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Homemade Ground Beef Jerky

Homemade Ground Beef Jerky

Is there anything better than beef jerky? It’s a delicious treat, it’s a great road-trip snack, AND I’ve learned that it is a great way to convince your picky eating kids to get some protein.

There’s even a better trick to this recipe than you may know. Our jerky is made with GROUND beef and it still looks and tastes just like any other pre-made jerky you’ve come across. How easy is that!? Just regular old ground beef from your grocery store – nothing special, just make sure to get a lean cut – 90% lean or better. There’s no trying to marinade raw meat or slicing up thin strips of raw meat. In my opinion, that makes this recipe for beef jerky a thousand times more user-friendly than almost any other recipe!

If you like this, check out some of my other flavors:

DSCF0002     DSCF0003           DSCF0010        DSCF0006
Whisky Jerky                   Pepperoni Jerky                            Salami Jerky                         Teriyaki Jerky

 

We make our jerky with our dehydrator, it’s actually called the “JerkyXpress” – though we also use it to make our fruit leathers and dehydrated fruit as well.

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First, a note on curing salt.
Curing salt is 93.75% table salt and 6.25% sodium nitrate. The sodium nitrite is very diluted – too much of it IS dangerous. Curing salt is dyed pink so you don’t accidentally confuse it with regular table salt. The purpose of the sodium nitrite is to kill bacteria in uncooked, cured meat – specifically the kinds of bacteria that can cause botulism. I will not make my jerky without it. One quarter teaspoon per pound is the FDA regulated amount. Do NOT go over this amount, measure carefully. We ordered ours from an online retailer after having a hard time finding it sold in local stores. This is what our curing salt looks like:

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Ingredients:
1 lb Ground Beef – 90% lean or better
4 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce (I really recommend Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce)
1 TBSP A1 Sauce
1/2 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
3/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
3/4 tsp Table Salt
1/4 tsp Curing Salt
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper (more or less depending your taste, 1/2tsp is a little spicy, but not overwhelming)

Directions:
First thing you need to do is to pour the Worcestershire and A1 into a small saucepan and mix to combine. Heat the mixture to below a simmer and allow to reduce approximately 80%, around 20 minutes, stirring very frequently. (Make sure to reduce fully or your jerky will turn out brittle.) Do not allow the sauce to burn to the bottom of the pan.
Next you need to mix the reduced sauce will all the remaining spices into a large bowl and stir together well.  Then add the ground beef into the sauce/seasoning mix bowl. Get in there with your hands and mix the meat and the sauce together very well. Mix a few minutes past when you think you’re done mixing. The more mixing, the better, it will extrude easier.

Jerky

Start piping some of the meat mixture into your extruder gun, you can see our gun in the picture above. Try not to allow any air bubbles to get in the works and mess up your jerky strips. Begin extruding approximately 6 inch strips onto the dehydrator grate trays. Allow a small amount of space in between the sticks. Do this until all the beef mixture is used up.

Extruding ground beef jerky

If the jerky strips are coming out in bits and spurts it means one of two things. Either your ground beef was too red and bloody (and extra moist), or that you did not reduce your sauce down far enough. The jerky should come out of the extruder gun easily. There’s not much you can do to fix the meat at this point so if it’s coming out poorly, just do the best you can with it.

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We dehydrate for 7-8 hours, rotating the trays every 2 hours, and checking for done-ness along the way. The time will vary depending on the temperature of your dehydrator. Our JerkyExpress only has an on and off setting, no actual temperature setting, but it runs at around 150 degrees. The jerky will feel slightly stiff when done. We like to allow the jerky about a day in the fridge before eating so the texture can firm up properly. Then you can store in the fridge or in a closed container in the pantry for 3-4 weeks, although most likely you’ll have eaten it all long before then. If you plan to store the jerky in the fridge, allow some time for it to warm up before eating, as it tastes much better warm than it does cold.

That’s it, how hard was that? I hope you like it! Enjoy!

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13 responses to “Homemade Ground Beef Jerky

  1. Ally @ Om Nom Ally

    March 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I’ve bookmarked this for my partner to read, ever since I bought a dehydrator he’s been begging me to make jerky! As your instructions are so easy and clear I’m going to make him do it himself 😀
    The only thing I’m unsure of is where to get curing salt with sodium nitrate in Australia.

     
    • offthecuttingboard

      March 13, 2013 at 6:53 am

      We actually purchased ours online through Amazon.com. There were a few actual online “stores” that seemed to specialize in the field too – stores that catered more towards drying and preserving game meats for hunters and things like that.

       
  2. PrepNow

    March 17, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Thanks for the great looking recipe. I’ve never made ground beef jerky before, wish me luck. I can appreciate the caution you use by adding curing salt. It’s the one thing that has bothered me about dehydrating hamburger w/o first heating the meat; don’t want a bacterial stomach problem. Going to give it a try later this week and let you know how it turns out.

     
    • offthecuttingboard

      March 17, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      Glad you found this. I’m excited to hear how you like it.

       
  3. PrepNow

    March 21, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I made the jerky on Wednesday and refrigerated over night to firm-up. It turned out great. The only difference in mine was hickory smoked salt and Teriyaki sauce was used instead of onion powder and A1. Thanks again.

     
  4. Johnny

    August 22, 2014 at 2:47 am

    You don’t need curing salt. I’ve made ground beef jerky at least 10 times, using salt, spices, sugar, and other ingredients. Was done in about 6 hours and never had any issues. Curing salt (sodium nitrate) is horrible for your body. You’re basically making processed meat by using this nasty preservative. Do you think the Indians used this when curing buffalo meat?

     
  5. Dave

    August 25, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Yes actually Johnny, they did. In fact, should you really want to know they placed the meat between the blanket they would ride on and the horse. The sweat (salt water) from the horse would cure the meat. I am sorry to have to tell you that it’s simple biology. Plenty of bacteria can survive this nice warm 200 degree jerky maker. In fact they could survive double that.

    Just because you haven’t gotten sick yet doesn’t mean you can not or will not. Cure your meat brother.

    Hopefully I didn’t just ruin everyone’s appetite for jerky hahaha.

     
  6. Rose

    September 4, 2014 at 11:03 am

    I could have gone my whole life without knowing that little fact. LOL

     
  7. offthecuttingboard

    September 14, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    So, after reading recent comments, I did some research. I am no expert on the issue, I am simply someone who does not want to get sick after eating my jerky. I always thought that the Indians did not have horses until Europeans arrived in what is now called America. Curing your meat on horse sweat is a little off the wall to me. So, after a very quick search, it seems that MODERN horses did not exist for the Indians (you can look into the history if you’re interested). From what I read, American Indians cured their meat using smoke from camp fires at the top of teepee which prevents the growth of bacteria. I am not a historian, but this sounds logical to me. In regards to the safety of curing salt, there is evidence that sodium nitrate does increase the risk of heart disease & diabetes. I personally do not want to catch botulism, which is the main purpose of the sodium nitrate I add. The amount of curing salt I use is within FDA regulations of the maximum allowed in meats. My stance is unchanged from the above comments and I will continue to use my curing salts. Please, just enjoy some damn tasty jerky and if you don’t want to use curing salts, don’t, that is you’re choice.

     
  8. FlyboyTR

    September 16, 2015 at 6:38 am

    First, Excellent page and great info. I did note in the paragraph that begins with
    “First, a note on curing salt.
    Curing salt is 93.75% table salt and 6.25% sodium nitrate.” That is incorrect. It is sodium nitrite, not nitrate (not exactly the same thing…nitrate solutions are used for a different type of process). Curing salts, like the one you pictured should most always be pink so that it is not confused with table salt or sugar and…it contains sodium nitrate.

    Again, I have enjoyed your page and the many recipes. Thanks! 🙂

     
    • offthecuttingboard

      September 16, 2015 at 6:40 am

      Great catch!
      Thanks for the correction – I have gone back and changed it in the original text now 😀

       
  9. Whitedove

    May 18, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    HI I just found your sight since I am interested in making ground beef jerky. I used to make it many many years ago but seem to have lost my recipe. At that time we used a smoker but I no longer have it so would like to know if the recipe will work if I dry the jerky in the oven at 200 degrees. Your recipe sounds soooo yummy and I remember using curing salt before for the jerky,

     
    • offthecuttingboard

      June 15, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      Whitedove, I’ve never tried the recipe in an oven but I would think it would work. You will need to check the jerky often. My dehydrator doesn’t get that hot, maybe 150, but the air is moving. I’m not sure when the jerky will be done in the oven. When it is done, it should start breaking if you bend it 90 degrees.

       

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