Beef Jerky is a great way to preserve meat. With this method, you can save money and take control of the ingredients. The hands-on part of the process is lots of fun and I like that there is much less plastic packaging going into the environment.
- I cut the meat with and against the grain to get a variety of texture. Similar to the grain in a piece of wood, a cut of meat has a grain of muscle fibres. Cutting along the grain gives you long stings of muscle fibre and leads to chewier meat.
- When preserving food, it is key that you obey good food hygiene and you use enough of your preservative to stop bacteria growth.
You will be:
- Preparing the meat
- Making the marinade
- Drying the meat
You will need:
- ~1,8kg silverside (also known as corned beef)
- 2 Tbsp black peppercorns
- 1.5 Tbsp coriander (cilantro) seeds
- 0.5 Tbsp fennel seeds
- 80ml balsamic vinegar
- A dash of red wine vinegar (optional)
- 1 chef’s knife
- 1 chopping board
- 1 fork for mixing
- 1 mixing bowl
- 1 dry spice mixer or mortar and pestle
- 1 deep dish for marinading overnight
- 1 dehydrator
- 1 container for storing the jerky in the fridge
Preparing the meat
- Buy some silverside from your favourite butcher. It is ideal for beef jerky as it is already salted.
- Then cut each slice into 2cm wide strips. Leave the odd bit of fat on as it will improve the jerky’s taste.
- Cut the meat with and against the grain to get a variety of dryness, chewiness and flavours.
- Stack the strips as you go into the deep dish.
Making the marinade
- Mill or crush all of the spices.
- Add them and the vinegar/s to the mixing bowl and give it a quick stir.
- Stack the beef strips in the deep dish adding marinade as you go to get an even coverage of the spices.
- Refrigerate overnight or for at least two hours.
Drying the meat
- Bust out your dehydrator.
- Arrange the marinated meat on each tray with lots of gaps between them.
- Put the dehydrator on low and let it run for 24 hours. Drying times will vary depending on your dehydrator, the dryness of the end product you want and the time of year.
- Rotate the trays three or four times during the drying process.
- Inspect one of the larger pieces to make sure the jerky is done.
Store the product, unsealed, in the fridge. This will continue the drying process.
Here are some additional preserving food ideas and beef recipes: