Easy Recipe For Teriyaki Beef Jerky
Beef and steak already taste fantastic, so it's hard to imagine improving them in any way.
Enter beef jerky. This is a snack food made by marinating the meat in a curing solution and then dehydrating it. Not only does it stay fresh longer, but meat treated this way has a unique flavor.
We attribute this cure-and-dehydrate method to Native Americans who preserved meat by smoking it. Today, beef jerky is a substantial part of the meat market, due in no small part to its healthier aspects. Specifically, it's low fat and has high protein.
What is Beef Jerky, Exactly?
Jerky is a type of cooked, dehydrated meat dense with nutrients that can survive long periods without spoiling. That makes jerky a great snack to take with you, even if you won't have access to a fridge.
In most cases, companies marinate their jerky with liquid ingredients and various seasonings. Salt is the primary ingredient in all cases, because it acts as a preservative for the process.
Today, you can find most jerky in re-sealable packages, making it a convenient, portable snack.
The only thing you need to make beef jerky are meat and a curing solution.
The best tasting jerky comes from visually lean, range-fed, USDA-inspected flank steak. It usually takes more than five pounds of meat to make a single pound of jerky.
Turkey has become a popular alternative since it's even healthier than beef. However, it doesn't hold up in the same way that beef jerky does. Beef jerky is the go-to choice for the classic.
Step by Step Guide
Making your own teriyaki beef jerky may seem like an intimidating task, but it's a simple recipe when broken down into steps.
The first thing to keep in mind is that things can get messy; marinated jerky drips. Word of advice: Keep the pets locked out of the kitchen while you deal with raw garlic and other ingredients.
1. Prepare the Meat
Most recipes call for five pounds of meat for every pound of jerky you want to make. Pick lean meat, and ask the butcher to trim away whatever fat remains.
Favorite cuts for producing jerky include top round, flank steak, brisket, and even filet mignon.
Now it's time to slice the meat. Keep the slices long and thin, and then wrap the pieces into a ziplock bag to put in the freezer. Make sure the slices don't freeze too hard; the goal is to make them just firm enough to make it easier to slice thinner.
2. Prepare the Marinade
Beef jerky cannot stand alone; it needs a rich and salty overlay of flavors to accompany. To do this, you'll need a good teriyaki marinade.
Mix the following ingredients together in a bowl, and you'll have prepared your marinade:
3. Bathe the Jerky
After slicing even thinner strips of meat, put the strips back in the ziplock bag and pour in the marinade. Seal it up and shake it thoroughly; you want the teriyaki to hit every crevice of the meat in generosity.
Put this mixture into the fridge for at least four hours and not a minute less. Preferably, you'll marinate the meat overnight. The longer you take at this step, the more tender the jerky should be.
4. Prepare the Oven
Before turning on the oven, take the oven racks out and set them aside. Line the oven floor with foil, because the meat will definitely drip as it dehydrates. The foil will make cleanup a cinch afterwards.
Then preheat the oven to about 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Prepare the Strips
Put paper towels on your counters, and put the oven racks on top of those. Now you can lay the marinaded meat across the racks without making a mess on the counter. Make sure each strip of meat has breathing room and isn't touching another strip.
If you're feeling adventurous and want to maximize production, grab some bamboo skewers. Thread each one through a strip of meat, and then suspend them vertically from the oven racks.
6. Drying the Jerky
Regardless of your arrangement choice, place the racks in the oven when you're done.
If you can secure the kitchen from pets and small children, it's best to leave the oven door cracked open a little. To achieve this, use a wooden spoon or a ball of foil in the doorway so it doesn't fully close.
The reason you want the oven door open is simple: circulation. Since you're dehydrating the meat and not cooking its juices, it's important to make sure the warm air moves continuously. An oven that's too hot or doesn't circulate the air will just leave you with wet meat.
Depending on the size and thickness of your strips, you'll want to leave the oven like this for about eight hours. Turn the slices around halfway through. You'll have to keep an eye on the oven here and there, but you'll mostly be free to do other at-home errands meanwhile.
7. Check for Doneness
How will you know when it's time to pull the strips? The taste test is the only conclusive way.
Grab a piece from the oven after six hours of cooking and bend it. If it's too dry, it'll crack and snap right off with little effort. If it's easy to bite off a piece and bends before tearing, it's time! If it's too tough to bend and break off, give it another hour.
Once it's ready, remove the teriyaki jerky from the heat and give it an hour in the open air to cool and dry more.
After this hour, store any jerky you're not eating now into an airtight container. It'll stay fresh and flavorful for up to four to six months--but it's not really going to sit there uneaten that long, is it?
Best Side Dishes and Drinks
If you haven't already thought of cheese, you've been overlooking jerky's classic sidekick. Together, they bring together a marriage of sheer awesomeness.
Fancy and casual gatherings alike all call for jerky and cheese pairings--work gatherings, camping trips, or just wanting a snack. The main question here is which cheese should you grab?
Gouda has a rich but mellow caramel flavor. After making a spicy teriyaki marinade for your beef jerky, you'll want the sweet musk that gouda brings to cool your tongue.
Another cheese that cools down spiced-up taste buds, asiago has a buttery, sweet, and nutty profile.
After smoking some teriyaki beef jerky, you'll want to pair it with the mellow and nutty delight that is Swiss cheese. It goes well with just about any smoked meat, really.
With the exception of paprika on its orange rind, muenster cheese is quite mild. It's soft and creamy, and it brings a slight salt flavor as it melts in your mouth.
Another buttery cheese, Havarti has a smooth profile on the outside. Inside, however, you'll find a salty and slightly acidic intensity that works well with spicy jerky.
All in all, it's not hard to make your own teriyaki beef jerky at home. Once you've mastered this recipe, give yourself a chance to experiment with other flavors in other batches.
Worst case, you'll end up with plenty of snacks to bring with you for the next four months. Plus, this gives you ample opportunity to try other bourbons to find the right pairing for your new batch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is beef jerky raw meat?
Beef jerky isn’t raw, but it is cooked at low and slow temperatures to remove all the moisture content from the beef. It can be made from almost any raw meat, although raw poultry is generally not recommended because it can be contaminated with Salmonella.
Is beef jerky good for your health?
Depending on the ingredients used to make beef jerky, it can be a healthy snack. The type of beef you will want to use to make beef jerky is a very lean meat. Any fat in the beef can go rancid over time, so that means that most beef jerky does not contain a lot of fat. That makes beef jerky a high-protein low-carbohydrate snack. You will want to check the ingredients list, though, because some jerky contains MSG and many jerky brands have a high sodium content.
Can you dehydrate meat without a dehydrator?
You can make beef jerky in a dehydrator, but you can also use a low-temperature oven. Many people also make jerky on the smoker using low and slow cooking temperatures. This last method infuses smoky flavor into your jerky, making it really special!
What temperature do you cook beef jerky?
In our cooking method above, we like cooking beef jerky at 170 degrees F. This ensures that it takes a long time to produce the jerky, slowly coaxing out the water from the meat without overcooking it. In the end, cooking it at these low temperatures makes the jerky more tender and less chewy.
How do you know when beef jerky is finished cooking?
After about six hours of cooking beef jerky at 170 degrees F, the meat should be finished cooking. Since the strips are often too small to use a meat thermometer, we suggest picking up the beef jerky with your hands. If it is easy to tear the meat in half, it should be finished cooking! If you happened to cook it so long that it snaps in half, you may have cooked it for too long. It will still be edible, but it will be a little chewy.