Beef jerky is an expensive snack to purchase in a shop, coming in at around £1.10 to £3.00 for circa 70g, the bag lasts but a few minutes. But, it doesn’t have to be like this as it is an incredibly easy and inexpensive snack to make and as it is packed with protein it is very light in calories so it’s a win, win situation.
The word “jerky” comes from a South American native tribe called the Quechua, originally part of the ancient Inca empire, as early as 1550. They called it ch’arki, which means “to burn (meat)”.
To begin with grab yourself some Silverside, I regularly choose this cut because it is very lean, as you can see I grabbed a rather large piece but any size will do, it all depends on how hungry you are.
I recommend that you get to know your local butcher as they can provide a wider variety of good, locally sourced product and in many cases at similar or lower prices than the supermarkets. If you’re near to Frome, Somerset then pop along to Owen in @penleighfarm1 he’s a true gent.
If you’re OK with a knife you need to trim up the joint so that there is no fat left, after all, it’s beef jerky and not fat jerky.
If you ask the butcher to fully trim the joint they’ll be only too happy to oblige, even the ones in the supermarkets; but bear in mind you will still likely pay the price of the weight of the beef with the fat still on it which is absolutely right in my mind.
Next, assemble the spices or flavours that you wish your finished product to provide.
I’ve used many combinations since first making this jerky but never repeated the same combination as this is the first time I have written it down, for this version I went with equal ratios of:
- Basil (dried)
- Habanero Chilli Flakes
- Smoky Chipotle Flakes
- Black Pepper (freshly ground)
- Soy Sauce (light) (1/2 cup or 5 fl oz)
- Worcester Sauce (1/2 cup or 5 fl oz)
- Honey (acacia) (1/2 cup or 5 fl oz)
Slice the beef, use a good sharp knife and if possible long strokes, the width can be any you desire, bear in mind we’re using the dehydration method here so you will have some shrinkage, as opposed to the air dried method (I may cover that one another time) but I prefer this.
I’ve tried cutting the slices 3mm thick all the way up to 13mm, obviously the cooking time increases as they get thicker but that’s just a management thing for you to control.
Place each slice of beef into the marinade and ensure you fully coat the beef, add more and repeat. Place Cling film over the bowl and place in the fridge for 24hrs
After the 24 hrs is up, remove from the fridge and let the beef get to room temperature, about 20 minutes, this will give time for the oven to pre-heat to approximately 80C or 175F.
Lay the meat out onto a wire rack ensuring that there is no overlap anywhere, the slices can touch but overlapping will cause that part to fail to dehydrate, ensure you have foil underneath otherwise you’ll be scraping dried up honey from your pan for weeks.
As each hour pass just open the oven door and close it a couple of times to allow any steam to escape, you’re aiming for something akin to the photo below, you don’t want it to be brittle, you want some flexibility in it. As you repeat this method you will learn and decide what length of time is right for you.
This took 4 1/2 hrs in a normal oven (NOT fan assisted).
Remove and allow to cool on the wire rack before placing on a chopping board and portioning up.
Once complete, I vacuum seal the finished product using resealable (zip lock type bags) so the family just attack a snack and vacuum seal it again, simple.
That’s it, it really is as simple as stated and a great way to make lunch box snacks that are incredibly healthy. #MrsParlez wouldn’t go near a shop bought jerky but she is by far the largest abuser of attacking the fridge for this snack, try it, you’ll love it.
Any questions fire away or simply respond on #Twitter via the #ParlezPantry hashtag.