Beef jerky is a favorite of hunters, fishers and hikers as a good source of protein when out on an adventure. But purchasing it from the store is expensive, and making it yourself can be a long process. Try making ground beef jerky, a less expensive and faster alternative to other types of jerky. Ground beef is readily available at grocery stores, and with a little seasoning and a dehydrator, you can use it to make beef jerky full of protein and seasoned the way that you like it.

Things You'll Need

Place raw ground beef, not frozen, in a bowl. Add your seasonings to that bowl. You can find a variety of pre-mixed seasonings in your baking aisle or a sportsman’s store. If you plan on using your own seasonings, some good options are cracked pepper, cayenne pepper for a kick, rosemary or garlic powder for a more savory jerky or any other combination you come up with. For a pound of meat, put about 2 teaspoons of each seasoning in the bowl; the flavors will become duller through the dehydrating process, so you may need to over-season.

Begin mixing the meat with the spices in the bowl. Because you want the meat and spices to be fully combined, the best way to mix is with your hands. Remove your jewelry and reach in, kneading the spices and meat together for a thorough mixing.

Spray your work surface with cooking spray, and load some of the meat directly onto the counter. Use the rolling pin to roll it out very thinly, about 1/8-inch thick. If you have holes in the meat as you roll it out, just patch it with a small amount from the bowl for a smoother surface. Remember that the thinner you roll the meat, the faster it will dry.

Utilize a sharp knife to cut the rolled out ground beef into strips. You can make the strips as short or long as you wish. Make each strip about an inch and a half in width, taking the size of the machine trays into consideration.

Slide a spatula under the jerky strips to carefully lift them off of the work surface, and into the dehydrator, which has been prepared with cooking spray. The strips should not touch or overlap, but remember that the meat will shrink considerably while drying.

Load all of the strips onto the dehydrator trays, and plug in the dehydrator. Leave for about five to six hours, checking frequently and flipping the jerky once it begins to harden, about halfway through the drying process.

Store your newly made jerky in an airtight container.