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Zero Carb Home-Made Beef Jerky – Easy, Fast, and TASTY!

Beef jerky is great when you’re trying to avoid carby snacks.  If the craving hits, chew some jerky, it’ll keep your mouth busy and it’ll fill you up just enough to chase away the snack craving you’re having.  Making your own beef jerky is REALLY quick and easy – and you can make it to your tastes (I don’t usually like store bought jerky because they never have quite the right flavor for me).

The actual time involved in making this is only about 10 or 15 minutes.  There’s about 7 hours of soak time and about 8 hours of dehydration time that you can sleep through :)

Basic ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of thinly sliced beef
  • 3/4 cup soya sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • optional: 3 tbsp sugar free sweetener (I used Walmart’s store brand)
  • optional: 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • optional: ground black pepper to taste
  • optional: 1/2 cup chili garlic sauce

The optional ingredients are yours to swap out and change all you want.  I like spicy jerky, so I go with these.  If you prefer something less worthy of Ron Swanson, then by all means, remove the manly spices ;)

Aside from the ingredients above, all you really need to get started is a dehydrator.  I lost my last one in a recent move, so I went out and picked one up new for about $49. You can find them for as little as $34 at Walmart.

Head to your local grocery store and buy about two pounds of cheap sandwich steak or any really thin fresh beef.  I’ve seen some butcher shop roll them up into tubes.  You could even buy a cheap roast and slice it yourself.  Take it home and slice it up on a cutting board into strips.  You can cut them long and thin if you want or short and fat, it’s up to you!

If some of your pieces of beef have large veins of fat, cut them out!  Some fat is GREAT on a steak on the BBQ, but pretty damn disgusting in beef jerky!

Once they’re all cut, put them in a ziplock back and start putting together your marinating ingredients.  Again, for two pounds of beef I would recommend the following:

  • 2 pounds of thinly sliced beef
  • 3/4 cup soya sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • optional: 3 tbsp sugar free sweetener (I used Walmart’s store brand)
  • optional: 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • optional: ground black pepper to taste
  • optional: 1/2 cup chili garlic sauce

Even if you don’t like salt, it’s important to have enough soya sauce/salt to keep bacteria from forming on the surface of the beef until enough moisture has been removed to prevent bacterial growth.

Chili garlic sauce is a MUST for my beef jerky.  It ends up not being overly spicy but adds a great flavor and it smells amazing!

Once you have all your marinating ingredients in the zip lock bag, shake and squish it all around until you feel pretty confident that every square millimeter of beef in drenched in marinade.  Then stick it in your fridge for six to eight hours while you go to work, hit the gym, read a book, or whatever it is you do in your down time.

After you’ve had a nice nap and played some Risk with some friends, your beef jerky is done marinating!  Take it out of your fridge and dump it in a strainer in the sink.  Zip that bag up and throw it away, it’ll be pretty pungent!  Strain of all the excess marinade but don’t go too crazy, you want as much of that great tasting stuff on your beef as possible.

Now you can prep your dehydrator trays.  My dehydrator recommends that I turn it on and warm it up for at least five minutes before using it, so at this point I plug it in.  Now take your trays to the counter and PUT SOMETHING UNDER THEM so that the marinade doesn’t get all over your counter.  I happened to find a pizza try in the cupboard that was just a hair larger than my dehydrator trays.

Place your beef jerky evenly on your dehydrator sheets.  Make sure to lay them out flat (they sometimes get rolled up while marinading).  Also make sure not to let any of them overlap.  It’s OK if they touch each other here and there, but overlapping is bad, it’ll cause them to dry unevenly and they’ll end up pretty disgusting.

Keep stacking up your trays and laying out your jerky until you have it all on trays.

Put the remaining empty trays on top of your stack (if any) and put the lid on.  Carry them to wherever you have your dehydrator warming up.

I put my dehydrator in the garage.  Once you smell it you understand why.  Don’t get me wrong, it smells fantastic, but if you run this thing in your house it’ll wreak of soya sauce and chili garlic sauce for months.  In this case, I put the dehydrator on a step ladder in the garage.

Each dehydrator will have different instructions, mine suggests eight to ten hours for beef.  So, call up your friends for another game of Risk and promise the best beef jerky they’ve ever had to the victor!

Eight to ten hours (and one Risk game) later, your beef jerky is ready!  You’ll see that it shrunk quite a bit.  If it’s done, it’ll be crispy and crack when bent.  If there is any wet sauce on it or it feels rubbery at all, put it back in and play some more Risk.

Here are a few pieces of jerky, ready to take on a hike or to hold my appetite at bay at work instead of eating donuts or candy.

Remember, when it’s done it should crack slightly when bent. In this macro shot you can see the white fibers pulling apart where this piece of zero carb beef jerky is bent. That’s what you’re looking for.

This is important.  Store your jerky in a zip lock bag or other well seal-able dry container.

That’s it!  Depending on what you flavored your marinade with, you now have have a TON of zero (or at least low) carb beef jerky :)

Enjoy!

 

 

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