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Ground beef jerky makes a hearty and enjoyable snack. It's a twist from the usual beef jerky and has its own unique texture. Ground beef is available in most supermarkets and local butcher shops or you can grind your own. The trick to making a great tasting jerky is quality beef and an excellent choice of seasoning. Seasoning can be anywhere from marinades to dry rubs.
Usually, an extruding device like a jerky gun is recommended when making a ground beef jerky. Jerky guns resemble calking guns that squeeze ground meat into even sized beef strips. This makes cooking ground beef jerky much easier.
Basic Ground Beef Jerky Recipe
Basic Ground Beef Jerky Ingredients
3 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon salt
3 teaspoons black pepper
Basic Ground Beef Jerky Instructions
Get nice, quality ground beef in your nearest supermarket, butcher shop, or grocery store. If you prefer to make homemade ground beef, cut the meat into 1 1/2" cubes and grind them with a food processor or meat grinder. Try to find the leanest ground beef you can find because the fat will not preserve well.
Put the ground beef into a large bowl and mix the other seasonings into it. Using your hands is probably the most effective way to mix it but you can use a large spoon or spatula if you prefer.
Chill the mixture for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight. This intensifies the flavor of the seasonings in the ground meat.
To Extrude the Ground Beef Jerky
For best results use a jerky gun or jerky press to apply the ground jerky strips directly onto the drying sheet. Alternatively, you can place the ground beef on a flat surface and roll or press it until it is 1/8" to 3/8 thick then cut it into strips using a knife and place them on the drying sheets.
Make sure the ground beef strips don't overlap and have a little space between them to enable good air circulation.
Making Ground Beef Jerky in the Oven
Preheat the oven to 160°F / 71°C, or the lowest setting it will go to, if it doesn't go that low.
Arrange the oven shelves leaving at least 4 inches of space from the top and bottom sources of heat to achieve even heating. Place the strips in the oven to start dehydrating them. It should take between 6 and 12 hours.
Making Ground Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator
Preheat your dehydrator to at least 141°F / 60.5°C and up to 165°F / 74°C.
If you are not using wire or mesh trays you may need to turn the beef jerky over once in the middle of the drying process.
Dry the beef jerky for 6 to 12 hours. If thicker strips of meat are used it may take longer.
Finishing the Ground Beef Jerky
To test the beef jerky remove a strip or two from the oven racks or dehydrator trays with clean kitchen tongs. Dried beef jerky strips should be chewy but still tender. When bent, it should be flexible enough not to break but it should crack instead.
Once the beef jerky is sufficiently dry, remove it from the dehydrator and let it cool for 30 to 60 minutes. If there is any oil or moisture on the beef jerky use paper towels to blot it dry.
Put the jerky in tightly sealed containers then refrigerate or freeze. They will last in the refrigerator for a month or two and in the freezer for several months.
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