Food dehydrators are quite handy for jerky, as the central theme of making beef jerky is removing the water from it and drying it out. However, the oven in your kitchen can serve the very same task, and to a high level of quality as well.
Because the oven is not primed for the dehydration process exactly, you must take note of how much air can circulate inside it. Although heat is crucial to making most food, for jerky, you need low humidity. As such, with arm air, the beef strips will stay dry, but they will also stay wet if the air is not moving.
The below process involves using your home’s oven to prepare beef jerky, taking into careful consideration the flavor of the meat. The marinade recipe listed below won the top-of-the-class in Neil Strauss’ research polling jerky experts and testing the resulting tastes for his
Neil Strauss - Publisher: It Books - Paperback: 432 pages
Note that this marinade can be used with any jerky method, but it has been specialized here for use in the oven.
You should expect to spend about 15 minutes preparing your meat and marinade for this recipe, another 24 hours to marinate the beef, and another 24 hours for the drying and cooling process to complete.
As mentioned in the recipe for the dehydrator, your first step is slightly freezing your beef so that you can slice your meat into similarly thick strips much easier. You should place your five pounds of lean brisket (or whatever cut you have chosen) in the freezer for about an hour. Then, you’ll slice the beef along the grains to a quarter of an inch thick.
If you have apprehensions about your slicing ability, you can always ask your butcher to slice the meat for you. Remember that when making jerky in any method, the meat should be as lean as possible. This means removing all excess fat and using the thinnest possible slices of beef.
Once the meat is prepared, it is time to make your marinade.
Mix the ingredients in a large bowl. They are: 2 cups of soy sauce, 2 cups of teriyaki sauce, 2 cups of Worcestershire sauce, 1 cup of liquid smoke, and a half cup of dark corn syrup.
After, you need to mix in: 3 tablespoons of garlic powder, onion powder, sesame seeds, and brown sugar. The final ingredient in the marinade is 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper (add a little more if you want the jerky spicier).
Once the marinade is finished, you should fully submerge your beef strips in the mixture. Next, cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for 24 hours.
The next day, you will then place aluminum foil at the bottom of your oven to prevent the sauce from leaking onto its surface (or use the cooling rack/cookie sheet combo we explained earlier).
Then, lay the beef strips out onto your oven’s racks in a way that gives them enough room to breathe between one another. The rack should be placed as high up in the oven as possible.
At the ideal temperature of 160°F, you’ll let the beef dry inside the oven for around three hours on one side and three hours on the other (turn it over halfway through). In order to dry the meat but not cook it, you need to devise a way to keep the over door slightly ajar. The best way to do this is by placing a large wooden spoon at the top of the oven’s door.
As always, check on your jerky in regular intervals. Although six hours (three on one side and three on the other) is a good estimation, many factors will determine the overall length, including your beef’s thickness and your oven’s overall temperature.
Once the meat has dried so that you can grab a piece of it off and bend it without snapping the strip, your jerky is ready. The last step before you can start devouring this tasty dried meat snack is to let the strips cool, so they can dry. Your maximum window of drying is 24 hours, but you can reduce this if you want the jerky a little less dry.
Store the homemade beef jerky in Ziploc bags or completely demolish it all at once, it is up to you. Your jerky is now finished, using nothing more than your own oven.