Start with very lean meat. I prefer round steak. Trim as much fat as humanly possible. Slice the rest about ¼-3/8” thick and as long as possible. Butterfly any small pieces.
I mix the marinade first to make sure that the salt/sugar gets dissolved in the marinade and gets mixed evenly through the meat. In a gallon ziplock bag mix thoroughly:
Coarse Kosher Salt – 2 tsp/lb of trimmed meatThe Turkish Seasoning, chipotle/cayenne and paprika can be substituted with your own favorite blend of savory spices – just make sure it’s salt free or you will get too salty.
Brown Sugar – 2 tsp/lb
Penzey’s Turkish Seasoning – 4 tsp/lb
Ground Chipotle (or Cayenne) - 1 tsp/lb for medium heat
Paprika – a couple good dashes for color
Red Table Wine – 1 cup/lb
http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysturkish.htmlAdd the meat to the bag, zip it shut and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate 6-24 hours.
Lay out the meat in a single layer on the grates in a smoker. Smoke at about 200-225 degrees for an hour (no more or it gets too smoky). (You could use 2 tsp/lb liquid smoke instead, but it won’t be quite the same.) Transfer to a dehydrator and dry per the instructions (usually at 155 degrees) for 6-8 hours – until dry yet pliable. Turn off the dehydrator and let it cool for an hour, then put in bags. If you don’t freeze it, keep plastic bags open for the first 24 hours as the moisture content evens out through the meat.
You can smoke it on a gas grill. Soak wood chips (hickory or mesquite) for 30 minutes, drain then wrap in foil. Punch a bunch of holes in the top of the foil, then put it on your left or right most grill burner (move the grate, put it right on the drip plate or lava rocks). Light just that burner on high, and heat it up until you start to smell smoke. Lay out the meat over the rest of the grill, away from the direct heat. Smoke for an hour or so.
You can also dehydrate in your oven. Put foil over the bottom rack in case of drippage. Put the meat on the top rack, turn the oven on Warm, then leave the door cracked to let the moisture out and keep the temperature down. If you use an oven thermometer, you can even get the heat adjusted to a perfect 155 degrees.
Unless I hide it, the jerky usually doesn’t last more than 24 hours anyway…