How to make homemade beef jerky? Many people think that making beef jerky is a daunting task. However, this is a misconception if you have an air fryer. Beef jerky is a savory food that your whole family can eat as a meal or snack.
Beef is an excellent source of proteins that play a crucial role in muscle development and growth. Not only does beef offer iron, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, but it also improves your overall health. Research shows that eating beef can reduce fatigue and provide your body with more energy.
An air fryer works like a convection oven, making it easy to prepare beef jerky in a short time with delicious taste and more crispiness. In today’s article, we will discuss beef jerky and give some essential tips to streamline the process.
What is Beef Jerky?
The primary purpose of jerky was to preserve food. People would remove the fat content and dehydrate the beef to preserve it, which could last for a few months without storing it in the fridge.
To make beef jerky, you will need lean meat, salt, and a dehydrated method with low-temperature levels. The purpose of adding salt to the beef is to prevent microbial growth during the dehydration process.
Traditionally, people would make beef jerky for survival purposes. However, this is not the case today because people consume it for its crispiness and deliciousness by preparing the dish in an air fryer.
Best Type of Cut for Beef Jerky
How to make homemade beef jerky? It is crucial to focus on the type of cut suitable for beef jerky. Although you can make this dish from any cut of beef, experts recommend a lean cut because it produces the best texture and flavor when using an air fryer.
You can have a steak for lunch or dinner, but it is not a perfect cut for jerky because it contains a high-fat content that can spoil jerky. When you use an air fryer for cooking beef jerky, a marbled steak can cause an unpleasant texture and flavor.
Professional chefs recommend different types of lean cuts for making beef jerkies, such as eye round road, bottom-round roast, and flank steak. The eye round roast is a boneless cut with a lean and active muscle. Not only is the eye round roast packed with flavor, but it also has reduced fat content.
Moreover, the bottom round roast is a lean cut from the primal, making it ideal for homemade beef jerky. The flank steak is another type of cut you can use for making homemade beef jerky. It is usually a large and flat cut taken from the flak primal.
Flavor the Beef Jerky
There are endless possibilities when you want to flavor the beef jerky. Experts recommend a long marinade with specific ingredients to achieve your goal. You can use any flavor profile for the beef jerky.
For example, if you want a more salty and delicious jerky, use ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and liquid smoke. Another flavor profile you can use is teriyaki that includes ingredients like ginger, soy sauce, chili sauce, rice vinegar, and a small quantity of sugar.
On the other hand, you can also make homemade beef jerky spicier by adding chili powder, red pepper flakes, and other seasonings. Make sure you use fresh peppers, such as habanero or jalapeno.
Some people want to make homemade beef jerky with a mix of sweet and sour flavors. You can use brown sugar, honey, and maple syrup for sweetness, and lime juice or rice vinegar to add a sour touch to the dish.
Make Homemade Beef Jerky in an Air Fryer – Steps
- Make extra-thin slices of the beef and ensure you get a lean cut
- Remove the remaining fat to get lean meat
- Make ¼ inch thick slices of your beef
- Prepare the marinade and choose any of the flavors above
- Marinate beef jerky for 8-10 hours
- Cook your beef jerky in an air fryer
Cutting a few skewers is one method to cook your beef jerky is an air fryer. Another approach is to place the beef directly into the basket of your air fryer. Make sure you use a rack or cook in multiple batches if you have a small air fryer. That way, you can avoid overlapping the jerky. Moreover, cook the jerky for 1-2 hours at 180 degrees. Check from time to time to ensure the jerky does not burn.
Make Homemade Beef Jerky – Key Takeaways
Experts recommend using a sharp knife to cut the beef into ¼ inches thick strips. You can’t achieve thick strips without using a quality and sharp knife. If you want to achieve better results, make sure you freeze the beef, but not for a long time. It is relatively easier to get thinner slices of meat when it is frozen.
Remember, you must not freeze the beef for more than 45-60 minutes. Moreover, slice the beef against the grain to achieve a better cut and tenderer bites. If you notice any visible fat, make sure you trim it.
Otherwise, you may not achieve a perfect beef jerky even if you use an air fryer. The purpose is to ensure a better texture and delicious taste. Avoid overlapping your beef slices to ensure the hot air in the air fryer reaches every corner of the slice.
That way, you can cook the beef slices evenly without compromising their taste. At the same time, when there is enough space, the meat slices will dehydrate quickly and efficiently. Overlapping the pieces can also lead to undercooked spots.
Use the skewer technique if you have a smaller air frying machine. In contrast, use a rack for cooking beef jerky in a single go without preparing the food in multiple batches. Clean the air fryer before and after use.