Beef Jerky- Make it a Health Food

Homemade beef jerky is something I'm loving bringing along when we're out this summer.  I have a bunch of grassfed hamburger in my freezer that was purchased for an amazingly low price, but to make my first jerky I checked out the clearance section of our health food store's meat department. Every two weeks they order half a cow, and they clearance what hasn't sold before it comes in.  It's the less tender cuts, but at less than $4/lb it's more than fine for jerky!

To make, I marinade in my seasonings plus 1/4 cup of lemon or lime juice and a couple tablespoons of honey overnight.  I use the same amount of seasonings as I would for barbecuing the meat- I've found that most jerky recipes use way too much salt.  I season to taste.

I let it marinade all day or over night in the fridge, then transfer to the freezer for an hour (set a timer!) so that it's easier to slice into strips.

I slice either with or against the grain depending on how I can get the longest strips, and place in the dehydrator.  Dry on high all day, and that's it!  I keep mine in the fridge, and would put in the freezer for extended storage.  I'd rather put it there than risk the batch going bad, and it doesn't take up much space once it's dried.

If you look at the ingredients on the package of jerky at the store- you'll see that most of it is loaded with preservatives, MSG, and sugar.  Making this at home, especially with good quality reduced price meat is a healthy and frugal alternative!

Our first attempt at jerky was with deer, using a recipe with too much salt and drying it in the oven with the door cracked open- major fail.  We got tough rock-hard salty chunks of venison. This was much better.

Have you been successful drying jerky in the oven? What do you dry it on? For us, I'm happy to stick with the dehydrator but it would be nice to know it could be successfully done in the oven as well.

Other snack foods:
Date Macadamia Balls (I've also done with pecans and almonds)
Strawberry Almond Bars
Homemade Oatmeal Bars

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