We love beef jerky, but man is it expensive to buy pre-made. Not only is it expensive, but they're awfully stingy with the portions they put in those little bags they sell at the grocery store. The solution is to make your own. It really is very simple and you can vary the marinade to suit your own tastes. I have never made a bad batch, some may be a little hotter than others but they are always good.
This is our favorite recipe after years of experimenting. Feel free to add or omit things as you like, everyone's tastes are different.
The Marinade (this will be enough for about 2.5-3 pounds of meat)
¾ cup of Soy Sauce (I prefer Kikkoman)
1 cup of Teriyaki Sauce
½ cup of Jim Beam Bourbon or Bourbon of your choice
¼ cup of Worcestershire
approximately 1 teaspoon of Liquid Smoke (more or less to your taste)
1 Tablespoon of Crushed Red Pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic powder or you may use freshly chopped garlic to taste if you prefer
about 15-20 cranks of freshly ground black pepper
Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a large Tupperware like container and set aside. Be sure and use a container that is large enough for you to be able to add the meat to the marinade. Also be sure that the container has a tightly fitting lid so that it will be easy for you to shake the container occasionally.
I start with a nice cut of London broil, usually around 2.5-3 pounds for a single batch (although I usually make a double batch of about 5-6 pounds while I'm going to the trouble).
The easiest way to slice the meat is to take it and put it in the freezer until it starts to get firm. Freezers will vary, but it usually takes about 2 to 2 ½ hours in ours. Take it out and place it on a cutting board.
Using a very sharp knife cut the meat into slices approximately 1/8 inch thick. Be sure to cut across the grain. Keep in mind that the thicker you slice the meat, the longer the drying time will be.
Put the meat into the marinade. I usually do this one slice at a time so I can be sure that the marinade covers the entire surface of each piece and that none of the pieces get stuck together.
Place the container in the refrigerator and marinade it for at least 24 hours, preferably 48 hours. Stir or shake occasionally.
Lay the meat slice by slice on the dehydrator trays and start it up!
Drying time will vary depending on your dehydrator, the humidity and the thickness of the meat. I usually check on it after the first 2 hours, at that time I rotate the trays from top to bottom and also flip the individual pieces of jerky over. This helps with uniform drying. When meat is dry, cool and put into jars or plastic bags. If you have a FoodSaver or a Seal-a- Meal, they also work great for packaging your finished product.
Plan to make this often once you do make it though, everyone will beg you relentlessly. It is even so good I've had people offer to pay me to make it for them.