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+ servings

Beef Jerky

Spice, sugar, and smoke meet brined and dried beef in this DIY jerky recipe.
Beef jerky is one of my favorite snacks, and in an age of sugary, starchy junk food, it's a nutritional hero. Sure, there's some sodium and some sugar (or honey), but by and large, jerky is a low-carb food that's packed with lots of lovely protein. It keeps forever with little care or maintenance and can easily be produced at home.
This recipe first appeared in Season 9 of Good Eats.
homemade beef jerky in a plastic container
ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 12 hours
Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Software

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak
  • 2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Specialized Hardware

  • 1 box fan
  • 4 paper air-conditioner filters
  • 2 bungee cords

Procedure

  • Trim the steak of any excess fat, place in a 1-gallon plastic zip-top bag, and place it in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours in order to firm up. This makes the meat much easier to slice.
  • Remove steak from the freezer and thinly slice, with the grain, into long strips.
  • Place the strips of meat, along with all of the remaining ingredients, in the zip-top bag and move around to evenly distribute all of the ingredients. Put the bag into the refrigerator for 3 to 6 hours.
  • Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Evenly distribute the strips of meat on 3 of the air filters, laying them in the grooves and then stacking the filters on top of one another. Top these with 1 empty filter. Next, lay the box fan on its side and lay the filters on top of it. Strap the filters to the fan with 2 bungee cords. Stand the fan upright, plug it in, and set it to medium.
  • Allow the meat to dry for 8 to 12 hours. If using a commercial dehydrator, follow the manufacturer's directions.
  • Once dry, store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.