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Thursday, March 3, 2011


Spicy, Smoky Beef Jerky

I’ve always loved beef jerky, I know for sure that if you’ve ever tried a decent piece of the dried meat, you love it too. Sadly, it’s kind of expensive—okay, VERY expensive—and most of the time, the meat contains sodium nitrate. Knowing my love for jerky, it isn’t hard to believe that I came across a recipe on how to make some. Chances are, if I want to go make something (in the kitchen, that is) I go straight to Alton Brown on the Good Eats show. Now, of course I don’t agree with all his food choices, but I do like the fact that he explains how as well as why he does what he does. I adapted this recipe to my preference, and the next time I’ll most likely adapt it even more. Here’s what I did...

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak
  • 2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (Yummm)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

First, I went and bought some flank steak. Organic is expensive. Maybe next time I’ll use a less expensive cut.

I “Kosherized” it by
  1. Trimming off any fat (flank steak is supposed to have almost none at all, however mine had quite a bit)
  2. Letting it soak in water for 30 min.
  3. then coating it with Kosher Salt and letting it sit on a wire rack for 1 hour.
  4. Then rinsing the meat

This meat wasn't Kosher meat (No symbol on the packaging) so we took an extra step to ensure any blood would be removed. (Genesis 9:4)  For more information on Biblical Healthy Eating Guidelines, click here.

Oh, and don't expect the meat to turn gray after doing this, most of the red color in the meat after it has been processed is not blood (contrary to what I had been told). I did a little research and here is what I found.

Meat are mainly referred as red or dark and white meat. Red or dark meat is mainly made up of muscles with fibers that are called slow fibers. These muscles are used for extended periods of activity, such as standing or walking and need a consistent energy source. The protein myoglobin stores oxygen in muscle cells, which use oxygen to extract the energy needed for constant activity. Myoglobin is a richly pigmented protein. The more myoglobin there is in the cells, the redder or darker, the meat is. Red meat is red because the muscle fibers that make up the bulk of the meat contain a high content of myoglobin, which are colored red. Myoglobin, a protein similar to hemoglobin in red blood cells, acts as a store for oxygen within the muscle fibers.

White meat is made up of muscles with fibers that are called fast fibers. Fast fibers muscles are used for quick bursts of activity, such as fleeing from danger. These muscles get energy from glycogen, which is also stored in the muscles. White meat as in fish has a translucent "glassy" quality when it is raw. Animal such as calf and pigs are also categorized as white meat. Veal meat is white because it is slaughtered after the calf been milk fed, approximately up to one year old. Pigs are lazy animal; they are not as active as cows, so their body contains more fat than any other animal. White meat is white because there is less usage in the muscle. Myoglobin content is low in these muscles. This is why chicken breast, pork and veal are slightly pink or white, before or after cooked. Fish is white because it lives in water and does not need to support its own body weight. Basically, there are no myoglobins in these muscles.

The difference between meat and fish muscle tissue is that there is no tough connective tissue between the muscles and bones. For more information, read more here

Okay, back to the recipe...

  • I then placed the flank steak in the freezer for about 1 hour. (Leave it in for about 2 hours, you’ll see why in a minute)

  • The object is to cut the meat into then strips with the grain of the meat. This is a whole lot easier to do if the meat is semi frozen.
  • Put the rest of the ingredients in a freezer bag with the meat strips, seal, and mix thoroughly. (I forgot to get some onion powder, but please don't forget the Worcestershire sauce or the soy sauce!) Let sit in the refrigerator for more than 3, but not more than 6 hours. The longer the stronger you will taste the marinade, and the saltier flavor you will taste. Trust me, 4-5 hours is plenty.
  • I let the meat sit in the mixture from 5 or 6 in the evening so that right before I went to bed I stick them in the dehydrator. You will need a bunch of paper towels or paper napkins to pat the meat strips dry. We, unfortunately, did not have any at the time and so I was forced to use two cloth napkins. I probably stained them and they didn’t work too well either. :/
  • Lay them out on the dehydrator and set it to run for 8 hours or so. After 8 hours, if they're not ready, flip them over and run for another 4-8 hours.
  • Originally, the Good Eats: Jerky Episode showed you how to put the meat strips in clean home furnace filters stacked and hooked up to a fan. I personally disliked the idea of using furnace filters (who knows what they use to make those). The theory behind it was that warm air used by most dehydrators actually cook the food while they dry it. While that is true, we have a nice feature on our really awesome dehydrator to actually turn off the heat all together. If you don’t, that’s fine though.
  • Once the jerky is stiff but bends like a willow it is ready to eat. You can stick it in the refrigerator for longer shelf life.

    Enjoy!  ~ Zachary

    To find the original recipe please click here, it is found on the Food Network site.

    Note from Mama:  Zachary loves to try new recipes in the kitchen, we are blessed knowing that he loves learning back-to-basic skills.

    If you've tried making jerky before, what marinades have you used?

    This recipe was shared with Simple Lives


    1. Mmm.... seriously what a way to make my mouth water!! Looks scrumptious! I'll be over for lunch! ;-)

    2. When I was around 7 years old back in the early 60's, my parents made some jerky and put it in gallon jugs in the back of the cabinet. My brother, who was 3, and I would send in our toddler sister to swipe jerky. Mom through our little sister was allergic to something because she had such red eyes, then she caught her. The jerky was seasoned with cayenne,and being little she rubbed her eyes. Well we didn't have any jerky for that winter because we had eaten all but a few pieces. :)

    3. We made some jerky about ten years ago, and haven't made it since. I think because I was to lazy to figure out a really good marinade????
      Thanks for the recipe~My husband will love this!

    4. I will be trying this! Thanks for sharing it.


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