How to Make Beef Jerky

Lean cuts tend work best for jerky as fat tends to turn rancid before the meat does. It’s not likely to make you sick but it might not taste very good. Jerky made from fattier cuts should be refrigerated or better yet stored in the freezer.

If your goal is to make jerky that will store for a long time at room temperature then dryer is better. If your jerky is brittle then it is a good sign that it is very dry. If you are not sure refrigerate/freeze your jerky.
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Marinade Time: 4-6 hours | Cook Time: commonly 6-10 hours. Smoker Temp: 70 – 82 °C (160-180 F) | Meat Finish Temp: 70 °C (160 F).

  • Recommended Wood: Oak, Hickory or Pecan
  • Cut beef strips (e.g. flank steak) about 1/8inch thick
  • Marinade for 4-6 hours in the marinade (see below for a suggested recipe)
  • Place meat on wire racks in the smoker and smoke the meat at 180-200 degrees for 2-3 hours or until the meat reaches 160°
  • Keep temperature over 140 and below 180 and check hourly, until the level of dehydration and texture approaches what is desirable
  • It should still be able to bend without snapping. You may begin to see some white fibres in the meat (smoke rings) when it is done
  • Don't over dry it. Remember once it cools down it will become even more brittle

Marinade for 1Kg of Meat

  •     ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  •     ½ cup soy sauce
  •     1 tablespoon honey
  •     2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  •     I tablespoon of Tomato Ketchup
  •     2 cloves crushed garlic
  •     1 teaspoon red pepper flake

Method
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Marinade Time: 24 hours | Cook Time: commonly 6-10 hours | Smoker Temp: 160-180 F | Meat Finish Temp: 160 F

  •     Recommended Wood: Oak, Hickory or Pecan
  •     Cut beef strips about 1/8 inch thick
  •     Marinate in a sauce for a day
  •     Place meat on wire racks in the smoker and smoke the meat at 180-200 degrees for 2-3 hours or until the meat reaches 160 degrees
  •     Keep temperature over 140 and below 180 and check hourly, until the level of dehydration and texture approaches what is desirable
  •     it should still be able to bend without snapping. You may begin to see some white fibres in the meat when it is done
  •     Don't over dry it. Remember once it cools down it will become even more brittle

Note: The difference between beef jerky and biltong: biltong is not smoked, but beef jerky is.

How to make Biltong

Many types of meat can be used for biltong; beef is popular but you can also use game meats such as venison for example.
The main cuts used for beef biltong are good cuts that are semi-marbled such as rump or topside, porterhouse, silverside, round steak etc.

This recipe is for approximately 2kgs of meat:

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup rock salt
  • ½ cup soft brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup brown vinegar (or some people use red vinegar other a mix of white and brown)
  • White pepper
  • 30grams whole coriander seeds (dry roast the whole coriander in a heavy saucepan and then grind with a mortar and pestle – coriander is an essential and original ingredient in biltong)
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (this tenderises the meat)

Method:   

  • Cut the meat into long strips 4cm thick (make sure it is as even as possible and not lumpy (thin strips give a better result) Sprinkle the meat with white pepper and coriander and rub this into the meat
  • Mix the rock salt with the brown sugar and bicarbonate of soda
  • Place a thin layer of the salt/sugar mix in the bottom of the dish
  • Place a single layer of the meat side by side in a flat glass dish of top of the salt layer. Check how many strips you have left so you can evenly use up the remaining ingredients for each layer
  • Sprinkle the meat with more of the sugar/salt mix
  • Then sprinkle the meat with some of the combined Worcestershire sauce and vinegar
  • Add another layer of meat and repeat the above until all the meat is in the dish, finishing with the vinegar/Worcestershire mix
  • Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours
  • Remove the meat from the marinade and squeeze it dry – sprinkle the meat with some ground black pepper and ground roasted coriander and rub it in all over
  • Hang the strips on individual hooks or use skewers (pierced through the strip –make sure that the strips of meat do not touch each other (you need lots of airflow around it to dry it properly)
  • Hang in a dry airy place or in a specifically constructed ‘biltong box’ – you might buy a biltong maker (they are relatively cheap) or make one yourself