Can I Dry Beef Jerky in an Oven?
Dehydrator Recommended, Not Necessary
Making beef jerky at home is very easy to do, and you don't even have to have a food dehydrator to do it. All you need are some basic pans, an oven, and a good recipe to go by. People have been making jerky for thousands of years as a way to preserve meat before there was refrigeration.
Jerky can be used for many different food preparation ideas. You might associate jerky with the expensive bags and packages in convenience stores, but you can make it at home and save a bit of money.
What Meat to Use for Jerky
It can usually be made from any lean meat, such as beef, venison, or turkey breast. You can even make jerky from fish, like salmon and halibut. Raw poultry is not recommended because of the low quality of the finished product.
If you're going to use pork or game for your homemade jerky, it's important to handle it correctly to ensure your safety from bacterial and parasites. In order to do this, the first step is to freeze the meat in portions less than 6 inches thick for twenty days.
Don't thaw the meat completely, as it'll be easier to cut the right thickness when it's firm. Slice the meat no thicker than a half an inch, and be sure to cut away all the fat, as it will become rancid.
How to Cut Meat for Jerky
You can cut the meat in one of two ways, or if you have enough meat to make a lot, you can try both styles and see which one you like best.
If you want stringy chewy jerky cut with the grain of the meat. That means that if you look at a piece of meat, you can see how the muscle tissue lays out, kind of like lines you see you see on a cut piece of wood. If you cut the meat with the grain, it will split down the length of the piece.
If you want jerky that breaks apart easily, it would be a good idea to cut across the grain instead. It just depends on how you like to eat your jerky.
Beef Jerky Recipes
One of the most abundant things you can find are recipes for making jerky, and it seems that anyone with an idea has one. If you want a good recipe for making a basic starter oven jerky, here is a recipe. For this and the next recipe, beef is used for the meat. They're good examples of making jerky without a dehdyrator.
Basic Oven Cooked Beef Jerky
- You will need one pound of top round steak, a half a cup each of liquid smoke and soy sauce.
- You will need 1 teaspoon each of black pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt.
- You will need a cooking rack, and an shallow baking pan.
- Trim all the fat from the meat, place in the freezer until firm.
- Slice into thin strips in the desired grain direction, place into a large but shallow bowl.
- Mix all the other ingredients well, pour over meat and place a weighted cover on like another plate and refrigerate 4-14 hours, drain and pat dry.
- Preheat the oven at 250 degrees, place meat on the rack in a single layer with none of the sides touching.
- Bake for 3-4 hours, or until dry to the touch, then remove from the oven and allow to air dry for 24hours then store in a sealed container.
This batch with make approximately 12 pieces.
Asian Beef Jerky
For a different Asian recipe, try this.
- Plan on two days for creating this unique and flavorful style.
- For the marinade you will need a half cup of light soy sauce, 4 tablespoons each of honey and sweet red wine.
- You will need 1 and one half tablespoons each of fresh minced garlic, dried crushed red pepper and sesame oil, and an eighth of a teaspoon of white pepper.
- You will need three pounds of London broil or flank steak, but can be substituted for any lean beef.
- Mix all the ingredients but the meat together with a wire whisk and pour into a heavy sealable freezer bag.
- Freeze meat enough to make firm, cut against the grain in thin strips, about 4" x 2" and place meat in the bag and seal it.
- Knead the marinade in with the meat, then place on racks in foil lined pans with no touching sides, let dry on a counter top at room temperature.
- Preheat the over to 250 degrees, replace foil and cook for 30 minutes, reduce heat to 175 and bake another 40 minutes until lightly browned remove from oven.
- Allow it to cool overnight.
When the beef is completely dry, you can store in sealed containers. This recipe will make approximately 36 pieces.
The Ultimate Jerky Book
If you're interested in more jerky recipes, you can visit the related pages below, or buy Mary Bell's book, Just Jerky.
It's a popular DIY guide for homemade jerky using an oven, smoker, or dehydrator. She covers all kinds of meats, including sliced beef, ground beef, deer meat, poultry, and fish. For the non-meat eaters, she includes information on drying soy protein for vegetarian jerky.