Making beef jerky is a simple process that’s been perfected over the past hundred years. You use heat to cook and dehydrate the meat, while a balanced air flow system keeps flavors and textures consistent.
As the holidays approach, we’re also interested in some delicious, homemade snacks and meals. Use our recipes to make any kind of beef jerky. We’ve provided a sweet, homemade, apple cider beef jerky recipe that’s soft enough for anyone to enjoy.
This is exactly what an electric dehydrator is designed for. You can’t replicate the same results in your home oven. It isn’t designed to desiccate meat, and will lead to a giant waste in electrical costs when compared to a dehydrator.
Preparing beef for your meat dehydrator
Generally, the reason for dryer beef jerky is for storage purposes. You can safely store your jerky for up to 2 years this way. The less moisture it contains, the longer it will take for bacteria to grow and spoil the meat.
The first step is to select and prepare the meat. Any fat should be trimmed off, so if you’re using ground meat, the leaner the better.
Dry beef jerky is also better enjoyed when tender. Use a meat tenderizer mallet to relax the beef before it’s dehydrated. Also, when you’re cutting it into strips, be sure to cut against the grain of the fibers in the meat, to soften its texture.
We’ll also use apple cider to tenderize the meat. It’s a homemade recipe that we’ll share below, and we use it both for its sweet flavor, and its acidic content.
Apple cider beef jerky recipe
There are thousands of beef jerky recipes that are readily available online. We’ve chosen a sweet and spicy, low sodium beef jerky that’s easy to make and share.
- 2 lbs. Beef
- 1 cup Homemade Apple Cider
- 3 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. cayenne or red pepper powder
- 1 tsp. pepper
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
Once your meat is trimmed, tenderized and cut into strips, mix all of the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Cover completely each section of meat, then cover and marinate them in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
Set your 5 tray food dehydrator to 165 degrees F. This will be plenty of space to lay each piece of meat on the trays with some space between them. Dry for 5-8 hours, until as much of the moisture has dissipated as possible, without burning the meat.
Homemade apple cider for your jerky recipes
This recipe contains just a few ingredients. Your choice of apples will impact both the flavor and texture of your jerky. Sweeter apples will provide a sugary taste, will more sour apples will soften the meat, due to their acidic content.
You could replace it entirely with hard apple cider if that’s your fancy, however the brewing process is too complex to share in this article.
- 8 Medium-Sized Apples
- ¾ cups Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp. Cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. Ground Allspice
Core and quarter the apples with a knife and place them in a boiling pot. Cover with two inches of water before adding and stirring in the rest of the ingredients.
Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to cook, uncovered, for an hour. Cover with a lid, then reduce heat and simmer for an additional two hours. Once finished, strain out as much solid content as possible, then let it cool before storing your cider in the fridge.
A quiet dehydrator is a terrific way to spoil your family with loads of delicious jerky over the holidays!