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Video:How to Make Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator

with Jason Phipps

Homemade beef jerky is delicious and is really easy to make if you've got a dehydrator. This video from About.com will show you how to make beef jerky with a dehydrator.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Make Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator

Hi, I'm Jason Phipps for About.com, and today I'm going to show you how to safely make jerky in a dehydrator.  

Making jerky will take a day or two. Today I'll be demonstrating with a basic beef jerky, but you can use chicken or wild game. If you have wild game, freeze the meat completely. This will kill any parasites. And always defrost frozen meat in the refrigerator, not on the kitchen counter. 

Beef Jerky Ingredients

You'll need:

  • 1 beef round steak (about 5 pounds) cut 2 inches thick, trimmed of fat
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • spice rub of choice 

Brining the Beef

First, we'll prepare the brine. Brining, or salting the meat, will not only flavor the jerky, but will also kill bacteria and act as a preservative. In a bowl, mix the water, salt, molasses, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper. Set aside. 

When choosing meat for jerky, select only the leanest cuts of meat and remove all visible fat, as fat can become rancid. Place the meat and brine into into a large, gallon-size zip-top bag. Seal and squish the contents until thoroughly combined. Squeeze out the air, and seal. Refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight. Always brine meat in the refrigerator.  

The next day, remove the steak and pat dry. Discard the brine. You should never reuse brine. 

Slice the Beef

Place steak on a tray and freeze 30 to 45 minutes, until ice crystals just begin to form. Meat should be firm, but not frozen solid. Partially frozen meat is easier to slice into thin strips. Slice into strips 1/4-inch thick. For chewy jerky, cut strips along the grain. For more tender jerky, slice against the grain. Thicker slices will take longer to dry than thin ones. Try to keep your strips as uniform in size as possible for even drying.  

Roasting the Meat

Put into a casserole dish and season with your favorite spice rub. Next, we're going to roast the meat. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends heating beef to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and chicken to 165 degrees before drying to kill any remaining bacteria. Most dehydrators won't get hot enough to kill bacteria. 

Cover with foil, and place into a 300 degree oven. Use a meat thermometer to verify the temperature. Alternatively, you can steam the meat. While the beef is roasting, start the dehydrator and bring the temperature to at least 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the beef is 160 degrees, take it out and lay the strips in a single layer on the dehydrator trays at least 1/2-inch apart. 

Finish Beef Jerky in the Dehydrator

Follow dehydrator's manufacturer directions to dry. Use paper towels to blot any rising oils from the surface. Jerky should be dry to the touch and as pliable as a green stick. It should not break cleanly. This doneness test should be performed after the jerky has cooled. Jerky will weigh approximately one-fourth its original raw weight. Most brined jerky can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer for 2 to 3 months.  

Thanks for watching. I'm Jason Phipps with About.com. For more recipes like this, please visit food.About.com.

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