Spicy Beef Jerky

You can make better-than-purchased beef jerky with basic kitchen materials; all you need is an oven, flavorful spices and a few hours to spare.
beefjerky_article

Photo: Edward Pond

By Laura Walsh

Serves: About 25
Makes: 12 oz (about 50 pieces)
Hands-on time: 1 hour
Total time: 10 hours

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lb eye of round beef roast, flank steak or London broil, trimmed of visible fat
  • 2/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika or liquid smoke, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. If using a large roast or steak, slice beef into 2 or 3 equal pieces. Wrap beef in plastic wrap and place in freezer for about 1 hour to ease slicing. Remove from freezer and transfer to a cutting board. Using only the tip of a chef’s knife, slice beef along the grain into equal 1/8-inch-thick strips.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare marinade. In a 2-cup measure, whisk remaining ingredients and, if desired, paprika, until smooth.
  3. Transfer beef to a large, heavy-duty zip-top bag. Pour marinade into bag, seal tightly and turn to coat beef. Lay flat in refrigerator and marinate for 3 to 6 hours, turning bag 1 to 2 times (NOTE: Do not exceed 6 hours).
  4. Line a large baking sheet with 2 sheets paper towel. Remove beef from bag, shaking or gently wringing each strip to remove excess marinade. Transfer to baking sheet and cover with additional 2 sheets paper towel. Press down through towel to flatten strips and absorb as much marinade as possible. Remove oven racks and place a foil drip pan in bottom of oven, or line bottom with foil. Preheat oven to lowest setting, 140 to 170°F.
  5. Thread skewers through 1 end of strips, leaving 1 inch between each strip. Lay skewers horizontally across 1 oven rack. Transfer rack to highest position in oven, allowing strips to hang without touching oven walls. Close oven, propping door open a crack with a small, dry, rolled-up dish towel or a wooden spoon. (NOTE: This is necessary to allow moisture to escape from the oven; the oven temperature is low enough that this is not a fire danger.) Cook for 5 hours.
  6. Check strips for doneness; remove dry, hard and darkened pieces from skewers and place on a cooling rack. Cook remaining strips for 1 to 2 hours, checking often for doneness. Transfer to cooling racks. When strips are fully cooled, transfer to airtight containers and store upright at room temperature for up to 2 months (NOTE: Do not pack strips tightly). Discard strips that show signs of spoilage (mold or unpleasant odor) over time.

Nutrients per serving (2 large strips Spicy Beef Jerky): Calories: 27, Total Fat: 1 g, Sat. Fat: 0 g, Carbs: 1 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 4 g, Sodium: 92 mg, Cholesterol: 8 mg

HOW-TO SLIDESHOW!
Follow our step-by-step guide to making your own jerky.

  • Arsanna Snow

    You can also use a dehydrator for jerky instead of an oven.

  • Itou Kyuuji

    Cutting along the grain will give you tough to chew jerky.
    Cutting across the grain will give you a much more tender jerky.

    It’s all a matter of preference.

  • Matt Duffy

    This is Alton Brown’s recipe, but with low-sodium and raw options. Give credit where due…