If you enjoy jerky, but hate paying the price of store-bought jerky you can make your own at home with a food dehydrator. Making your own jerky also allows you to experiment with your own marinades and control what ingredients go into your snack. Any ground meat can be used, but it should contain no more than 15 percent fat. Using a cookie press speeds up the process and makes thin strips, but you can also form the strips by hand.
Things You'll Need
Mix the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce or liquid smoke, sugar, garlic and pepper in the bowl to make the marinade.
Place the meat in the marinade and work the marinade through with your hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put the bowl in your refrigerator. Let the meat marinate for five hours.
Form the meat into strips about 1/4-inch thick and no more than one-half inch thick. Make the strips 5 to 6 inches long. If you have a cookie press, put the meat in the tub of the press, put on the ribbon form and squeeze the trigger of the press to form the strips.
Place the strips onto the trays of the dehydrator. Keep enough space in between strips for the air to flow.
Set the dehydrator to 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn on the dehydrator.
Pat the strips with a paper towel every hour to absorb any fat on top of the jerky. Dry the strips until they lift easily from the tray. This can take anywhere from 4 to 15 hours depending on how large your strips are and how wet the meat is.
References and ResourcesThe dehydrator book: Beef jerky dehydrator
Everything Kitchens: Beef jerky recipes
"Recipes & Instructions Nesco Food Dehydrator," Nesco American Harvest, 1998