I made beef jerky for the first time this weekend. It probably won't come as a surprise to anyone that when I was deciding how I wanted to flavor the meat, the first ingredient that came to mind was beer.
Since this was my first time making jerky, I decided to experiment with two different cuts of beef. I used flank steak and top round (Seth and I preferred the flank steak version, pictured on the left above), but you could use any other lean cut of beef that you would like, such as sirloin or eye round, or even turkey or venison instead of beef.
This is one of those recipes that is really more of a method than an actual recipe -- a set of guidelines that you can adjust to suit whatever flavors you like. In other words, there's really no way to mess this one up, so feel free to get creative and add or take out whatever you like (just don't leave out the beer!).
For this recipe, I used:
2 pounds lean beef
1/2 cup New Holland Four Witches black saison
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed
Red pepper flakes to taste
Salt (I used Himalayan pink salt for its coarseness and mineral flavor)
1) Slice your meat into thin strips. The meat will be easier to slice if you put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes before slicing. Remove as much fat as possible along the way to help with the dehydration process.
2) Combine desired ingredients for your marinade. Place meat in resealable bag or other airtight container and add the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for 10-24 hours. I gave my containers a good shake every few hours to ensure the meat was thoroughly coated.
3) After 10-24 hours, preheat your oven to 165-170 degrees, remove the meat from the marinade, pat it dry with paper towels, and season with any desired additional spices -- I just used some Himalayan pink salt and more crushed red pepper flakes. Don't be afraid to use salt. Salt will also aid in dehydrating.
4) Place strips of meat directly on the rack in your oven. Make sure the strips aren't touching to allow air to circulate around them. Place a baking sheet at the bottom of the oven to catch any drips. Prop oven door open (I just left a wooden spoon at the top) to allow moisture to escape.
5) Cook for 1 - 4 hours, depending on the thickness and cut of meat. Dehydration could take even longer, so be sure your meat is cooked through before removing it from the oven. Check the jerky after 90 minutes and every 30 minutes thereafter. My jerky was done after about 3 1/2 hours.
6) Place the finished jerky somewhere dry to store. Ideally, use mason jars for the safest seal. Place jerky in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to eat. Enjoy the homemade jerky within 2 weeks of its preparation.