Australians have arguably (well.. no argument in my opinion!) some of the best beef on the planet. I have travelled all over the world, and nothing tastes as good as a medium-rare Australian steak. However, even with all of this beef we are severely lacking one incredibly tasty beef product. That product is, Beef Jerky.
Beef Jerky is my ultimate paleo snack. Its almost completely protein, has a great taste, and makes me happy. I always make sure I have some jerky in the house for random food cravings.
Where do I buy jerky in Australia?
Now sure you can buy jerky at Petrol Stations, or some supermarkets, however most of these are imported, full of preservatives, and just plain don’t look right! So steer clear from this faux jerky.
There are however some quality online retailers, who use great Australian beef, no chemical preservatives and taste unbelievable. My absolute favourite is Geronimo Jerky. They have some incredible flavours and ship Australia Wide. Check them out.
Make your own beef jerky!
In my opinion, making your own beef jerky however, is the cheapest, most rewarding way to get your beef jerky fix. You can play with flavours and get it just perfect for your taste buds. Best of all, it is super easy to do, and can be made with a conventional oven.
Here’s how I do it!
First do some googling into some good beef jerky marinades. Eventually you will experiment with these and make your own perfect mix. The one I have included is my favourite “standard marinade” which I modify for sweetness/hotness based on my current cravings.
Marinade Ingredients (for 1kg of Beef):
- ¼ Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce (You will be adding sodium later so don’t want to over do it.)
- 2 Tbsp Cup Worcestershire Sauce
- ¼ Liquid Smoke (Buy online from here).
- 2 Tsp Garlic Powder (or 3 cloves fresh garlic chopped/crushed ultra small)
- 2 Tsp Onion Powder (or quarter onion, finely cut and crushed)
- 1 Tsp Sea Salt
- 1-2 tsp Pepper
- 2 Tsp Cumin
- (Optional) Sweet Mix : Add Tablespoon Honey
- (Optional) Hot Mix: Add 2 Tsp Chilli Powder, Or Chilli Sauce
Next buy yourself a nice cut of meat. My favourite is good old fashioned round cut steak. Get your butcher to get you the leanest pieces (you DON’T want fat in your jerky. It goes rancid due to the drying process and can make you ill!)
The above Marinade is good for about 1kg of meat. (Please note, during the drying process the meat shrinks, so 1kg of meat will probably makes about 750g of Jerky!)
First, get your steaks, wrap them in plastic wrap and chuck them in the freezer for about 30mins. You want them cold, so they are easier to cut, but not frozen!
While they are cooling, combine all your marinade ingredients together and mix well.
Optional step: If you’re making different marinades, get your vacuum seal packs and mark them with the names of the marinades. i.e Super Sweet, Extra Hot etc.
Take out the meat, and now cut out any large bits of fat off it. Now cut the meat in long strips about 1-1.5cm wide.
Cutting with the grain will make more chewy jerky, against the grain will make more tender jerky. I recommend making some of both and seeing what you like best. I personally don’t mind either way.
Optional Step: If your steaks are too ‘thick’ pound the hell out of them with a meat mallet. This will tenderise the meat a bit more and make it more wider and thinner. (More surface area for that tasty flavour to attach to!) Again, another point to experiment.
Now put your meat into the vacuum bags and pour in the marinade. Mix it about a bit, and then remove as much air as possible from the bag and seal. Leave in the fridge to marinade over night. Turn over every now and then if you get a chance too.
Once marinaded, take out your meat and place them on a paper towel. Pat dry to remove any excess marinade. Lightly sprinkle the jerky with some sea salt. This will not only enhance the flavour but aid in the drying process.
Put a drip tray at the bottom of your oven to catch any juice. Then lay the strips of meat across the steel wire trays ensuring some room around the jerky for air circulation. Turn the oven on to a low heat, 150F is my favourite, leave the door a-jar for some air-circulation and let the jerky dry!
Side Note: Depending on who you talk to, they will give you a different temperature. Some people like it hotter, and essentially ‘bake’ the ‘jerky’, some people are purists and use ultra low heat. My advice, make it how YOU want. Half the fun of cooking is experimenting. So play around and get your own personal recipe.
Cooking time should take about 8 hours max, but try check on the jerky often and remove when it is easily tear-able and dry.
Enjoy your jerky guiltlessly.