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Experimenting with jerky

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  • bshee Aug 16, 2013 09:12 AM

First off, what is your favorite cut of beef to use with jerky?

Also, what are some interesting ways of changing up jerky? I'm thinking of marinating, smoking for 4 hrs, and then rehydrating in the marinate for an hour or two, and then throw it in the dehydrator for a couple hours.

Or maybe reduce the marinate and brush the jerky midway through dehydrating?

How about dehydrating, boiling it in reduced marinate and then dehydrating?

Any thoughts?

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  1. Keep jerkey simple. Lean top sirloin or eye-round cut into 1/2 inch strips, dry rub + liquid smoke + low-sodium teriyaki or Worcestershire-soy marinade, overnight marinade in fridge. Dehydrate in oven or using dehydrator.

    Boiling meat, even after dehydration and in a reduced marinade, is going to do strange things to texture and taste.

    Experiment more with the dry rub and marinade and perfect the dehydration. Nothing else matters. Not even so much the meat if it's lean. Fat does not dehydrate well and will cause jerky to spoil/go rancid pretty quickly.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rigmaster

      I think the meat has to be very lean, or it can turn rancid quickly. I prefer London broil, rump or eye round. For huge flavor, I like a liquid marinade with very little added water, sliced just under 1/4" thick and marinated for at least 8-10 hours before it hits the dehydrator. Also, I typically let it hang out in the smoker after dehydrating. I may be wrong, but I believe dry meat sucks up the smoke better. Now I'm salivating.

    2. I use a well trimmed brisket flat, sliced thin across the grain.

      Marinate overnight in my mom's seasoning salt, (paprika based), soy sauce, red pepper flakes.

      Lay them flat on paper towels and daub dry and then apply a liberal amount of coarse black pepper.

      Into the dehydrator and voila.

      (I may have to do this over the weekend.)

      1. I've used London Broil. I think that's from the Round. It's very lean (a little fat cap along the edges) and no gristle so there's a high utilization rate. Also, London Broil is often a sales item so you save a few bucks.

        As to your multi-step approach, it depends upon what you're looking for in the final product. A glazed jerky?

        Personally, I like to keep it straightforward where I marinade and dehydrate. I like the jerky fairly dry to the touch.

        1. i made jerky once for my sister to take to camp

          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
          1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
          hung it tooth picks and sllllllooow cooked it in the oven at 200 for something like 8 hours over a foil pan to catch the drippings

          2 Replies
          1. re: girloftheworld

            Thanks guys. I've just wondering how it is to get a maximally flavorful jerky!

            I'm thinking of leave it in the fridge overnight, to make the meat nice and dry and ready to absorb the marinade.

            Marinade overnight.

            Smoke for 4 hrs on low heat.

            Transfer to dehydrator.

            I'll save a slab that I'll remarinate after smoking and see what happens!

            Not over complicating it am I?

            1. re: bshee

              My son has been making delicious jerky for years, and all he does is rub it with a dry rub, or brush on some teriyaki sauce, hang it from the oven racks with a cookie sheet below, and leave it there for hours at 200'.
              That's what I call not complicated.

          2. A nice way to spice up jerky is to try different meats. Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Fish, Kangaroo?

            Always loved turkey jerky.

            3 Replies
            1. re: NekoNekoFancyPants

              my grandfather gets fabulous jerky from South Africa a place called Cappies..it called belton I think it is antelope..

              1. re: girloftheworld

                That would be "biltong."

                1. re: ferret

                  thank you :)

            2. I buy the whole chuck, then break it down by muscles and slice. Chuck has amazing flavor, and works great for jerky. Used to always use round, but chuck trumps round. Dry rub and dehydrate. Works great! Tri-tip is also nice!

              3 Replies
              1. re: primebeefisgood

                Hmm different meats is a great idea! Will definitely try! Guess I'm getting too enthused with this project of mine. I don't get much time to be creative anymore. I think the one variable I'll play around with this time is marinate time. One set I'll marinate for 1 day, and I'll compare with a 2 day marinaded jerky set.

                1. re: bshee

                  dont marinade too long or your meat will fall apart

                  1. re: girloftheworld

                    I've seen a lot of recipes recommend 2 days of marinade so I thin it should be fine. One of them does have cola in it,,,the acid might break it apart too much. Thanks for the warning!

              2. I use eye of round, trimmed of all fat and usually marinated with apple cider vinegar, soy sauce and a little bit of sauce. Then dehydrate. I've experimented with very thin sliced and thicker pieces....still haven't found the exact perfect thickness, but working on it!

                1. I'm intrigued by this topic. I don't have a dehydrator. Does an oven work just as well? Any tips on a good seasoning or marinade?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    Yes oven can work, try using it at the lowest temp setting (~200) or warm if it gets up to at least 160 or so. Teriyaki sauce never fails to please, very consistent!

                  2. i just look for a cheap lean cut with little or no marbling. lately that is london broil and the grocery meat dept will slice it up for free. tell them what you want it for. i use any fatty edges for stir fry.
                    to me using top sirloin, flank or brisket is kind of a waste. i was just at costco and whole briskets in cryovac were over $4/lb. meat shrinks way down so i don't think you are saving over the commercial product but you do wind up with a superior custom product with no chemically taste.
                    vietnamese sweet jerky is good and unusual and what i make lately.
                    biltong i think is much bigger and thicker than jerky, less spiced.
                    incidentally i had a kindle fire problem and was talking to an indian guy. he transfered me to a women, turned out she was in south africa. love that accent.