I’m not a meat-eater—but when I’m shopping for it I seek out grass-fed beef. I feel that I’m taking a stand for those who do enjoy beef, and a stand for the welfare of cows. And grass-fed beef is lean (and higher in good fats and anti-oxidizing vitamins), so it’s perfect for beef jerky.
I’ve wanted to have a go-to soy free, sugar free jerky for a long time. In the past I’ve used coconut aminos, gluten-free soy sauce, gluten-free Worcestershire sauce, but I’ve really wanted to make a good jerky without all of these ingredients, and I’m really happy with the results.
I’ve included two smokey beef jerky recipes: a gluten-free jerky marinade and a gluten-free and soy-free marinade. I recognize that not everyone has access to grass-fed beef but for those who do, every bit makes a difference. And for this recipe, it makes a big difference. Look for the leanest cut of beef and trim any excess fat off before marinating and drying it.
For beef cut info, check out this chart of beef cuts. Below is a list of beef cuts you’ll find in most butcher shops and markets. The most desirable cuts are the leanest and least tough pieces of beef. I avoid using flank steak and brisket cuts because they tend to be too tough for jerky, but that’s just me.
- Loin (short loin, and of course tenderloin)
- Rib eye (can be fatty; trim well)
- Inside or top round
- Eye of the round
- Bottom Round
- Flank (can be tough)
My local market offers thinly sliced cuts that are perfect for jerky. To slice a cut of beef into thin pieces, freeze it for an hour or so and then slice it 1/8 to 1/4 inch (.32 to .64 cm) thick. Or find a kind butcher who’ll do it for you!
If you don’t think you’ll finish it up in a few days or weeks you can store it in the refrigerator for a few months. And if you’re not sure if you’ve dried it thoroughly or want to keep it around for an extended period of time, store it in the refrigerator so it doesn’t become rancid. Removing as much fat as possible is also important in preventing it from becoming rancid.