The boys and I have had a blast making homemade jerky this summer. We have experimented with several different recipes, have maintained some consistent techniques, and yet have learned some valuable lessons.
Click on the appropriate version in case you wanted a recap.
More Lessons Learned
Lesson 3 – Remember when I mentioned that we needed to find a less fatty, less grisly meat? Well, one stop with the local butcher helped me not only find some lean flavorful meat, but a lot less labor intensive in prepping the meat. The local butcher recommended pectoral meat! Yep, you heard me correctly, meat from the cows pectoral muscle. This muscly and lean meat is perfect to make great jerky at home. No longer do we buy 5 lbs, as an example, only to net 3 1/2 after cutting away fat, and so on, but we buy 5 lbs and get 5 lbs! I doubt all butchers have it, you may have to ask them to special order it, as they may not keep it on hand (although any butcher that house cures their own jerky very likely may).
Lesson 4 – Cooking at 200 degrees in your oven for about 4 hours does the job! Don’t feel like you have to have a special curing room, or even a counter top dehydrator, the low and slow process draws out all the moisture and leaves the jerky an intensely flavored chew and tear you would expect from a good piece of jerky.
So, I guess the lesson here is that making homemade beef jerky is MOST DEFINITELY cheaper than buying the big brands, even the local Oberto boys! Not only will it save your pocketbook, but will fill up your fridge, freezer and snack bin with lots of delicious meaty goodness for those ball games of your kids, hiking excursions, or day trips.
This particular recipe is a personal favorite. The smoky, chipotle peppers are concentrated flavor that brings a nice zing to each bite. The beauty of jerky, however, is that you can marinate the meat virtually anyway you would like, just make sure you follow the rest of the steps, including the tips talked about in this particular post.