I’ve been letting my harsh stance on kitchen gadgets slide in recent months, and before I knew it, we had another acquisition. I will admit that I was fearful when Jan excitedly reported that he’d ordered a dehydrator and it would only be a matter of days before it arrived from Amazon onto our doorstep. He told me I should be relieved that he’d bought the Nesco FD-80, as he was tempted to buy the Excalibur (which we got a sneak peek at during our raw foods class: Going raw), but that it was three times the price and didn’t seem worth it. As Jan says, a dehydrator is not a complicated thing; it’s essentially a box with trays and a regulated heating element and a fan, and since the Nesco had adjustable temperature settings, it fit all the requirements.
When the dehydrator arrived, Jan was like a giddy child with a new toy. He bought sirloin roast (deciding on that cut in particular because that was what was on sale), and cut it into thin slices. He used soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and dried chili flakes to make a marinade for the meat. After about 4 hours of the meat marinating, he loaded up the dehydrator and “let it do its magic,” as he said. He kept checking on the jerky till it seamed the right dryness which was about 6 hours later.
We sampled the jerky and it was not over spiced nor over salted—it was amazing how we could really taste the meat. Much better than the stuff you buy in the store, we agreed. One thing to be aware of is that since you are dehydrating the meat you will end up with about 1/3 the weight that you started with, so 3 pounds of meat is only 1 pound of jerky. It’s probably more cost-effective to buy jerky premade from the store, but the quality you get with homemade is worth it.
Since his first batch, Jan has been experimenting with different ingredients and the recipe I’m sharing below is our favorite so far. With everyone in the family pleased with the beef jerky (especially Benny!), the dehydrator is, for now a welcome addition to our family of kitchen gadgets. And it might stay that way for a while. After all, once the allure of making homemade jerky wears off, there’s still a whole world of other foods out there to dehydrate.
- 2 pounds sirloin or London broil cut into 1/8 inch strips
- ¼ cup of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili oil
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon crushed pepper corns
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Combine sliced meat with all other ingredients and marinate at least 4 hours.
- Place in the dehydrator for 6-8 hours.