Lemon pepper tastes fantastic on fresh fish, so why not jerky? Fresh speckled trout fillets from the Laguna Madre sprinkled with a heavy dose of lemon pepper cooking on the grill is what comes to mind when I think of lemon pepper. But after making some lemon pepper jerky, well.... it comes in a close second.
Original Post Date: June 10th, 2015 *Recipe updated with more pictures and step by step instructions*
I made this recipe again the other day and I have to tell you, it was some damn good jerky. It's easy to make and lemon pepper can be found at any grocery store.
Slicing The Meat
I cheated a little bit when making this recipe. I bought some beef top round from my local grocery store already sliced thin, saving me a couple of steps!
These pieces were sliced at about ⅛th of an inch thick. All I needed to do was cut them into 1" wide strips with a sharp knife.
If you can't find or want to start from scratch, grab a chunk of Beef Eye of Round. You can find a complete list of the best cuts of meat to make beef jerky with by clicking here!
The first step of slicing meat for jerky is to trim the cut of meat of all visible fat. You can see the white fat in the picture below, just trim that off BEFORE you start slicing the meat. Fat spoils faster than meat, so the more you get off now, the longer your jerky will be shelf stable.
Slice the meat with a very sharp knife either with the grain for a more chewy jerky or against the grain for a more tender jerky.
Slice even strips so they will dry evenly and be finished at the same time. You can wrap the roast in plastic wrap and partially freeze for 1-2 hours to make slicing easier.
I didn’t use it on this recipe, but a jerky slicer is a FANTASTIC piece of equipment to help get even strips when slicing jerky.
Not sure what way the grain runs? Need more information on slicing meat for jerky? I have put together a page on Slicing Meat for Jerky where you can find EVERYTHING you need to know when slicing meat for jerky.
Making The Marinade
My taste buds prefer a spicy jerky, and this lemon peppered jerky fit the bill. Not too spicy, but a nice little kick to it. The only pepper in this recipe is the lemon pepper and some black pepper. Throw in some garlic, salt, and soy sauce; you have a great batch of jerky just beggin' to be eaten!
Start by mixing all of the ingredients in a bowl or ziplock bag and then add the previously sliced beef strips. Make sure to mix the bag and move the strips around making sure all of the strips are evenly coated in marinade.
Related Page: Dozens of Great Tasting Jerky Recipes – Click Here
Allow the strips to marinate for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator. The longer the better! Do NOT marinate the meat at room temperature, always marinate in the fridge to prevent the meat from spoiling.
Drying The Jerky
Once the meat has finished marinating, strain any excess marinade in a colander. I marinated this beef for a total of 22 hours before straining. The longer the marinade process, the more intense flavor the jerky will have!
Before adding the meat to your dehydrator, oven, or smoker; lay out paper towels placing the meat strips on top. Pat dry the strips to remove even more of the excess marinade. This step will help speed up the drying process and prevent the meat from being ‘sticky’ after it has finished drying.
Place the strips on your dehydrator trays, oven trays, or smoker rack to dehydrate/dry the jerky. For more in depth instructions on drying your jerky, check out my Jerky Making Methods Page.
I dried them in my Sahara Dehydrator, like the one seen below, for a total of 4 hours at 165°F. This dehydrator is on the expensive side, but if you live in a small apartment the fact that it folds down to ⅓ of it's size for storing is really nice.
Make sure the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F to kill any potential bacteria. The 4 hours at 165°F in the dehydrator does the trick. You can also pre-heat the meat in an oven before drying if your dehydrator does not heat up to 160°F. Check out my page on jerky safety for more information on this process.
Related Page: Dehydrator Reviews – Click Here
Testing For When The Jerky Is Finished
While drying the jerky, you want to start testing to see if it has finished at about the 3-4 hour mark. Take a piece of jerky out of the dehydrator, oven, or smoker and allow it to cool for 5 minutes to room temperature. Bend the jerky in half; it should bend and crack but not break in half. You will also see white fibers in the meat. The fibers are really visible when a piece is ripped in half.
If the jerky is not finished, continue drying for another hour and repeat the same process until the jerky is finished. 90% of the jerky i make is finished within 4-6 hours when using a dehydrator or oven and 6-9 hours when using a smoker. If pre-heating the meat in the oven, drying time can be as little as 2.5 hours.
The ingredients are pretty straight forward and easy to find for this recipe. Make sure you do not omit the water. The water cuts the salty taste and thins out the soy sauce flavor. Not being a huge fan of overly soy tasting jerky, you will find water in a lot of my recipes. I believe that it mellows that strong taste and allows the other ingredients to shine through.
To make the jerky last as long as possible, curing salt will really help along with keeping in air tight containers. I have put together a page on storing jerky and steps you can take to make your jerky have an extended shelf life. Check it out!
Old Pro Tips:
- Buy already sliced beef roast to avoid slicing yourself. It saves time!
- Use curing salt or celery juice powder to extend the life of the jerky
- Marinate closer to 24 hours for the most intense flavor
- Find lemon pepper in a grinder instead of previously finely ground for better flavor
For more in depth directions on how to dry your jerky, visit my page Jerky Making Methods or click on the pictures below.
- 1 lb beef top round
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon lemon pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon Curing Salt (Prague Powder #1)
- Pick a lean cut of beef and trim all visible fat. After trimming the fat, place the meat in the freezer for an hour or two to partially freeze. If purchasing already sliced beef as I did, skip the freezing step.
- While the meat is in the freezer, combine and mix the soy sauce, water, black pepper, garlic powder, lemon pepper, and salt in a medium size bowl or ziplock bag.
- Remove meat from the freezer and slice against the grain between ⅛" - ¼" in thickness and 1" wide.
- Add sliced beef to the mixture and marinate for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator.
- After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and pat dry with paper towels.
- Jerky will be finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half. Allow to cool for several hours before storing in air tight containers.
Need more in depth directions on how to make jerky in an oven, dehydrator, or smoker? Visit my page Jerky Making Methods to become a pro at making jerky!
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