Since venturing on the GAPS Diet, we have made almost uninterrupted batches of beef jerky to keep on-hand. As with most packaged items, beef jerky is one of those products that you simply cannot trust to be free of HFCS, sugar, seed oils, or other questionable and non-GAPS ingredients. The side benefit is that this is one of the most scalable, time efficient, and versatile foods you can make on the GAPS/Paleo/Primal diet. You can tinker with the levels of spiciness, chewiness or crunchiness, and other palatabilty factors by slicing the meat to varying thicknesses, altering the dehydration time, and changing up the spice mix or meat source (bison jerky is amazing; and did you know you could make ground beef jerky that is a knockoff of a slim-jim?)
- 2-3T Meat Medley spice mix
- 1-2T sea salt
- 1-2T Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 medium yellow onions
- 3-5 lb Grassfed Beef (chuck roast, brisket, loin, “London Broil”, or other big cheap cuts– fatty cuts are ok, but beware cuts with lots of connective tissue…they can be difficult to chew once jerked). See notes below for ground beef.
Excalibur food dehydrator, 1 gallon Ziploc storage bags or pyrex bowl with airtight lid
- Slice beef into 1/8″ to 1/4″ pieces. Longer pieces are better, but small pieces work fine too.
- Arrange pieces on a cutting board or baking pan. Coat both sides of the beef with salt, then spice mix.
- Slice onions into 1/8″ thick pieces. I like to leave them as rounds.
- In a 1gallon ziploc bag or pyrex container with lid, combine beef, onions and vinegar. Shake to distribute vinegar to all pieces.
- Store in refrigerator for 8-24 hours
- Arrange beef and onions on dehydrator sheets (or if you do not have a dehydrator, use a baking sheet with a drying rack insert, or worst case use a baking pan alone. Dehydrate on dehydrator “jerk” setting or in oven at 150 degrees for 4-6hours. Test by bending the dehydrated beef. It should bend and reveal fibers. If it cracks it is over done, but still fine to eat. If it bends and reveals pink flesh, then it needs to dehydrate longer…it may be safe to eat but will not store as long and may develop mold. Onions should be crispy.
- Remove from dehydrator or oven. Let cool for 20 minutes or so…the beef will stiffen as it cools. Store in an airtight container, preferably in the refrigerator.