Beef jerky is a low-calorie, low-fat and high-protein snack. The dried meat treat is great for camping, hiking and travel because it is portable and needs no refrigeration. For some people, one downside of beef jerky is its toughness. With the right cut and a little seasoning, it is easy to make beef jerky that is tender and not so chewy.
Freeze 2 lbs. of lean beef—either flank steak, round steak or sirloin tip. The meat will be easier to cut when it is firm.
Trim any fat from the meat. Cut the meat across the grain into long strips that are 1-inch wide and 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Cutting the meat across the grain will result in a jerky that is tender and less chewy.
Marinate the meat using the recipe of your choosing. If the recipe does not call for it, add 1 tsp. meat tenderizer to give the meat additional tenderness. Cover and refrigerate the marinated meat for at least eight hours or overnight.
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Dry the meat in an oven or dehydrator. If using an oven, remove the racks and preheat to 150 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the meat directly on the oven rack and put back in the oven. Dry the meat for six to 10 hours. For the first few hours, leave the oven door slightly open.
If using a dehydrator, set it to its highest settings and dry for at least four hours.
Cool the jerky on paper towels. Pat any fat drippings with another paper towel to remove them. Store the jerky in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container.
Based in Omaha, Neb., Amy Adkins has been a professional writer and editor since 2001. She writes primarily on the topic of health and health care and has experience in marketing communications, public relations, corporate communication and technical writing. She received her Master of Arts degree in communication from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.