Many people enjoy the taste and convenience of jerky because it is low fat and also a healthy source of protein. If you have an electric smoker, you can make your own jerky with your favorite seasonings and spices. There is no adding liquid smoke, you let the wood of your choice infuse an intense flavor into your jerky. This way of making jerky is one of the best ways of doing it because you get to sit outside, drink beer, and stare at a smoking box all day. What’s better than that?
Here are some instructions to point you in the right direction so that you can enjoy the perfect jerky.
1. Start by buying a lean piece of meat. You may use a beef eye of round roast for this recipe.
2. Trim any visible fat from the meat. The extra fat will spoil your jerky, so you should cut off as much as possible.
3. Wrap the meat in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 1-2 hours to let it freeze partially. This step makes slicing the meat at a consistent width easier, but it is not mandatory. Afterward, slice against the grain at around 1/8″-1/4″ thick for an easier chew or with the grain for more chew.
4. Place the slices of beef to the side and assemble your jerky marinade. Place the beef slices in your marinade and make sure they are covered evenly. Marinate the jerky in the refrigerator for 6-24 hours.
5. Dry the jerky strips on paper towels to remove any excess marinade. You may also lay your jerky pieces across the metal racks of the smoker or use toothpicks and hang your strips. After drying the strips on paper towels, slide one toothpick through one of the ends of each piece of jerky.
6. Dehydrate it. Place the top metal rack in the highest slot in your smoker, and hang your strips.
7. Open the top vent on the smoker. Dry for 90 minutes at 170°F. If you have soaked your strips in a wet marinade while making jerky, do not put water in the water pan.
8. Bring the temperature up to 180°F to 200°F. Soak a handful of wood chips in water for about 10-15 minutes and add them to the smoker. Then, smoke at this temperature for about 30 minutes to 1 hour until the wood chips have quit smoking. Decrease the temperature to 160°F and do not add any more wood chips.
9. Continue to smoke at 160°F until your jerky bends and cracks but does not break in half. Keep pulling a piece out of the smoker at regular intervals and let it cool. Check to see if it is finished by bending it after it has cooled down. It should take a total of about six to fifteen hours. The timeframe also depends on the thickness of your jerky and the brand of smoker you have.
Store the jerky in a Ziplock in a cool place and enjoy the delicious jerky with your friends and family.