Beef jerky is always delicious, but nothing can quite compare to the delectable taste of savory beef jerky that has been lovingly cut, marinated, and dried from the comfort of your home kitchen. It’s hard for brand-made and store-bought foods to beat out any homemade cooking, after all! But while the process of making your beef jerky may seem relatively straightforward, there is one critical step that people often find themselves messing up and having questions about; marination.
Homemade beef jerky is delicious not only because of the love and care that you put into it yourself but also because you can create your own specialized marinade mixtures containing all of your favorite herbs and spices to make any jerky you could want. Please continue to learn about the beef jerky marination process and how best to use it to ensure that your homemade jerky is as delicious and savory as possible.
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Is There a Min or Max Time Limit on Jerky Marinade?
When preparing your homemade beef jerky, the marination process is arguably the most crucial step- aside from making sure your jerky is being dried rather than cooked during the final stage of the process. But no matter what types of sauces, herbs, and spices you choose to utilize for your specialty marinade blend, the question remains; how long should the marination process take?
While there is no specific time that people need to stick to when it comes to their jerky marinade, there is a general window of time that it’s best to aim for to help ensure you’re creating the most flavorful, tasty beef jerky you possibly can. However, that window of time is quite broad, so you’ll be left with a lot of wiggle room for experimentation.
Generally speaking, the marination process for beef jerky should take anywhere between 6 hours to an entire day. However, the sweet spot for most recipes seems to fluctuate somewhere between 16 and 18 hours total. This should give the meat enough time to absorb all of the marinade’s unique flavors, ensuring that it will be as flavorful as possible when the drying process is all said and done.
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The Issue of Too Short Marination
What’s important to note is that there really isn’t a problem with letting your beef soak in your marinade for longer than 18 hours, and there honestly isn’t any worry about allowing the marination process to go on for “too long.” Quite the contrary, what people need to be concerned about is not letting their jerky marinate for long enough.
Not allowing their jerky to marinate for a sufficient amount of time will mean that the meat won’t absorb much of the marinade’s flavor and will likely result in a more mild, less satisfying flavor once the drying process is complete.
Take it from us, the disappointment that one is likely to feel after working hard on a batch of homemade jerky, only to bite into the finished product and taste plane, dry beef, can be pretty discouraging. One of the best parts of beef jerky is that spicy, herby, savory kick that comes with the marination process, after all.
That’s why it’s essential to ensure that you allow the marination to go on for a sufficient amount of time. Basically, if you feel like not enough time has passed, just let it keep going! Remember, there isn’t any such thing as marinating for “too long,” at least when it comes to quality jerky.
Related: Two Chicks Jerky Merch
Other Marination Tips & Tricks to Remember
When it comes to quality beef jerky marinade, home chefs need to keep in mind that time isn’t the only factor that needs to be considered in the marination process. Two other vital pieces also come into play when ensuring that your jerky is being properly marinated; fully covering your beef and keeping it protected in an airtight container.
When it comes to marinating anything, whether it is beef jerky or not, it’s critical to ensure that you are completely covering the object you’re marinating in its entirety. Otherwise, it won’t even matter how long you leave your food to marinate.
It won’t be able to absorb all of the marinade’s flavors adequately. It’s essential to make sure that every strip of jerky gets the attention that it deserves to turn out delicious; otherwise, you’re liable to end up with some pretty bland and boring jerky despite your hard work in the kitchen.
Finally, it’s essential to ensure that your jerky is adequately stored during the marination process to keep it from hardening and to allow it to soak up the marinade’s flavor.
Once you have completely covered your jerky strips in the marinade, carefully store them in a sealed, airtight container or Ziplock bag to help ensure that they stay soft and fresh before you’re ready to begin the drying process. If you follow these simple steps, you can help ensure that your completed jerky will be as flavorful and delicious as you could hope for.
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