Homemade beef jerky is a great ZERO carb snack. It is commonly known as Biltong in South Africa, Coppiette in Rome, qwant'a in Ethiopia and since 1966, is selected by astronauts as their space snack due to it being compact and high in nutrition.
Homemade Beef Jerky
This post is dedicated to the wonderful Dr Steve Phinney, MD, PhD, co-author of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, and The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. He is a physician who has spent the last 35 years studying, researching and writing on low carb diet for health, and for endurance athletes. Together with Jeff Volek, PhD, RD they have published 200 research papers on the topic.
I went to watch a presentation given by Steve Phinney last week at AUT, Millennium, where he kindly spoke of his research, especially regarding the Inuit, the Maasai Mara and similar hunter gatherer populations. He spoke in length about their diet before any influence from the modern world.
The Maasai Mara live on the fattiest part of the animals they killed, they would plan the kill when the animal was at its fattest, the lean meat was reserved for their dogs or other animals, and he talked how they stored their meat.
They knew that living on a diet of fat and meat was sustainable, healthy, and allowed them to survive for long periods while travelling. They did not have any modern diseases, they were excellent specimens of athletic men with tall stature.
Only a few journals and drawings remain to document their superb health and physical appearance. Here is a similar presentation by Dr Steve Phinney, MD, PhD.
Homemade beef jerky is so much better than the store bought beef jerky. It is cheap and nutritious. Look at the ingredient and nutrition labels, and you will find a number of colours, preservatives, sugars, soy and corn syrup.
You can make homemade Beef Jerky from a few different meats. Try beef, veal, turkey, pork etc, as long as you can slice it thinly. I use beef schnitzel or minute steaks, which are already sliced finely, then I cut these into strips average 1-2cm wide. By dehydrating the chosen meat, the water is removed and so is the ability for bacteria to survive.
It is preserved and will keep fresh in an airtight container for 2 weeks (maybe longer but mine only survived the weekend). To dehydrate the meat, use either a dehydrator or bake in the oven at a very low heat for a very long time. The principal is to dehydrate, not cook, the meat.
The first attempt I made was with beef seasoned using ground coriander, ground salt and ground pepper. But add whatever flavour you like. Maybe some chilli powder, garlic, onion powder, worcester sauce, tabasco sauce, lemon zest, lime juice or sprinkle on sesame seeds.
- Slice the beef into thin strips, generally 1-2cm wide.
- Place the beef strips in a bowl, your flavourings of choice, and enough olive oil to coat the beef.
- Mix and turn the beef until it is coated with the oil and flavours.
- Spread the beef strips onto a baking sheet that has been lined with non stick baking paper or some other non stick sheet.
- Bake at 80C (fan bake) for 1 hour, turn each beef jerky strip over, then bake/dehydrate for another half hour.
- Turn the oven off and allow the beef jerky strips to cool in the warm, dry oven.
- Place in an airtight container, and will last for up to 2 weeks (if you can make them last that long).