Monday, January 17, 2011

Thai Beef Jerky

Thai beef jerky

Making beef jerky when you don't have a smoker or a dehydrator can be problematic.

My first experience with kitchen-made beef jerky came in college when one of my very good friends made it in her oven. She had an electric oven that she set at a very low temperature. The beef dried out in the oven overnight and we all celebrated her victory by chomping it all down in one sitting.

My dad made great beef jerky, but he used a food dehydrator. Loved the stuff except for the aftereffect his particular recipe had. Let's just say you didn't want to be the room with a person who had recently eaten it.

So jerky had been on my to-do list for some time. I just had to deal with a gas oven and hope for the best. I searched around for a marinade that would interest me.  I wanted spicy but tangy without being barbecue-y or teriyaki. I came across a Thai inspired recipe and decided to give it a try. 


I took the beef and froze it. Then the day before I wanted to make the jerky, I took it out and let it thaw in the frig overnight. It was frozen so solid that in the frig it still stayed mostly frozen. It made it easy to for me to slice. I then marinated it for 24 hours, flipping and redistributing the marinade every few hours.

The next night I laid out the slices on wire racks and put them in a foil lined oven since they would drip. I set it to 200 degrees at first but after an hour I could tell it was too hot. My gas oven was coming on too often to heat up and I knew that wasn't good for a slow dry. I turned it down to 170, the lowest my oven would regulate.

My first batch was in for about four hours and was dry and leathery. I had to go to bed and wasn't about to do another batch overnight. The next morning I tried again at 170 but after an hour and a half I could see it had already dried it out considerably. I had to go to work and decided to turn off the heat and let the dwindling heat do the rest. That turned out to be a great solution. When I got home I found moist jerky that held the marinade flavor well. Perfect.

I recommend this marinade but definitely suggest a more traditional way of drying out your meat - with a smoker or dehydrator.


Thai Beef Jerky Marinade

  • 8 lb Beef or possibly flank steak
  • 1 c. Beef stock
  • 4 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 4 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 4 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 c. chopped mint
  • 1/2 c chopped cilantro 
  • 1/2 c. Thinly sliced shallots
  • 4 x Scallions, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4" lengths
  • 2 jalapeno peppers or hot chilis, seeded & finely minced (depends on heat preference)
  • 4 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper 
  • 4 tsp Liquid smoke
  • 1/2 c. Soy sauce
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