Weekend Chew: How To Make Homemade Jerky

What’s not to love about jerky? It is a portable snack that is full of protein and goes great with some veggies or nuts. I used to think getting some jerky required a trip to the store, but to my surprise, it’s actually really easy to make. You just need an oven and a broiler pan.

The best thing about homemade jerky is that you can customize it any way you want. There are many different spices and seasonings to make savory, sweet, or spicy jerky.

Savory

  • Soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic
  • Onion

Sweet

  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Brown sugar

Spicy

  • Red pepper flakes
  • Paprika
  • Ginger
  • Chile powder

Once you decide on the seasonings, pick a protein—chicken, turkey, lean red meat, salmon, seitan or tofu—and cut it into long, thin strips. If you’re using meat, make sure to get it lean and trim any fat. Throw the meat in a bag with some spices and a liquid sauce, like soy or Worcestershire, and let it marinate overnight. If you’re using meat, after marinating, steam or roast to the proper temperature (145° for fish, 160° for red meat, 165° for chicken ) to kill any foodborne pathogens that might be present.

Set your oven to 170° (or as low as it will go). While your oven is heating up, place your strips of protein on a broiler pan. Make sure the pan is grated so that air can circulate around the jerky. Place it in the oven, and leave the oven door slightly ajar. Cook for 4 to 6 hours, or until the jerky is fully dry. Place in an airtight container to store for one month.

Try making jerky this weekend! Or if the concept of leaving your oven on and open in the summer is pretty daunting, it’s easy to pick up at the store. Either way, jerky is a great protein-filled snack that you can eat at home or on the go.