Tough cuts of meat tend to be cheaper, as they lack the juicy tenderness of more expensive cuts. Tenderizing these cheaper bits of meat before cooking allows you to use them in a variety of dishes. The best way to tenderize beef for jerky is by marinating it, as jerky needs flavor. The marinade should contain at least one acidic ingredient to help break down the muscle tissue in the meat and make it tender.
Things You'll Need
Sharp kitchen knife
Shallow glass or plastic dish
Place the beef in the freezer for a couple of hours to make it easier to slice.
Slice the beef as thinly as possible with a sharp knife.
Mix the marinade well in a bowl. Use an acidic ingredient such as vinegar, wine or lemon juice. Add salt, pepper and herbs such as paprika or thyme, as well as olive oil. Beef jerky is often marinated in soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar to give it a sweet, spicy flavor. Use roughly 1/3 cup each of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and olive oil per pound of meat, as well as 1 tsp. of each of the herbs and spices.
Place the meat in a shallow dish and cover it entirely with the marinade. The dish should be made of glass or plastic, as the acidic component of the marinade can react badly with metal.
Cover the dish with a lid or plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to marinate overnight, or for a minimum of eight hours. After this time, the jerky meat is ready to be oven-dried.
Do not reuse the marinade, as it might contain bacteria that comes from the raw meat. You can however, use it to cook the meat in, or boil it to use it as a sauce for the meat. If you’re using ground meat for jerky, use a dry rub, as it won’t need to be tenderized by using liquids.