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Oven Beef Jerky

Macheesmo Recipe by

Oven Beef Jerky

Ditch the dehydrator and make a really savory sweet beef jerky using your oven!

(16 comments)
  • Prep Time 30 min
  • Total Time 12 hr 0 min
  • Servings 3
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Oven Beef Jerky  

As prepared by Macheesmo

People were making jerky before fancy equipment like dehydrators existed.


Like thousands of years before dehydrators existed. Drying meat has been around forever as a way to store meat. It also just happens to be really delicious!

The dehydrating industry probably doesn’t want you do know this, but you need only three things to make really top-notch jerky: 1) Time 2) Mild heat 3) A fairly dry environment.

Luckily, the last two can be provided by a piece of equipment you almost certainly have already: an oven.

Oven beef jerky is really not that hard to make and will save you loads of money if you are a real beef jerky fan.

You can technically make jerky out of any meat, but I do prefer beef. It lends itself well to strong flavoring. When it comes to what cut of beef to use, it’s hard to go wrong. I would recommend using something on the leaner side without a lot of fat and also something that is pretty cheap.

Buying a $20/pound ribeye and making beef jerky isn’t the best idea. Personally, I like to use top round roast for my jerky.

Slicing beef

If you have a nice butcher, they will slice your roast thin for you. In fact, I would recommend calling around until you find someone who will do this for you because it’s not easy to do yourself.

Unfortunately, on this day, my town was fresh out of nice butchers so I was left with a three pound roast and a sharp knife. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, you can do it. Just take your time and try to slice the meat as thin as possible. It will be slightly uneven and not perfect, but that’s fine. Just call it rustic.

What’s your beef is sliced the hard part is over. The rest is just time and flavor.

Mixing marinade

People get crazy when it comes to beef jerky recipes. In my opinion, the best ones are a simple combination of soy sauce, brown sugar, and a few spices. You really don’t need much else. Personally, I don’t like liquid smoke in mine, but feel free to add a bit if you want a smoky flavor.

Stirring in beef

Once your marinade is mixed up, just add in your beef strips and let this sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Any longer than that is kind of unnecessary given how thin the meat is sliced. So if you want to make jerky on Saturday, it’s fine to marinate the meat on Friday night.

Ready for fridge

When you’re ready to cook, the key thing is to get your jerky as dry as possible. The drier it is now, the less drying your oven will have to do. So lie out a bunch of paper towels and spread out the beef slices. Pat them really dry. Notice the change in color. It will also feel really stiff, which is good.

Drying beef

To create a system where air can circulate easily around the beef jerky, you’ll need some wooden skewers. Just add strips of beef to your skewers and keep them spaced about ½ inch apart.Skewering beef

Once you have your beef skewered, move one of your oven racks to the top level of your oven and set the skewers right on the rack so the beef hangs down from the rack. It’s probably a good idea to lay a few baking sheets under the beef in case they drip some.

Set your oven to warm, or in the 160-170 range. I recommend using an oven thermometer if you have one just to make sure your temperature is constant. In most cases, you will just want your oven set to the lowest possible setting.

In the oven

Prop the oven open with a potholder so moisture can escape.

There’s no exact time frame for how long your jerky needs to cook. It’ll depend on the size of your oven and thinness of your strips. The good news is you can’t really overcook the stuff. At a minimum, it will need 8 hours, but 10-12 hours is probably closer to perfection.

A finished piece will be dry. You be able to bend it and it should peel a part a bit, like scales almost. It should be chewy in spots and crunchy in spots.

Almost done

Once your jerky is done, let it cool completely before putting it in bags or it’ll form condensation, which will destroy your drying attempts.

After 10 hours

Try not to eat all of it immediately when it comes out of the oven. It will be tough because warm jerky is one of the best things in the world!

I like to store my jerky in the fridge and it will keep for weeks and weeks that way. Not that I’ve ever had mine last that long. It’s so good that it’s normally gone within a few days, honestly.

Finished jerky

You might be asking: “Is this is worth it?” Given that I recently saw four ounces of jerky for $8 and I made three pounds of it for about $15, I think that it is very much worth it if you are a serious jerky fan!

Nick ate a skewer of this stuff while writing this post and then another as a reward for finishing this post. Be sure to check out his blog, Macheesmo, his book, Cornerstone Cooking, and check out his Tablespoon profile.
See Recipe

Oven Beef Jerky

Ingredients

3
Pound beef round roast
1
Cup soy sauce
1
Cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1/2
Cups brown sugar
1
Tablespoon garlic powder
1
Tablespoon onion powder
1
Tablespoon black pepper
1
Teaspoon red pepper flakes
6
Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Bamboo
Skewers

Directions

  • 1 Ask butcher to slice your round roast very thin or use a sharp knife and do your best to slice it as thin as possible.
  • 2 Mix together other eight ingredients in a large bowl and then add beef slices to the mixture. Store in an air tight dish for twelve hours in the fridge.
  • 3 Remove beef slices from marinade and lay out on paper towels. Pat the slices dry with paper towels. The drier the better.
  • 4 Skewer the beef slices on bamboo skewers leaving about 1/2 inch space between two slices.
  • 5 Hang skewers from top rack of oven set on the highest position so the beef slices hang down. Put a few baking sheets underneath just to catch any drippings.
  • 6 Put oven on warm temperature (160-170 degrees Fahrenheit) and stick an oven thermometer in there just to make sure your temperature is right. Crack the oven door open with a towel so moisture can escape.
  • 7 Cook the jerky for 10-12 hours at that temperature.
  • 8 When jerky is done it should be dark, dry, and crack apart a bit when you bend a piece.
  • 9 Remove jerky from skewers and let cool completely. Then store in an air tight bag for weeks.
See Post

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