Jerky is made from dehydrated meat, game or poultry. One of the most common types of jerky is beef. Although beef jerky is a convenience store staple, you can make it at home with a few ingredients or special equipment. Since the beef goes through an extensive drying process to get its tough and chewy texture, it requires a hearty cut of beef. Flank steak is the cut of meat found between the hips and ribs of a cow. It's a good choice for home jerky making because it's affordable and tough enough to withstand dehydration.
Things You'll Need
- 2 lbs. flank steak
- Sharp knife
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. pepper
- Gallon-sized plastic storage bag
- Glass baking dish
- Wire rack
- Paper towel
- Aluminum foil
Position a knife so it faces the opposite direction of the lines across the top of the meat (known as the grain), then cut the flank steak into slices as thinly as possible. Cutting against the grain of the meat instead of in the same direction makes the slices more tender.
Add 2/3 cup soy sauce, 2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp. honey, 2 tsp. onion powder and 2 tsp. pepper to a gallon-sized plastic storage bag. Tightly secure the bag and use your hands to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
Open the bag and add the flank steak slices, making sure the mixture evenly coats all of the meat. Start near the bottom of the bag and use your hand to get rid of the air inside the bag, then tightly secure it.
Place the plastic bag into a large glass baking dish. Position the bag so it lies completely flat across the bottom of the dish, then store in the refrigerator for at least three hours (or up to six hours to give the meat a more intense flavor).
Position a wire rack on top of a layer of paper towels, then take the meat out of the bag and place it evenly across the wire rack. Leave the meat on the rack until the liquid stops dripping (the time can vary depending on how long the meat was soaking).
Turn your oven on its lowest temperature, then add the meat strips directly onto the oven rack. Keep the oven door slightly ajar so air can get into the oven. If it won't stay open, crumple up aluminum foil and use it as a door stop.
Keep the meat in the oven for a minimum of eight hours if you want a chewier jerky. Leave it in for an additional four hours (12 hours total) if you want a tougher jerky. Remove the beef jerky and store in an airtight container (beef jerky doesn't have a definite expiration date, so you can safely consume as long as it doesn't grow mold).
Tips & Warnings
- Chill the flank steak in the freezer for about one hour to firm it up and make slicing easier. If you have a commercial dehydrator, place the steak strips on its rack instead of using your oven.
- Do not turn the oven above the lowest setting or you risk burning the meat instead of dehydrating it.
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