Learning how to make jerky is not a difficult process by any means. Determining how to make jerky will differentiate somewhat depending on what type of jerky you plan on making, because you can make jerky from beef, deer, turkey, chicken and even fish. It does not take any special gadgets or tools to learn how to make jerky from the comfort of your own home. Learning how to make jerky is truly quite simple, and it can be done using nearly any oven. Drying meats has for centuries been used as a means of keeping it preserved. Unlike with other types of marinade, the marinades that are intended for jerky tend to eliminate oil from the mix completely. The recipe for marinade mentioned below is one that is good for all purpose jerky making, but it should be considered a rough guideline rather than strictly followed. You should feel free to experiment with your own ideas when it comes to learning how to make jerky. Add honey for something sweet, for example, or take out the red peppers if you like things less spicy.
What You Need: You need 3 lbs of meat, 2/3 cup of Worcestershire sauce, 2/3 cup of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon each of black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. There are other options that you may want to include, including 1 tsp of liquid smoke and 2 to 3 teaspoons each of Tabasco sauce, sesame seeds, crushed peppers or honey.
What You Do: The ingredients mentioned above will produce 16 to 18 ounces of jerky from approximately 3 lbs of meat. You should slice the meat of your choice into thin slices of approximately 1/8 inch or so, following the grain. Mix all of the ingredients for the marinade together using a plastic zipper bag that is a gallon size or larger, then add the meat and toss everything into the refrigerator. Turn the bag over and allow the ingredients to mix every hour or so. Hearty meats need to be marinated over the period of an entire night, while lighter meats can marinate sufficiently over a period of three to four hours. Ground meats should not be marinated.
Place a sheet of tin foil on the bottom of your oven when you are ready to begin the drying process. Drain the meat using a colander and pat it dry with a paper towel. Set your oven to the lowest possible temperature and place the meat carefully onto the oven racks. Leave your oven door open just slightly so that moisture will be allowed to escape. Keep in mind that the drying times for your jerky will vary depending to the meat and the meat size. Perfect jerky is jerky that is dry and firm rather than spongy in any way. If your jerky is so dry that it breaks into pieces easily, it may be too dry.