Homemade Oven Beef Jerky

Orange-marinated_beef_jerky

Recipe adapted for kosher cooking, from The Kitchn, makes 1-2lbs of jerky

Ingredients:

  • 3lbs sandwich steak
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili-garlic paste, optional (see Recipe Note)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger

Directions:

  • Unwrap the meat, pat it dry with paper towels, and set it on a plate or baking sheet. If using a flank steak that is folded up in its packaging, uncurl it. Cover the meat with plastic wrap and freeze it for 1 to 2 hours until firm but not frozen solid.
  • Using a very sharp chef’s knife, trim off and discard any excess fat or tendons. With your knife parallel to the cutting board, carefully butterfly the thick slab of meat into two thin slabs (see second photo from the top, above). Cut each piece of meat into thin strips 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Most pieces will be 4 to 6 inches long, though some tidbits may be smaller. You can cut your strips either against the grain for the classic chewy jerky look and feel, or with the grain, which will produce a more sinewy texture
  • Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, chili-garlic paste, sesame seeds, ground pepper, and ginger in a large zip-top plastic bag or glass baking dish. Add the sliced meat and coat with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight, turning a few times to distribute the marinade.
  • When you are ready to dry the jerky, remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about an hour.
  • Meanwhile, remove the racks from the oven, line the bottom of the oven completely with foil, and then turn on the oven to preheat to 175°F. Maintaining a steady 175°F is really important so use an oven thermometer to confirm that the temperature reaches 175°F and remains there. You may have to prop open the door an inch or two with a wadded-up dishtowel or hot pad in order to maintain the temperature.
  • Spray the oven racks with nonstick cooking spray. Alternatively, leave the oven racks in the oven, line as many baking sheets as will fit into your oven with foil, and place cooling racks inside each baking sheet.
  • Remove the meat from the marinade, draining off the liquid and blotting away any excess marinade with paper towels. Arrange the meat strips side-by-side across the racks, leaving at least 1/4-inch of space between strips.
  • Place the racks of meat in the oven and cook until completely dry. This can take as little as 2 hours and as long as 5 hours, depending on the thickness and moistness of the meat, and how chewy you want it to be. The jerky will firm up as it cools. Check the oven temperature regularly to ensure it does not get too low (some finicky oven pilot lights can go out at such a low temperature) and adjust as needed.
  • The jerky is ready when it is dry, darker in color, and breaks gently (not snap) when bent. Blot any residual moisture from the jerky with paper towels and cool completely on the racks before storing.
  • Store the jerky in an airtight container kept in a cool, dry place. Well-dried beef stored this way will last 2 to 3 months.
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