January 26, 2011

Homemade Beef Jerky

After making dried pineapple, the next thing I wanted to do with my new dehydrator was to make beef jerky. I remember making beef jerky as a kid with our infomercial food dehydrator. It took several days to dry, but was delicious.

Top round sliced and ready for jerky

I bought 3 pounds of top round for $5 a pound. The butcher sliced the meat for me into thin strips (no charge). I marinated the meat using the jerky spice mix that came with my dehydrator plus some Worcestershire sauce and temari (fancy soy sauce), but I skipped the jerky cure packets (containing salt and sodium nitrite). We never used a cure when I was a kid and it doesn't sound like an absolutely necessary step. I suppose if you were making ground meat jerky (with more germs and critters in the meat) and were intending to store the finished product unrefrigerated I might want to use a cure. We always refrigerated our jerky, so spoilage wasn't much of an issue.

Marinating jerky meat
After marinating for 12+ hours, I put the meat slices onto my dehydrator trays. I started the dehydrator before leaving for work and the jerky was done by the time I got home. In all honesty, I probably should have stopped the dehydrator a couple of hours earlier, but the jerky was fine.

Raw marinated beef in the dehydrator
My 3 pound top round dried down to only 19.4 ounces! That's a 60% reduction in weight.

For my next batch of jerky, I think I'll try my own spice and marinade mix. The pre-made spice mix was very noticeable on some pieces of jerky, but almost flavorless on other pieces. I should also try a different cut of meat to see if there is much of a difference.

Finished jerky


  1. How awesome! My husband and I received an amazon gift card for christmas and were considering a dehydrator. Which kind do you have? I'm really enjoying watching your experiments with your new toy. We're both huge jerky fans, so I can't wait to get one and try making my own!

  2. I have a "Nesco/American Harvest FD-80 Square-Shaped Dehydrator". It has worked great so far!


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