I love beef jerky, my kids love beef jerky, who doesn’t love beef jerky? The problem is 1. it’s expensive and 2. it’s usually loaded up with preservatives and sugar. Our power went out the other night and the contents of my freezer did not make it through. I had 2 pounds of now thawed ground beef that needed to be used that day and we already had dinner plans. I could have made-ahead a meal like meatballs or stuffed peppers, but decided to get creative instead.
I first stumbled upon this video that inspired me to give it a try. It turns out there are quite a few resources about making your own jerky online. I don’t have a dehydrator (hint…hint…for when my husband reads this) so I tried the oven method. The results were yummy and according to my kids “delicious and not hard to chew!” Hard to chew is a huge factor with anything involving meat for my middle daughter, by the way.
- 2 lbs ground beef (I’ve read a lower fat content works best, I used 90/10. I bet ground bison would be awesome!)
- 1/4 cup gluten-free Tamari
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder (I love Penzey’s toasted onions)
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
Preheat oven to 200. Mush ingredients together well (take off your rings and get in their with your hands!). Roll out to slightly less than 1/4 inch thickness on dough board or parchment paper. Cut into desired strips. Hmmm….perhaps next time I’ll try cookie cutters. I’m thinking that heart-shaped beef jerky for school lunches sound like an awesome idea!
Place on parchment lined baking sheets, put in oven, stick a wooden spoon in your oven door to crack it open slightly, and bake for 4-6 hours. Check them at 4 hours, turn over, and bake for another 1-2 hours depending on your oven and thickness of beef. I baked mine for 4 hours, turned off the oven and let them sit in the turned off oven for another two hours. I left them out on the counter and we snacked on them for two days. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer if you decide to make a big batch.
Notes: I did not marinate my meat mixture, but the choice is yours depending on how much you prepare ahead. Experiment with different spice combinations and let us know how they turn out. Red pepper flakes would have been delicious in this but not exactly kid friendly! Next time I think I’ll try it Italian with basil, garlic, oregano and a bit of red wine vinegar!