How make your own jerky at home

Making a dried-meat snack. With a sharp knife, cut lean, raw beef or venison into strips about 1 inch wide, 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, and 6 to 10 inches long. Trim away all fat. Freezing the meat for about 20 minutes makes slicing easier. One pound of meat yields 1/4 to 1/3 pound of jerky.

For each pound of meat, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon each of pepper and marjoram, and 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder. With a meat mallet, pound this mixture into both sides of the strips. Or soak the strips for 1 to 2 days in a solution of 11/2 cups pickling salt in 1 gallon of water. Remove the strips and wipe dry.

Hang the strips from the bars of an oven rack, about 1 inch apart (place aluminum foil on the bottom of the oven to catch any drippings). Or arrange the strips on cake racks set in baking pans and place the pans in the oven. Set the oven at 120’F to 150’F; leave the door ajar so that moisture can escape. Dry for 4 to 6 hours, until the strips turn black and are almost brittle (they should bend slightly before breaking). Turn the strips at least once during the drying process.

Place cooled jerky in a lidded container with holes punched in the lid for ventilation; store it in a cool place. Chew jerky as is for a nutritious snack or reconstitute it in stews. Properly made and stored, it lasts for months.