sugar
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce