Homemade Beef Jerky
thinly sliced beef (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick)*
Use the leanest and least tough cut of beef you can find. Sirloin and top round are good choices. To cut the steak thinner, freeze it for 15 minutes and then cut against the grain with a very sharp, serrated knife. Alternately, ask the butcher to slice it for you.*Show Note
red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
Mexican oregano (optional)
Homemade Beef Jerky
Homemade beef jerky beats the packaged version any day. It’s far more flavorful with much less sodium, and simple to make. All you need is an oven—no dehydrator or special equipment necessary.
For the Marinade
- Puree the garlic and water in a blender or use an immersion blender inserted in a large bowl. Add the lime juice, salt, vinegar, and paprika, then blend until smooth. Whisk in the onion flakes (and optional seasonings, if using).
- Pour into a large resealable plastic bag with the beef and marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours or overnight.
For the Jerky
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. (Note: Lower temperatures may not kill the bacteria present in the meat. For more information on food safety and beef jerky, consult the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food safety guide.)
- Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking matt and top with an oven-safe wire rack. Drain the beef, then place it on the rack. Discard the marinade.
- Roast the beef in the oven for 6-8 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat, turning once halfway though. It will be a deep brown or burgundy color throughout and just barely chewy. Remove and set on the counter to cool. Once thoroughly cooled and dried, homemade jerky can be stored for up to two months.
Recipe by Jackie Alpers
Jackie Alpers is an award-winning food photographer and the author of Sprinkles!: Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts (Quirk Books 2013). For more recipes, visit her blog, JackiesHappyPlate.com.