Strips of beef jerky on a grill

How Do You Know When Beef Jerky Is Fully Cooked?

Making your own beef jerky at home can be a great experience. Beyond saving yourself money buying store bought brands or having the ability to adjust flavors to your liking, everything “homemade” just seems to taste better.

Well, that is, if you follow the recipes and know what you are doing.

One of the biggest concerns about making your own jerky, whether you use the oven or a dehydrator, comes from knowing exactly when the jerky is finished.

Looking for a cheap way to marinate meats? Then, cruise right past the bottled marinades at the store, and make your own instead. Sure, you probably know that the enzymes in marinades break down fibers and tenderize meats. They also enhance the flavor of meats. But that doesn’t mean you have to pay high grocery store prices for marinades. Your homemade marinade will serve these two functions just as well as commercial varieties, and you’ll save money. Here’s what you can do to make your own marinade.

However, this timeframe is a rough window that depends on a great number of factors.

For starters, the type of meat you use, its thickness, and fat content will also play a role in how long the dehydration will take.

The method you use, whether an oven or dehydrator, will also impact the length of time it takes your beef to get ready. The temperature settings you employ on either your oven or dehydration machine will also factor in. While its usually preferable to set your temperature around 160° F (71° C), you may have success preparing the meat at lower settings.

Another factor, although a minimal one, is the type of seasonings you use to make your marinade. What is more important, however, is how well you drained the beef strips of excess marinade before you place them into the fire.

So, how do you know when the jerky is finished?

It’s quite simple, actually. Jerky that is ready for storage or consumption will be stiff to the point where the meat bends in the middle. If it breaks, then it was overcooked. If it doesn’t bend, then you need to leave the strips in for a little longer.

When making your own delicious dried meat snacks at home, you must be sure to keep an eye on the meat at regular intervals, even if you are sticking closely to one of our recipes. There is no guarantee that your jerky will take four, five, or six hours as no two ovens or dehydrators run at the same temperatures and no two strips of beef are made equal, even if they are slices at exact measurements.