So you've marinated your beef overnight and it's getting nice and flavorful. The jerky you see below marinated overnight before I drained it and made the final prep for the dehydrator.
Drain the beef thoroughly and remove any remaining moisture by placing the individual pieces on a double thick paper towel. I lay mine out in rows and then roll them up so the paper towel pulls off the moisture on both sides. Feel free to press firmly with your hands when you roll, beef can take a little man-handling.
The surface of each piece should feel pretty dry to the touch once you've patted it down via the paper towel method. The surface should also look dry and no liquid should be welling up. Place the pieces in an evenly on a rack of your dehydrator.
Once you're dried every piece thoroughly and loaded your dehydrator, it's time to get cooking. Well, not cooking, we're drying! Now, my dehydrator only goes on and off so the way to regulate temperature is by opening or closing vents on the top and bottom. I leave my vents at half and half so that most of the heat from the coil in the bottom is retained, but there's still space for moisture to vent. I highly recommend you consult the manual for your dehydrator before determining the temperature and duration for drying your jerky as it can vary greatly.
|The top half of my dehydrator has apples and orange slices, while I put the more "wet" jerky on the lower trays|
After 6 hours most of my jerky was done to perfection. About a third of the thicker pieces still needed some time, so I left them in for a few more hours. When you're not sure about how long your jerky will take, just check it every hour or do and do a doneness* test.
How to know doneness of your jerky:
- Meat has turned a dark brown/black color
- There are no "shiny" spots on the meat, that is, the fat has thoroughly melted into the meat and any moisture has evaporated
- It's crunchy - bite into it, does it taste like jerky? That's always a good sign :)
I thoroughly recommend investing in a dehydrator and trying out this yummy jerky recipe. Your friends will think you're so cool.
*NOTE: In case you were wondering (as I was) if "doneness" is a word, check out my new favorite website isthisaword.com.