It's easy to make incredibly good beef jerky at home, and the secret is to start with excellent quality, lean cuts of meat.
Top round roasts, brisket and rump roast are all excellent cuts for beef jerky, and relatively inexpensive. Also, these cuts are hard to find in grocery stores, but are always on sale on Crowd Cow.
For around 1 pound of finished beef jerky, you'll want to start with 4 pounds of meat.
1) Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a large glass bowl.
- 1 cup of low-sodium soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked salt (if you don't have smoked salt, you can use any other salt)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Some recipes call for a tablespoon of brown sugar, but if you like beef jerky on the savory end, you can skip that. Black pepper is great too, but save that for after you've spread the beef out in the dehydrator.
2) Thin-slice the round roast into 1/4 to 1/8 inch slices.
I used to avoid making jerky because the stress around how to thin-slice the beef always caused me to procrastinate. Not anymore! This Stainless Steel Jerky Maker Cutting Board on Amazon makes it incredibly easy. It works great on completely thawed meat too.
3) Add the meat to the bowl and marinate for at least an hour.
I made this beef jerky last night after marinating in the fridge for 1.5 hours and it was great. You can also marinate overnight.
4) Spread the strips in a dehydrator and cover with coursely-ground black pepper to taste
This dehydrator by Hamilton Beach ($39) is the best-selling dehydrator on Amazon. I use a similar one and it does a fantastic job.
It's also possible to perform this step in an oven set to 175 degrees, but I strongly prefer the even drying power and convenience of a dedicated dehydrator.