Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Making Beef Jerky at home.

Drying meat is an age old process used for preserving it for longer periods of time. This meat is often dried using only the wind and perhaps a little smoke from a small fire which has the purpose of not cooking the meat, but of using the smoke to keep flies off it. The meat can be seasoned with whatever you have available. This usually involved applying salt to the meat which would also help in it's preservation, but other flavorings etc can also be used.

Jerky is a firm favourite in our house, though I cannot tell you how long it keeps for as it only lasts a few days before it gets all used! Now I'm not drying this in the outdoors, though we have smoked and dried venison using a stone smoker, but the preparation is the same. This is my recipe

A good quantity of Salt and Crushed Black Pepper

Juniper berries, which get crushed as well

Mix all the dry ingredients

Soy sauce, Worcester sauce, Balsamic Vinegar and Tabasco

Mix them all together.

Top side of Beef (Most lean meats can be used)

Remove as much fat and membrane as possible as fat can quickly go rancid, even after the drying process

Prepared Beef

For ease of slicing, I cut the joint in two.

Cut the meat into thin slices

3 or 4 mm thick

Once sliced, mix the meat with the spices and flavourings. Put it in the fridge to marinate for as long as possible. I like to leave mine for at least 24 hours.

After marinading, remove the meat, put each slice into a cocktail stick and hang in a fan over, using the over grids to support the hanging meat.

Loading the meat into the oven

The oven is now full and we are ready to dry the meat. I put the oven onto it's lowest setting, in my case it's a defrost setting which has basically no heat, just the internal fan running. I leave the oven door open a tiny fraction and leave the beef to dry. this can take from 8 to 10 hours. I usually leave mine drying overnight.
Jerky is now dried and ready to eat


  1. Another fine tutorial from the master Jerky maker! It tasted as good as it looks in these pictures!


  2. Did you use the whole top side of beef? If you did how many batches would it take with your set-up?

  3. It was a fairly large topside, I'd say about 5 or 6 lb of meat. I was able to dry all of it in one batch in my household oven.

  4. Thanks for really clear instructions. How long will the jerky be preserved for?