1. Slice 5 pounds lean beef (flank steak or similar cut) into strips 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide, and 4 to 12 inches long. Cut with the grain of the meat, and remove the fat.
2. Lay meat out in a single layer on a smooth clean surface (use cutting board, counter, bread board or cookie sheet.)
3. If smoke flavor is desired, brush each strip of meat with 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke in 2 tablespoons water. Sprinkle strips liberally with salt on both sides. Add pepper to taste and garlic salt or powder if desired.
4 Place strips, layer on layer, in a large wooden bowl or crock and place a plate with a weight on top.
5. Let stand refrigerated for 6 to 12 hours. Stir occasionally.
6. Remove strips and blot dry with clean paper toweling.
Remove racks from the oven and stretch meat strips across the racks. Allow the edges of the meat strips to touch, but not overlap. Leave enough space free on the racks for air to circulate in the oven.
Set the temperature at 140 degrees F and let strips dry for about 11 hours. Check early in the drying process for excessive drip. This drip can be caught on aluminum foil on a rack placed near the bottom of the oven. Lower the temperature of the oven until it feels warm, but does not cook the meat.
Keeping the oven door ajar will facilitate drying, as will the use of an electric fan placed in front of the open oven door.
Place sheets or trays in the dehydrator. Set the temperature control at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Dry for 4 to 5 hours and test for dryness. Jerky is ready when the dried meat is dark in color, fibrous and bends without breaking. breaking.
Finished jerky can be stored at room temperature in air tight containers. Freeze for long term storage.
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