5 Pro Tips for Beef jerky. The marinating process of beef jerky might be one of the most important parts of creating your own beef jerky. I see a lot of questions on how long to marinate and the process that I take. So, I decided to break down the process in this blog post. This is going to be a quick guide on how to take your recipe and use this proven process.
5 Pro Tips
- Weighing Ingredients- The first pro tip that I have it to ditch the measuring cups and start to weigh out all of your ingredients in grams, ounces, or LBS. Weighing everything is one of the best tips I can give someone when making jerky. This tip is so helpful if you are just starting out or trying to take your jerky process to the next level. Jerky recipes are all about consistency and small changes can have a big impact on your recipes. is king when trying to fine tune my beef jerky recipe. Besides consistence it can make things a lot easier when scaling your recipes depending on how much meat you use. I just keep all of my recipes in a excel sheet and then I put in the meat weight and it calculates exactly how much of each ingredient I need. I will make another blog post sometime with my excel sheet and how I scale all of the ingredients and how to make sure all of your ratios are correct when coming up with a recipe to try.
- Slicing- There are many things to keep in mind when slicing jerky. First you can determine if you are slicing with or against the grain. Slicing with the grain with give you more of a traditional style jerky that is more tuff and pulls apart in more of a string like fashion. Against the grain is going to be more tender and have more of a fake off when pulling it. The second thing you need to think about is how think you want to cut the meat. It is important to keep the thickness consistent when testing different jerky recipes because thickness can make a big difference. I really like to use a slicer when cutting the meat but it is not necessary if you are good with a knife. Pro tip is to put it in the freezer for about 1 hour and 30 min before slicing so that the meat is firm when cutting or slicing. I personally like against the grain and I try to cut it about 5mm thick so it will be 3-5mm thick on the finished product.
- Time – How long to marinate is one of the questions that I see and I am asked the most. This will depend on what type of meat you use and you recipe but I have some good rules to follow. No matter what, do not marinade jerky for under 24 hours. You can use tools like vacuum sealers or tumblers but they are not necessary. I like to marinate my jerky for 48 hours. Don’t let it sit in one place in the fridge the entire time. If it is in bags move it around a couple time during the 48 hours so the ingredients do not settle in one place. If you have a recipe that has a lot of sugar or honey in it you would want to make sure it is marinated for at least 36 hours and moved around to get it even. If your jerky is sticky at the end you most likely did not marinated it long enough or did not get the solutions dissolved good enough in the process.
- Cut of meat – How you marinated will be greatly affected by the cut of meat you use. The two most common cuts are eye of round and the bottom round. This two cuts of beef are good for jerky because they are very lean pieces of meat and that is what you are looking for when you are making beef jerky. Flank is also a really good cut of meat but it is usually much more expensive than eye or bottom. Jerky making was designed to use cheap cuts of meat and make them taste really good. So, if you go with a cut of meat that has more fat in it like brisket or sirloin then it is not only going against what jerky was designed for, it really does not make good tasting jerky because the fat does not render when you dry and the texture of the fat is not desirable by most people. Also, the fat will go rancid the quickest so can really lower the shelf life of the jerky. When I am make beef jerky I really like to use top or bottom round. I think it marinates the best and the texture when it is complete. Eye of Round is easier to trim and slice but I think it tends to have a more of a crumble texture and is easier to get over dried or cooked in the process.