Last week I made PB & J Thumbprint Cookies as part of a Valentine’s Day special. I don’t typically care for this holiday as I believe that we should do special things for our partner every day but I do admit it’s a great theme to work with. As I mentioned on my previous V-day themed post, the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach so the next on my list of recipes for him is beef jerky!
I’ve been experimenting with beef jerky for a little while now. I first used a really nice and expensive sirloin roast beef, cut into small fillets and marinated overnight before spending time in the dehydrator. It made the best jerky in my opinion but I wanted an inexpensive meat option as well as great tasting so I bought a meat gun and some extra lean ground beef. Most lean meats will give you 1 pound of jerky for 3 pounds of fresh meat.
Jerky can be made from a wide variety of meats from game, fish and poultry. When purchasing meat, choose extra lean as fat can go rancid during the dehydrating process. If you are using fillets of meat, you will need to prepare a marinade and leave the meat in it for at least 4 hours but results are best when left overnight. Pre-made jerky spices can be purchased or you can make your own.
For the Hot & Spicy Beef Jerky, I used a Hot & Spicy seasoning mix but added a fair amount of Sriracha hot sauce as well as red pepper flakes. It’s hot & spicy alright! With V-day in mind, I also decided to shape some of the jerky into hearts. It was fun but time consuming! Took between 6-8 hours for all the meat to be dehydrated depending on the sizes and shapes of the meat.
Jerky keeps well for weeks in the fridge but only about 3 weeks left at room temperature. I find the meat to taste better the day after it’s been dehydrated and stored in the fridge but that might just be a taste preference. I feel like the jerky had time to set better but I’m not sure how much of that is true VS in my head. Whatever your preference, jerky is awesome to have as a snack on the go. I ended up using the heart-shaped jerky in my breakfast sammies as well. Jerky is versatile that way, you can use it with a lot of recipes such as soups, broths, sammies, etc. which is pretty awesome. I bring some everywhere I go, often with a few pieces of cheese because you can never go wrong with cured meat and cheese!
Nothing says “I Love You” quite like a piece of tasty heart-shaped jerky!
Choose your meat.
Choose your spices/cure or marinade sauce.
Mix ground meat with your spices/cure or marinate slices of meat for a minimum of 4 hours. The longer the better.
Using a meat gun for ground meat, pipe the meat onto the dehydrator trays. If using slices of meat, place the slices onto the dehydrator tray.
Turn on and pat the excess grease of each piece every hour or so. The less fatty the meat, the less you have to do this step.
Dehydration can take from 5-12 hours depending on the type of meat and the thickness.
Place in an airtight container layered with paper towel to absorb any extra fat and store in the fridge.