Beef jerky is one of my favorite foods, but it is expensive to buy and all those added things in it make it touchy for someone trying to avoid preservatives. So this week I decided to try and make some on my own. I adapted a recipe found at Beef Jerky Recipes. The length of time from start to finish is quite extensive, but most of that time you are not actually touching anything, so it’s truly not that bad. There is a cost savings, probably even better than I got with a cheaper meat, but still it is cheaper. Here is where I hit you with some math:
Cost of a 4 oz bag of Jack Links beef jerky: $5.99 or $1.49/oz.
I bought an angus roast that was on sale. This is probably a more expensive cut, but it wasn’t too bad with the sale price, so I picked it up.
Cost of a 4 lb. roast on sale: $16.25
Cost of ingredients for marinade: $4.50
The total yield of jerky from a 4 lb. roast is 3 lbs 2 oz. (Yes I used a scale to weigh this!).
Total cost of 50 oz. of homemade beef jerky: $20.75 or $0.41/oz.
What a savings!! It costs over 3 times more to buy jerky in the store, and like I said it’s really not that hard to make. You don’t even need a dehydrator to do it. So if you have never attempted this before, give it a try. Just be sure to hide the results or you may find it is all gone before you even get the chance to eat some yourself.
4 lb. Beef Roast
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 1/4 c. Soy Sauce
1 c. Honey
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tsp. Salt
5 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Freeze beef for about an hour to stiffen up the roast. This will make it much easier to slice. Mix all other ingredients together in a large bowl. Remove roast from the freezer and slice into thin pieces. Add meat to marinade and allow to soak for 12-24 hours. The longer it soaks, the better the flavor will be. Once your meat is marinaded and you are ready to dehydrate your jerky, pre-heat oven to 175 degrees. If your oven doesn’t go that low, 200 degrees will work as well, just keep an eye on things. Cover your bottom oven rack with aluminum foil, and lay your beef pieces on the top rack (no foil or anything on this rack). If you are cooking a smaller amount of beef, you can also lay the pieces on a cooling rack set inside a cookie sheet. I have found it is best to lift the meat up so it doesn’t end up sitting in it’s own juices. Bake for 3-6 hours depending on how chewy you like your beef. I like mine really chewy, so I was closer to 6 hours, but I checked on it every half hour after the first 3 hours. You want your beef to be able to bend without snapping, otherwise it won’t be enjoyable to eat.