One of the most frequent questions we get asked is “How do I make healthy meat jerky?”. Here is a selection of delicious jerky recipes you can make using your own food dehydrator, they are tried and tested and full of nourishing goodness!
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Jerky is an age-old, popular snack made from lean pieces of meat. It is dehydrated to slowly remove all of the water content, making it a lightweight and portable food which lasts for up to 2- 3 months! It’s lengthy shelf life makes it a winning snack amongst hikers, cyclists, travellers or anyone that’s on the go.
There is no science behind making any meat jerky in a food dehydrator, all you have to do is know what flavours you like, use fresh and nutritious ingredients and you can be assured of a healthy treat that can be eaten at any time.
The Drying Basics
Before you get stuck in, it is important to remember the following useful tips during each step of the dehydration process:
- The leaner the meat, the better the taste. Not only that, fatty meats will interfere with the drying times and will become rancid very quickly; this means that your jerky will have a very short shelf-life
- The thicker you slice your meat the longer it will take to dehydrate
- Keep each strip of meat as uniform in size as possible to ensure even drying
- Allow adequate space in between slices of meat to encourage sufficient air circulation
- Partially frozen meat is much easier to slice into thin strips. For a chewy jerky cut strips along the grain, for a more tender jerky cut against the grain
- If marinating your jerky for extra flavour, we recommend leaving the marinated meat to sit in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight so that all the tasty flavours are fully integrated
- Let the jerky cool completely before storing as any moisture will cause spoilage. We recommend always using airtight containers to store
- Use times as a guide only, we encourage you to experiment with your taste buds! If you prefer a crispy jerky, dry for longer and vice versa for a chewier texture
- Our fine mesh sheets will keep the slices of meat even and stable on the internal trays
- Experiment with different flavour combinations to share with your friends and family!
Just as you will see from our recipe collection below, the possibilities are endless for jerky flavour combination and even the types of meat you use - it really just depends on your taste! Once you've got the basics down, you’ll be on a roll.
Our Top 3 Beef Jerky Recipes
Beef Jerky Classic Worcestershire:
1kg beef steak
2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional for the spicey food worshippers out there!)
Add all the marinade ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk together until well combined
Cut beef steaks into ¼ inch strips, add to marinade, cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours
Set your dehydrator to 65ºC
Take your marinated beef out of the fridge and pat dry with a paper towel
Lay the beef strips onto your dehydrator trays, being careful not to overlap any of the meat
Dehydrate for 5-8 hours until meat is dry with no moisture left
Beef Jerky Mexican:
1 kg trimmed beef topside steak
2 large jalapeños, halved (1 seeded)
2 limes, juiced
380ml beef stock
1/2 cup soy sauce
Sea salt flakes
Add both jalapenos to a mini food processor and process until very finely chopped. Transfer into a large bowl. Stir in the lime juice, stock and soy sauce
Take the beef and cut it into 1/4-inch-thick slices, either with or against the grain
Add the beef to the marinade, stirring well to coat each slice. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours
Set your dehydrator to 65ºC
Take your beef out of the fridge and pat dry with a paper towel, lay out on your dehydrating trays being careful not to overlap any of the meat. Sprinkle with the sea salt flakes
Dry for 5-8 hours until meat is dry with no moisture left. Depending on if you have cut the meat with or against the grain your meat with either be quite crisp or more pliable
Beef Jerky Hot & Spicy:
1kg beef fillet
1 cup of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 drops Tabasco (you can add up to 10 drops for an even eye-watering, fiery jerky)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
In a large mixing bowl add all the marinade ingredients and whisk together until well combined
Cut the goat meat into ¼ inch strips and add to marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight
Set your dehydrator to 65ºC
Remove goat meat from the fridge and pat dry with paper towel making sure there is no excess marinade left on the meat
Lay goat strips out on your dehydrating trays making sure not to overlap any of the meat
Dry for 5-8 hours until goat is dry with no moisture left
Homemade vs Store-bought Jerky
All Natural Ingredients
Made from wholesome ingredients, homemade jerky is delicious, virtually fat free, a great source of protein. This makes it the perfect post-workout protein boost helping with muscle-building and recovery.
Making your own meat jerky is tasty, easy and something that can be shared with family and friends. Not only that, it ensures you know exactly what is going into your food and what you are putting into your body.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for packet bought meat jerky. These variations contain a plethora of food preservatives, alongside traces of MSG and sodium nitrate, to compensate for the highly perishable nature of the meat. Although the shelf-life of Supermarket packaged Jerky is much longer ranging between 1 - 2 years consume-by date, it is at the expense of your health.
There is no need for preservatives of any kind with homemade Jerky, just natural ingredients, spices and herbs. You can also choose very lean cuts of meat, which reduces fat content.
With the amount of fake chemical additives in packaged Jerky, store-bought Jerky is not exactly the most flavoursome, or the most inexpensive, of snacks! Save yourself some serious money by making your own meat jerky at home.
For example, packaged Jerky bought from your average Supermarket typically costs between £2.99 and £5.00 for approx 50g of dried meat, if you are consuming just 1 packet per week this equals £260 per year!
Homemade Jerky: 1 kilo beef rump steak (at £16/kg) will make 6 times the amount of jerky as you would get for an average £5 packet, which comes to a total of just £138 per year.
£260 for store-bought jerky vs £138 for homemade beef jerky, per year? A food dehydrator is definitely an investment that, quite literally, pays for itself.
Once you start making your own jerky in the comfort of your own home you will never go back to the store-bought kind.
More Tasty Recipes
Pork Jerky Cidered
1kg pork meat
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried mushroom powder
In a large mixing bowl add all the marinade ingredients and stir until well combined
Cut the pork meat into ¼ inch strips and add to marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight
Set your dehydrator to 65ºC
Take venison out of the fridge and pat dry with a paper towel
Lay venison strips onto dehydrating trays ensuring that you do not overlap any of the meat
Dehydrate for 5-8 hours or until meat is dry with no moisture left
Salmon Jerky Peppered
½ cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp molasses
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cracked black pepper
Place the soy sauce, molasses, lemon juice, black pepper and paprika in a bowl and mix well
Using a very sharp knife, remove skin and cut into thin strips against the grain
Add to marinade, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours
Set dehydrator to 65ºC
Remove from liquid and pat dry with paper towel
Dehydrate for 3-6 hours until dry with no moisture left
Vitality 4 Life recommend the use of the BioChef 8 Tray Dehydrator or the BioChef Arizona 6 Tray Dehydrator depending on how much you are going to dehydrate at any particular time.
The fantastic door design of the BioChef Arizona means that you do not even have to open the door to monitor your jerky as it is completely transparent! Perfect for taking a peek but not having to disrupt the airflow.
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