Using Lean Beef
You get extra lean beef – eye of the round here – you slice it as thin as your patience like a private chef, practice and knife allow you, you dump it in a box in the fridge, tossed in some seasoning
(chipotle in adobo, onion, garlic and a lot of black pepper for me, please), then forget about it for a day or so. Then you slow-dry it in your oven.If I have learned one thing from making this as a private chef, it is that it’s not about precision. The guys out there who dried beef – natives, gold diggers, grizzli bears – did not anxiously wave a thermometer out of their tipi/cabin/cave to check
that external temperature was 90°F. Unlike me. You see, the configuration of my oven knob suggests that its lowest setting is 200°F. But because there are no numbers below that on the said knob doesn’t mean that it’s not going to still heat up. I feared that gas would start leaking in the oven and the resistor which sets it on fire woudn’t work.
Then I considered coming back from work and finding a great big smoking crater in place of my building, with beef strips hanging from the nearby tree branches. I therefore sat in front of my oven with a thermometer, leaving the door ajar, and monitered it for a while
How to Bake it
Well it never went as low as 90°F or even 120°F as another blogger suggested, but it must have oscillated between 130 and 150°F (door propped open). I put it at 7:30am before going to work, and took it out at 6:00pm when I came back.I’d never had beef jerky before so I didn’t know what to expect or look for. Fortunately, my roomies were once more glad to guineapig for me and give me a piece of their mind. Apparently, right out of the oven, it was slightly too crisp. It should have been more leathery like a private chef would cook it. But after a few hours, I had some for dinner, and it had gone softer. Still extremely chewy by all means, don’t get me wrong. My inner grizzli was very pleased and kept going back for more. If I hadn’t liked the jerky, I had a back-up plan involving making baby moccasins for the latest addition to the bean-eating community. Phew, that was a close call, sweetie pie.