Less is more.
People tend to over-complicate making beef jerky. I have found that if you’re dealing with good quality meat (ideally grass-fed), when it comes to a marinade, less is more. The very first time I made jerky it was from elk and I basically tossed the meat in some spices and then chucked it in the dehydrator. That quickly became an over-spiced mess, though tasty and tender enough for me to eat it all. I knew that the next time I would use a simple liquid-based marinade. So, I followed that flub up with a this sensational recipe that I have recreated here for you today: a maple-sage marinade for beef (or turkey, chicken, whathaveyou) jerky. Maple and sage are a classic flavor combination and I am a HUGE fan of the flavor of real maple syrup, so if you’re not a fan of using something sweet in your jerky, you can leave it out.
I also have a simple garlic & curry jerky recipe I’ll post to my blog sometime sooner than later as well once I re-calibrate it to see how much of everything I used and make it again before I go off the deep end with how much of each spice I recommend you use. I tend to cook and play in the kitchen without much measuring and calculating, so when a recipe ends up tasting good, it means I need to re-create it before I can share it.
Maple-Sage Beef Jerky Recipe
2 lbs of grass-fed beef – still partially frozen for easier slicing (you want a lean cut with easily visible striations – I typically use london broil)
2 Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar - I like Bragg’s brand
2 Tbsp coconut aminos(they’re more expensive online but can also be found at local health food stores, you can use wheat-free tamari if you can tolerate small amounts of fermented soy products)
2 Tbsp maple syrup- organic, grade B (or use honey if you prefer)
1 Tbsp sage sea salt – see my herb salt recipe here
(or use approx 1 tsp each dried sage & sea salt)
1/2 Tsp garlic powder
Dash of black pepper (more if you like it)
2 Tbsp warm water
Note: The marinade should be made to-taste, test the flavor before applying to your sliced meat. I find it to be a pretty strong taste just on a spoon/finger dip but that flavor dilutes once over the meat, so you want it to be fairly strong in the marinade. The measurements here are approximate and will vary based on your preferences!
- Blend marinade ingredients in a glass bowl or shallow glass dish with a whisk or a fork.
- Using a very sharp knife and cutting against the grain of the meat, slice the meat thinly into approximately 1/8″ slices.
- Place sliced meat into the marinade and allow to sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour.
- Arrange the meat onto the trays of a food dehydrator and heat at 135-145 degrees until the meat is the desired dryness to your liking. This should take approximately 3-5 hours.Note: if you want to use an oven on it’s lowest heat setting you can try that but keep a close eye on the meat as it will likely finish much faster. You may even want to keep the oven door propped open for the dehydrating time. If you have experience with this, please post it to the comments below!
- Try using rosemary sea salt with honey instead of sage and maple syrup.
- If you want to use ground beef, use the extruder tool that comes with your dehydrator or buy one separately. This will save money on the price of your meat and also adds some fat to the snacks you create.
To find grass-fed beef or other grass-fed and pasture raised meats locally, check out EatWild.com or your local farmers markets. To find grass-fed beef or other grass-fed and pasture raised meats online, check out GrasslandBeef.com.
Enjoy & be well!
“Bacon is rad. Gluten is bad.” Sport it on a T-shirt.