Here’s the problem. Sometimes, there’s a killer deal on meat I don’t actually like. This week, I picked up a couple pounds of bottom and eye of round roast on sale for next to nothing. Round is usually considered the worst cut, and for good reason. It’s lean, it’s tough, it doesn’t react to cooking well, and for all that, it’s not even very flavorful. But the price was too good to pass up. The solution? Jerky.
Turning this round into jerky couldn’t be simpler. But it made the round into a fun, tasty, portable, and storable treat. Slice the meat thin. You need it thin because it will dehydrate more quickly and completely.
I did it in varying widths so I would end up with different portion sizes, and experiment with the process. Next, if you want, marinate the meat in a mixture of worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and spices. For the purist carnivores out there, I’ve done this with nothing but a little salt and found the results just as good, if not better (see the picture below). You can find specific recipes for the marinade elsewhere on the internet. I don’t have one for you because I don’t know how much meat you’re using or what kind of marinating vessel you’re using. You’ll use less marinade in a gallon bag than in a bowl, for example. Also because I don’t use a recipe. Rather, I use what I have and add things to taste. I add enough worcestershire/soy sauce and spices to coat the meat thoroughly in the mixture, without too much extra.
As you can see from the picture above, I arrange the meat on a wire rack set in or over a baking sheet. The wire rack allows hot air to circulate beneath the meat as well as above, dehydrating it more evenly and quickly. Preheat you oven to its lowest setting, or somewhere in the 160-180F range. Mine only goes down to 170F, but that’s been more than fine. Stick your baking sheet in and forget about it for 4-5 hours. That’s a rough estimate. You should cook it to the degree of doneness you want, which you will learn through experience.
The finished product is excellent. Doing it like this in the oven doesn’t dehydrate it down to the crumbly, paper-dry moisture content you’re used to from commercial jerky, complete with silica-gel dry packs. If you really want to store this stuff long term, doing it with a dehydrator and picking up some silica-gel packs wouldn’t be a bad idea. But I’m not doing that because I eat it long before it would present me any problems, and because I want to keep it simple and easy and not go buy a bunch of specialized equipment. From start to finish, you’ll need a full day or an overnight. But most of that time is marinating and dehydrating. In terms of actual work, I spent 15-20 minutes on the whole thing.
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