Beef jerky is a great snack to have on the go. However, if you’re paleo, it can be tricky to find store-bought jerky that is suitable for your dietary requirements.
Making homemade jerky isn’t as hard as it sounds, and it is a great alternative if you have a strict diet and lifestyle to follow. With a few simple ingredients, you can turn strips of beef into delicious jerky without too much hassle – you just need to know how!
In this article, I will cover some key information about paleo beef jerky, and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to make homemade paleo beef jerky from the comfort of your own home.
Keep reading to find out more.
What Is The Best Cut Of Beef For Jerky?
There are a variety of different cuts of beef that you can use for jerky. However, we find that London broil works best. This comes down to the fact that it has a low fat content, which helps to stop the jerky from spoiling before you get the chance to devour it all.
While London broil is definitely one of the priciest meats to choose from, it’s one of the leanest cuts to make beef jerky out of.
The key to the best London broil jerky is in the thickness. You want to ensure that you cut it thick enough to hold up to the dehydration process, but not so thick that it’s too tough to chew through.
It can be a tricky balance to get right the first few times that you’re making jerky, but this is to be expected. If you don’t know how thick to cut your jerky, try keeping the thickness between 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch strips.
You will find that when you are developing your own preferences and processes when making jerky, that finding what you like best comes down to trial and error. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with different thicknesses and different types of meat.
The great thing about homemade jerky is being able to decide exactly what type of meat you use, what ingredients go into the flavor profile, as well as how long to cook it for.
How Long Should You Marinate Homemade Beef Jerky?
The marinade is how your jerky is going to take on as much flavor as possible, so you will want to ensure that you don’t rush this process. We recommend you should leave the beef strips to marinate for about 48 hours, but you could opt for as little as 24 hours and as long as 72 hours and still get great and flavorful results.
You want to make sure that the beef strips are fully submerged in the marinade, and that it is left for long enough that the meat absorbs the flavors of the marinade.
The key is to give it time, so make sure that you plan ahead when you’re making jerky. This will ensure that you won’t get impatient and try to dehydrate the jerky before it has had a minimum of 24 hours to marinate.
How Do You Dehydrate Homemade Jerky?
When it comes to dehydrating jerky, there are two methods you can try. Firstly, you can use a food dehydrator to make your jerky.
If you regularly dehydrate foods in the oven, or are looking to start, I highly recommend investing in a dehydrator.
Not only can you use it for this simple beef jerky recipe, but you can also begin dehydrating various fruits and vegetables for healthy on-the-go snacks! The options are truly endless when you have the convenience of a dehydrator at your disposal.
Alternatively, if you don’t have the budget for a dehydrator or don’t think you’ll get the use out of it, you can use your good old fashioned oven to dehydrate your jerky.
When using either method, to dehydrate your beef jerky you’ll need to lay the slices of beef out in a single layer on the trays provided or on an oven-safe baking rack.
Can You Cure Homemade Jerky For Too Long?
Yes, you can cure homemade jerky for too long if you’re not careful. When dehydrating jerky, it’s important to find the right balance. If you over-dehydrate your beef jerky, you’ll end up with meat that is very dry and tough to chew, as more of the moisture will have evaporated.
However, for the best results you want your jerky to maintain a little bit of tenderness, but get dry enough that it can be stored at room temperature without any issues.
It is worth noting that it might take a few batches for you to get the hang of things and figure out exactly how you like your jerky, so don’t feel too disheartened if it isn’t perfect the first time around!
How Long Does It Take To Make Homemade Beef Jerky In A Dehydrator?
When making jerky in a dehydrator, you will want to set the dehydrator to 150°F and allow it to dehydrate for about 8 hours.
That being said, you will need to keep a close eye on your jerky and watch the consistency of the meat. This is because dehydration depends on ambient temperature and humidity.
After around 5 or 6 hours, you will need to check your jerky periodically and make sure that you take it out when it gets to the right consistency and is as moist as you like it to be. When you have made this jerky recipe a few times you will be able to better gauge when it is the right time to take out the jerky for the perfect result.
How Long Does It take To Make Homemade Beef Jerky In An Oven?
When dehydrating your jerky in the oven, make sure you have it on an oven-safe baking rack like this one with a baking tray underneath to catch any drips. After all, you don’t want to ruin your oven with fat and grease!
You will need to set your oven to the lowest setting possible. This is likely the “keep warm” setting or at 170°F. You can go as high as 200°F and your jerky will be absolutely delicious. However, you will need to take the higher temperature into consideration and will need to cure the jerky for slightly less time.
How Long Does Homemade Beef Jerky Last?
You can keep this paleo beef jerky at room temperature in an airtight container for around a week no issue.
In addition to placing it in an airtight container, it’s good to place a paper towel in the container with the jerky to absorb any excess moisture. This will ensure that the jerky remains as tasty as possible for a longer period of time.
If you want your homemade jerky to last even longer, you can place the container in the fridge and store the jerky for up to two weeks. That being said, this homemade beef jerky is so delicious it won’t last long in your household!
How Do You Cut Meat For Beef Jerky?
Cutting meat for beef jerky is simple once you know how. Before cutting the meat, you will want to ensure that you prepare the meat by trimming off any excess fat. A large fat content will affect how long your jerky is going to last, so this step is important. Luckily, London broil isn’t a fatty cut of meat, so you could skip this step if you deem it necessary.
Turn the meat so that the grain is either parallel or perpendicular to the knife. If you’re cutting against the grain, the grooves in the fibers of the meat should be running to the left and right. If you’re cutting with the grain, make sure that you turn the meat so that the grain is resting vertically in front of you.
Before you attempt to slice your jerky, you need to press down on the piece of meat with your nondominant hand. Make sure that you are placing pressure on it, as you need to have a steady grip on it to ensure a smooth, straight slice.
Start on any edge of the cut. Hold the blade of the knife over the meat so that you’re trimming a thin, vertical strip. Make straight cuts through the meat to slice it into thin slices.
The thickness of the meat is entirely up to your preference, but you do need the thickness to be uniform for each strip. This will ensure that all of the strips dry evenly when you make the jerky. Keep in mind that the meat will shrink quite a lot when you dehydrate it. Keep this in mind when choosing the thickness of your strips.
Now you’ve got your meat strips, they are ready to be marinated!
A Guide On How To Make Homemade Paleo Beef Jerky
Equipment that you will need
- A measuring cup
- A whisk
- A dehydrator or oven
- Baking rack and sheet (If using oven)
- Airtight container
- 3 lb of London broil
- 6 oz of coconut aminos
- 2 cups of pineapple juice
- 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 2 oz of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of smoked salt
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
How to prepare the marinade
Step one – Gather all the ingredients, a large measuring cup, and a whisk.
Step two – Measure out all of the spices, lemon juice, pineapple juice, and coconut amino acids and add them to the measuring cup.
Step three – Once all of the ingredients are in the measuring cup, give them a good whisk to ensure that the marinade is well incorporated. This part can’t be underestimated, as you want your beef jerky to soak up the best flavor it can.
Step four – Now that you have your marinade, it’s time to add it to the beef strips so that they can marinate. Arrange the strips of London broil so that they are fully submerged in the marinade, allowing for maximum flavor and exposure to the marinade.
Step five – Pour the marinade over the strips of meat, then cover and place in the refrigerator for anywhere from 1-3 days. You should leave it for a minimum of 24 hours.
How to prepare the jerky
Step one – Once you have allowed your meat to marinate for a minimum of 24 hours, it’s time to dehydrate your beef strips. Remove the meat from the marinade and place in a single layer on dehydrator sheets or on a baking rack on top of a baking sheet in the oven.
Step two – Place the baking trays in the dehydrator and set to the jerky setting, or to 150°. You will need to dehydrate the strips of meat for up to 8 hours.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can alternatively place the baking sheets with racks into an oven preheated to between 175-200° for up to 6 hours.
Step three – Once the jerky has been left for several hours to dehydrate, you will need to remove the baking sheets from the oven.
Step four – Bag up the jerky in an airtight container. If stored properly, this jerky can last for up to 2 weeks. However, once you taste how good it is, you’ll be struggling to keep your family’s hands off it!
Step five – Eat and enjoy! This jerky is perfect for a snack on the go or if you’re at home and find yourself feeling peckish in between meals.
Notes On Making Homemade Jerky
When deciding how long to dehydrate your meat, you will need to watch the consistency of the meat. Dehydration depends on the ambient temperature and the humidity, so dehydration times may vary.
This paleo beef jerky recipe contains no added sugar and no soy. It is the perfect snack and a great addition to your Whole30 diet!
You don’t need a dehydrator to make this, however, it makes the process easier. You can also make it in the oven.
Patience is key when it comes to getting as much flavor as you can into this jerky through the marinating process. You can marinate anywhere from 24 to 96 hours. If you know you want to serve it to guests coming over, for instance, make sure that you plan ahead and get the marinating process started early.
Your paleo diet doesn’t have to hold you back from delicious snacks. This homemade jerky recipe is a crowd-pleaser, and fits in line with your lifestyle perfectly.