A Quick and Easy Way to Make Beef Jerky

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about trying to dehydrate food for the very first time with my new dehydrator.

It turned out so well that I made a new goal to make beef jerky.

Why make your own jerky?

Making your own jerky is a great way to preserve meat if you have a surplus, or if you just want to make quick, healthy snacks. A lot of commercially prepared beef jerky are overly salted and have additives. This way you know exactly what you are eating. You can make it with various types of meats with your favorite seasonings. If you hike or camp, you will have the perfect lightweight, portable food, without having to pay high prices.

Here’s what I did

Since this was my first time, I watched several YouTube videos, and followed the general instructions given by more experienced jerky makers.

1. For my first attempt, I purchased pre-marinated meat from Costco.


2. I then sliced the meat in 1/4 inch thick slices.


3. Before placing the meat in the dehydrator trays, I wiped the trays with vegetable oil.  I then placed the meat sliced on the dehydrator, making sure the slices did not touch each other.


4. This time, I set the dehydrator on a small table in the garage.  I turned it on at 3 p.m. and checked it hourly.

5. The instructions I read mentioned wiping any grease your see forming on the meat, so I briefly turned off the dehydrator and lightly wiped any oils with a paper towel.

6. By 8 p.m., the beef jerky appeared to be done.  According to jerkyholic.com, you can tell the meat is done when it bends and cracks but does not break. Also, when you bend it or tear off a piece, you can see white fibers within the meat.

7. I then transferred the beef jerky on paper towels to soak up any oils and let them cool for about 10 minutes.

We tasted the finished beef jerky and the pieces were delicious. I packaged them in a plastic sealed container.  The next morning, I tried another piece and it was even a bit more dry and delicious.

Storing beef jerky

You can store it on the counter in a sealed container or even zip lock bags for about 3-4 weeks. I doubt mine will last that long; they will get eaten up before then. However if you prefer to store for a longer time, you can try dry canning or using a vacuum sealer.

I will definitely make beef jerky again!


About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and Clark.com, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.





For more tips on prepping on small budget, read my book:

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    1. Hi Ronald, Sorry, no dentures here, but that is certainly a good point, I am sure lots of people may want tips on that such as additional meat tenderization! Thanks for stopping by.

    2. Ronald get a jerky gun, you use ground beef, season it with either store bought seasoning mix or your own then you can either dehydrate or smoke it, my brother in law does his that way. you can get them at most any big retail outlet like Walmart or places like Bass Pro.

      1. Hi Jerry Y, that is a great idea, getting a jerky gun to be able to use ground beef. It would also be cost effective since ground beef is cheaper than other meats. Thanks for the idea.

  1. If you freeze the meat than let it thaw about 1/2 way so there is still ice crystals inside you can the slice the meat thinner and much easier.

    1. Hi Oldguy, I will have to try partially freezing the meat for easier slicing. Thanks for the idea.

  2. Congrats on trying something new. Keep experimenting.

    I like to buy low fat beef on sale, like a bottom round roast, the butcher will thin slice it for me at no additional cost, I trim out some of the fat or connective tissue, pound it with a meat tenderizer and then freeze it until I’m ready to make jerky. After thawing the sliced meat I put up to two pounds in a zip lock bag along with sixteen ounces of Dales Steak Sauce. I marinate the meat for an hour turning the bag over every ten minutes. I place the meat of the racks after giving them a light dusting of black pepper, and dry until done. I also freze the jerky so it keeps longer.

  3. if you fully dry the jerky you can run it though a food processer to powder it. Then mix it with some dried berries and melted tallow to make Pemmican.

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