Dried beef has recently gained a lot of popularity. Nonetheless, it is not a new “invention”. One could even risk saying that it is almost as old as the world.
Apparently, the beginnings of its “production” date back to the time of the ancient Indians, who in the summer having meat in abundance, were looking for a way to preserve it so as to prepare supplies for the winter.
As it turned out, a great way of preservation was to put sheets of raw meat under the saddle where salt and temperature perfectly preserved them.
Drying the meat in the sun was another though less ‘spectacular’ way of preservation. Times have changed, certain processes are simpler for us, and food products are quickly and widely available.
In this article, we will do our best in order to show you the best way to make jerky in the oven.
If you think that a difficult task is ahead of you… you are wrong. Drying beef, despite the fact that it takes a lot of time, turns out to be a fairly easy task. It really boils down to two activities – marinating the meat and its subsequent drying.
Steps to Dehydrate Beef Jerky in the Oven
If you dry the meat in the oven you can do it in two ways. If you have a smaller amount of meat nothing stands in the way of spreading them flat on openwork grids – so that warm air can flow chunks from all sides. However, if you are slowly switching from amateur to professional, and the quantities dried by you are quite large, then you have nothing left but vertical drying of meat. It’s best to use wooden skewers for this. How to do it? It is not difficult – just follow these steps:
We take two sticks and put slices of meat on them in turn. Right on the edge of the patch. Pretty dense but so that the individual slices do not touch – the air must circulate freely between them. Theoretically, you can apply patches to one stick but as experience teaches, they tend to twist and curl. Therefore, a much better idea is to use two sticks in parallel (then each piece of meat is pierced in two places). When you use the entire length of the sticks, you hang such a ready set on the oven grille so that the slices hang freely between the individual bars. You make more sets and set in the oven. In this way, using almost the entire height of the oven, you are able to dry a lot more meat at once. This is the best way to make jerky in oven – especially if you’ve bought a lot of meat.
No high temperature is needed for drying beef. Set the oven temperature to around 60-70C degrees. The drying process itself, depending on your preference (whether we prefer more fleshy pieces or more dried), takes about 3-5 hours. I suggest that after three hours of drying you start to taste the meat, for example every 30 minutes, and finish drying the moment you are most satisfied with the result.
As for the weight of the final product, depending on the drying time, it accounts for about 40-50% of the original weight of the meat. It is worth bearing in mind already at the stage of buying beef. A little practical attention here – when drying we get rid of the large amount of water that needs to be disposed of. The ideal solution is to leave the oven slightly ajar – moisture will escape. If you have the oven that stops working immediately after it detects that the door is not closed – there is nothing else but to open it once every 15 minutes, ventilate it and, at the same time, wipe away moisture condensing on the glass and edges.
Best Type of Beef for Jerky
One of the best parts for preparing fantastic dried beef is the silverside. Of course, you can always rely on the butcher’s help and ask for advice.
In general, unlike meat for burgers, beef jerky should be very lean, young and without overgrowth. Just nice. If you find a butcher who knows his stuff you can immediately ask him for help as it will greatly facilitate later work.
Ask the butcher to cut the meat into equal slices. The thickness of the patch is, of course, a subjective matter – the final product will be either thinner and drier or thicker and slightly meaty.
Thickness of about 5 mm is just all right. Slices of this thickness should please most people.
The “Best” Beef Jerky Marinade Recipe
- Worcestershire sauce
- Soy sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
- Freshly ground pepper
What else can you add to the marinade?
Actually, everything we have on hand.
Depending on the “willingness to…” You can, for example, add chilies, horseradish, whiskey, English mustard, and so on…