Beef jerky is a popular snack known for its rich flavor and convenience. It’s traditionally made by drying strips of lean beef that have been seasoned with various spices and sauces. But many people don’t know that you can create delicious jerky using ground beef, too. This method for making ground beef jerky provides an accessible alternative for those who want to enjoy homemade jerky without needing to slice whole cuts of meat.
The process involves seasoning ground beef and shaping it into thin strips or sticks before drying. A dehydrator or smoker can be used to achieve the perfect texture, ensuring the jerky is chewy but not too tough. By making beef jerky at home, individuals have full control over the ingredients, which is great for those mindful of their intake of preservatives and additives found in some commercial products.
Crafting a ground beef jerky recipe at home allows for customization in terms of flavors and spices. Whether aiming for a classic peppery taste or something more adventurous like a sweet and spicy marinade, the flexibility is key. The result is a satisfying and protein-packed snack that’s perfect for on-the-go moments, hiking trips, or just enjoying with friends and family.Jump to Recipe
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Understanding Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is a popular snack that is enjoyed for its rich, savory flavor and convenience. It is made from lean beef that is trimmed of fat, cut into strips, and then dried to prevent spoilage. Because it’s made from lean cuts, beef jerky is a good source of protein, which is essential for body repair and muscle growth.
The process of making beef jerky involves seasoning the meat to add various flavors. After that, it is dried slowly, which removes most of the moisture. This drying process ensures that the jerky is shelf-stable and can be stored without refrigeration, making it an ideal snack for on-the-go activities.
In terms of nutrition, beef jerky is often low in calories but can be high in sodium, so it’s important to consume it in moderation. The lack of fat and high protein content also contribute to its status as a healthier snack option compared to others that are high in processed sugars and saturated fats.
Furthermore, because of its tough and chewy texture, beef jerky takes longer to eat, which can help with feeling full for an extended period. When selecting beef jerky, it’s a good idea to look for options made with lean ground beef, as they typically contain fewer calories and less fat.
It’s also quite simple to make beef jerky from ground hamburger, which can be shaped using tools like a jerky gun before the drying process. Whether made at home or bought from the store, beef jerky continues to be favored for its taste and nutritional benefits.
Selecting the Right Beef
When making beef jerky with hamburger, the choice of meat is crucial. One should look for ground beef that’s high in protein and low in fat. Ideally, lean ground beef with no more than 10% fat is best for jerky making.
Lean meats make the jerky drying process efficient and reduce the risk of spoilage. Ground venison or elk are excellent choices for a gamey flavor and are naturally leaner options. In contrast, whole muscle jerky is made from sliced meat rather than ground, offering a different texture and flavor profile.
One must pay attention to the type of ground meat, as ground beef is the most commonly used, but alternatives like ground venison or elk can be used to add variety. The key is to ensure that the meat selected has enough protein and is as lean as possible for the best jerky outcome.
When crafting a ground beef jerky recipe, the process begins with careful selection and combination of ingredients. One should opt for lean ground beef, ideally with a 90% lean to 10% fat ratio, to ensure a good texture and flavor.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the Wet Ingredients: Start by mixing the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke in a bowl. These ingredients add a savory, smoky depth to the jerky.
- Add the Dry Ingredients: Blend in the garlic powder and onion powder, alongside a pinch of salt and pepper. These seasonings provide a classic jerky flavor.
- Mix with Ground Beef: Thoroughly mix the wet and dry ingredients into the ground beef. Ensure that the mixture is consistent and that the seasonings are well dispersed throughout the meat.
- Marinate: For best results, cover the meat mixture and let it marinate in the refrigerator. The ideal marinate time ranges from 4 to 24 hours. Marinating allows the meat to absorb all the flavors and tenderize, leading to a more flavorful jerky.
- Prepare for Drying: After marination, they can either roll out the mixture and cut it into strips or use a jerky gun to dispense an even thickness before dehydrating.
- Dehydrate: The key to effectively drying beef jerky is maintaining a consistent low heat. Dehydrate the strips at a temperature of 160°F until they reach the desired level of dryness, generally between 4 to 8 hours.
Prep Time: 30 minutes + 4-24 hours for marinating
Cook Time: 4-8 hours dehydrating
Remember, attention to detail during preparation ensures a satisfying beef jerky experience.
Flavoring and Seasoning
Crafting a delicious batch of beef jerky begins with a balance of flavorful seasonings. Whether you prefer a classic savory profile or you’re after a sweeter zest, the right combination of dry and wet ingredients will elevate your beef jerky to new heights.
Dry Seasoning Blend
The dry seasoning blend is the cornerstone of any beef jerky recipe. It typically includes kosher salt, black pepper, and often sugar to create an initial layer of flavor. For those who like a kick, cayenne pepper is a popular choice. One can also experiment with savory spices such as garlic powder or onion powder for enhanced taste.
Wet Marinade Mixture
A wet marinade mixture infuses the beef with deep flavors. Common ingredients include soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and sometimes a touch of liquid smoke for that classic smoked taste. For a different twist, one might add BBQ or teriyaki sauce. Those seeking a gluten-free option can opt for coconut aminos as an alternative to soy sauce.
Creating Your Own Flavor
One has the freedom to concoct their own unique flavors. Mix and match different seasonings and sauces to customize the beef jerky flavor to their liking. Think outside of the box with additions like citrus zest for a tangy zest or maple syrup for a subtle sweetness.
Storage and Shelf Life
Proper storage is key to maintaining the beef jerky’s quality and extending its shelf life. After cooling, it should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or fridge. For longer storage, one can freeze the jerky in a freezer-safe container, extending its edibility.
Making Beef Jerky with a Dehydrator
When using a dehydrator, one will arrange the seasoned beef on dehydrator trays covered with parchment paper, ensuring no overlap. Alternatively, a baking sheet can be used if utilizing an oven’s low-temperature setting. The result is a homemade, delicious jerky with a perfect chewy, yet tender texture.
Beef Jerky Recipe Using Hamburger
- 2 lbs beef such as flank steak or sirloin tip, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce such as sriracha or your choice of hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- Prepare the Marinade: In a large bowl, mix together soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, smoked paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and black pepper.
- Marinate the Beef: Place the beef slices in a resealable bag and pour the marinade over them. Ensure all pieces are well-coated. Seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Dry the Beef: Preheat your oven to 175°F (80°C). Take the beef out of the marinade, gently pat dry with paper towels, and arrange the slices on a wire rack over a baking sheet.
- Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 3-4 hours, or until the beef is dried to your preference.
- Cool and Store: Let the jerky cool completely before storing in an airtight container. It can be kept in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.