Make your own jerky
- Get yourself a properly lean cut of meat, and lots of it. I used about 1.5lbs of flank steak, which has very little fat to it. You want a cut with little fat because fat will decompose quickly, and the point of drying out meat is to stop it from spoiling by getting rid of fat and water.
- Slice the meat very very thinly into strips. Dunk the sliced meat into a marinade of some kind. A soy-based marinade is fine here, simply because you're not using it to add volume to the meat, you're just using it to flavour the meat. Alternative marinades include rich German stout or dark ale, liquid smoke and honey, and a few other permutations and combinations of various ingredients. Use your imagination, the point here is to impart a nice smoky flavour to the meat.
- Leave the meat to marinade for 5-7 hours, or overnight.
- Take out the meat, dry off any excess marinade, and add spices. A combination of garlic powder, cumin, chilli powder, and crushed black pepper is a pretty good start. A dash of cinnamon on top of it adds a really mellow aroma.
- If you don't have a dehydrator (I don't), use an oven instead. Set it to 70 C (180 F).
- Put the meat onto wire racks with something underneath the racks to catch any dripping. I had to improvise here by stretching some foil over a couple of baking pans.
- Stick the meat in the oven for at least 3 hours; be prepared to cook for 5 or 6 if necessary. Turn over every hour or so to get a nice even dryness. The point here is to dry out the meat slowly using gentle heat, not to burn it to ashes.