Winter seems to be hanging on and hanging on this year. It seems like at least once a week we are snowed in. A little bit of that can be good; cupboards are cleaned, closets are organized and the house seems to be in order.
Times like this I like to spend time in the kitchen. You know, simmering a home-made soup, baking bread, a new batch of applesauce from those few apples that are left—or, one of our favorites, making beef jerky. I know a lot of people use dehydrators to make jerky, but I still like to do it the old-fashioned way in the oven. The savory aroma lingers in the house all day long.
It has been a tradition in our family to always make a batch for hunting season. It’s easy for the guys to tuck some in their pockets as they head to the woods, and hopefully, it will bring them luck in bringing back fresh meat for more batches in the depth of winter. Venison makes the best jerky and is better for you, but if you don’t have access to any, beef does just fine.
As I cut up the meat I can almost picture Chester from Gunsmoke or Hop Sing from Bonanza starting a batch – well, maybe not Hop Sing! Besides, I am dating myself, so on to the recipe.
3 pounds venison or beef round steaks
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons hickory seasoning (I use Wright’s Hickory Seasoning, also called Liquid Smoke)
3/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup soy sauce
1. Combine all seasonings, set aside.
2. Cut venison or beef in 1/4-by-2-inch strips, slicing across the grain.
3. Pour seasonings over meat and mix well, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, stirring twice.
4. Line 2 cookie sheets with foil. Drain liquid from meat, then arrange meat in single layer on cookie sheets.
5. Place cookie sheets in oven, set temperature at 250 degrees F. When oven reaches 250 degrees, turn oven off. When oven is cool, heat it to 250 degrees again and then turn it off and let it cool.
6. Drain excess liquid from meat as it accumulates in pan. Continue this cycle until meat is dry, about 8 hours.
7. Store in tight container in refrigerator.