The Paleo diet has grown into fashion in recent years over concerns with obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments associated with our eating habits. In kind, many people are opting to cut processed foods out of their lives and switch to a more natural diet based on our ancestors’ eating habits.
Beef jerky should not be left out of the equation, as jerky was an essential part of the hunter-gather lifestyle in the Americas.
Step 1: Select a Lean Meat
The following beef jerky recipe uses a food dehydrator to prepare the meat. Also, you should use the healthiest possible beef if you are choosing this recipe for health benefits. Grass-fed, organic cuts of beef work best: two and a half pounds of lean meat (either London broil, flank steak, or ribeye are optimal).
Step 2: Slice the Meat
Although you can opt to use a meat slicer to ensure ¼ inch-thick slices of beef, this is an homage to our natural instincts, so better to use your hands. Actually, whatever you prefer and is easier for you will be fine.
Step 3: Store the Meat
As with any jerky recipe, storing the beef in the freezer for around an hour will help you to slice it in a more uniform fashion. It’s also easier on your hands.
Once your meat is cut, you should place the strips into a container and set them aside.
Step 4: Prepare Your Marinade
To prepare your marinade, place the following into a large, microwave-safe bowl and mix them well:
- 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke, garlic powder, and onion powder
- 2/3 cup of tamari sauce
- ¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 cup of hot water
- ½ tablespoon of cayenne pepper
Place the container in the microwave for a minute to let the flavors soak together.
Step 5: Mix the Meat with the Marinade
When your marinade is ready and out of the microwave, pour it onto the container with your beef strips and shake it thoroughly. Cover the bowl and place into the fridge for a minimum of six hours (a full day if possible).
When your meat has been marinated, remove the bowl from the fridge and place the strips into a colander for rinsing. Use hot water to remove all excess from the beef.
Once your beef is rinsed, it’s time to prepare your dehydrator.
Step 6: Dry the Meat for Approximately 4 Hours
First, place the strips onto the machine’s racks, giving them adequate space between each other for air circulation. Then, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of red pepper flakes onto the meat for spice. If you don’t like spicy food, then you can use black pepper instead.
Set the dehydrator to 160° F and its timer to four hours. Because all dehydrators are slightly different, the actual length of time will vary per model, so be sure to keep an eye on your jerky as it dries.
To test your jerky, bend it in half. If it cracks a bit, then it is ready. If it snaps, you overcooked it. Don’t fear, though, as even overcooked beef jerky can be delicious.
Step 7: Cool the Meat
When the meat is fully dry, leave the strips in a cool room to dry.
If you aren’t going to eat all the meat at once, store the finished beef jerky in a large Ziploc bag. You should cover the strips with a paper towel on both sides to absorb moisture that will spoil your meat. If you don’t plan on finishing them soon, you can place the Ziploc into the fridge.