Until the advent of refrigeration, the only method of preserving meats was dehydration. Even after man found a way to keep meat fresh, beef jerky is still a popular snack. It's low in fat and a good source of protein.
First, you will need a piece of steak. Fat causes jerky to spoil more quickly so you should choose something fairly lean. Other than that, there are no restrictions on what cut you choose. Remove all the fat from the steak and slice it into beef jerky sized pieces.
Dissolve two or three heaped teaspoons of sea salt into a cup of olive oil. Allow your beef strips to marinate in this solution for at least ten hours.
Next, coat the meat generously with the flavourings of your choice. You could use cayenne powder, paprika, rosemary, peppercorns or anything else you like. Add generous amounts of salt, as this will help the dehydration process.
Finally, place your beef on a greased tray and put that into an oven pre-heated at 65 degrees Celsius. Depending on the type of meat and the thickness of your strips, it should take around two to six hours for the meat to dehydrate completely. When you think it is ready, cut the thickest slice in half to make sure that it is not raw inside.
Using this recipe, your beef jerky will last for about two weeks or longer if stored in an airtight container.
I must try this method, however about a year ago I bought a dehydrator and it certainly makes the job much easier. I leave it on overnight, and by morning it's done. I've done chicken jerky, kangaroo jerky and even pork.
By Dora Bona - senior reviewer Thursday, 3rd of March @ 08:59 pm