Ginger Teriyaki Beef Jerky – Grain Free & Paleo


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WARNING: This simple and delicious “teriyaki” beef jerky recipe may cause you to wonder why you ever bought the store-bought stuff! Your trips to the local grass-fed meat farmer may just have to increase. Happy snacking!

Ingredients

3/4 lb grass-fed beef (London Broil, Flank, Sirloin, or other high quality steak cut)
2 Tablespoons coconut aminos
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon organic ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

One by one, I’ve been tackling the realm of creating various Paleo snacks to take on the go.  As a certified coach, it’s a passion of mine to help my clients succeed with a grain-free, soy-free dietary lifestyle.  Being prepared for hunger pangs is an important key to guard against the temptation of a vending machine or office potluck.

Through my food company (The Gluten & Grain Free Gourmet), we offer prepared sweets and seasonings that are free of gluten, grain, soy, dairy, and refined sugars.  Although I’ve designed these as tools (most are protein-based; I encourage my clients to eat these in place of cheating on something worse), sometimes I personally need snacks that don’t fall into the sweets category, even fruit.  Protein without sweet is something my body needs to ensure steady blood-sugar levels (I have a tendency toward hypoglycemia and am genetically pre-disposed to diabetes, both of which I control with a strict approach to a grain-free soy-free lifestyle).

My daughter had been begging me to get some beef jerky she saw in the natural aisle at the grocery store.  After reviewing the ingredients, I explained that it still contained maltodextrin (corn), soy in the form of MSG, and other ingredients I didn’t feel safe about (I never trust “spices” or “natural flavors;” if a company has nothing to hide, then why not list what the ingredients are?)

After flipping through my dehydrator’s manual, I decided it couldn’t be that difficult (even though I couldn’t use their spice packets).  Since I’ve made it twice over the last couple of weeks and it’s all gone, I’m calling it a success (my teen daughter finds every hiding place I stash it!)

BONUS This recipe is also excellent as a marinade and sauce for a Chinese-style stir fry!

Steps:

1) Purchase the meat.  Find good quality, lean cuts of meat.  If grass-fed is unavailable or unaffordable, get the leanest cuts possible; the fat content will limit the life and texture of your jerky.

2) Ask the butcher! If you have a butcher available to you, ask him/her to slice the beef for you in 1/4″ to 1/8″  strips (if you like leathery jerky, cut with the grain of the meat; if you want it easier to chew, cut against the grain of the meat).

3) Cut and trim the beef. If no butcher is available (or you can’t trust the the slicer is free of gluten), take the meat home and freeze it for about an hour (this will make it firm and easier to slice).  Slice the meat into 1/4″ or 1/8″ strips, with or against the grain (see step 2) and remove as much fat as possible (and I never discard the fat…I use it to make cream of beef soup base with coconut milk!) 

4) Prepare the marinade.  Use a medium ziploc bag for marinating the meat.  In a small bowl, combine the ingredients of the marinade with a whisk:  2TB coconut aminos, 1 TB olive oil, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.  Add the meat to the ziploc bag and then add the marinade.  Seal the bag, ensuring all of the meat pieces are covered with the marinade.  If more marinade is needed, repeat the process in the bowl and pour over the meat in the bag.

5) Marinate. Place the bag inside of a larger bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours, preferably overnight if possible.  It’s best to turn the bag every few hours to ensure that all meat pieces have an even coating.

6) Prepare the dehydrator or oven.  If you have a dehydrator, place it on the jerky setting (minimum 160 degrees) and line the bottom with foil or parchment paper.  Prepare the trays with a light swipe of coconut oil or use the “sticky items” insert.  If you don’t have dehydrator, you’ll want to create a rack inside your oven that will allow the meat to dry – for example, by use a cooling rack or roast rack to “drape” the marinated meat pieces (please be sure to line your oven with foil first!)

7) Dehydrate the marinated beef.  After the marinating process is complete, lay out the meat strips in a single layer, either on the dehydrator trays or across the oven racks.  If using the oven, set the temperature at 170 degrees and prop the door open slightly with a wedge (a wooden spoon works great for this) so that the air can circulate and dry the meat.  After 3 hours, flip the meat over (whether it’s in the dehydrator or oven).  After 2 more hours, test the jerky to see if it’s done:  you should be able to rip off a piece, not break off a piece (indicates it’s over-dry).  It will likely need another hour to dry, depending on the thickness of the meat.

8) Enjoy!  Once dried, place into an airtight container and hide from all members of the family, if you dare. 🙂  It should last for a long while in the refrigerator; if you can vacuum seal it, you should be able to enjoy it un-refrigerated for up to six months (I wouldn’t know since ours doesn’t even last a week!)

-Jen of The GGF Gourmet

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