Are you a fan of deli meats but looking for something with a stronger flavor?
Look no further than dried beef!
This cured meat is perfect for snacking or adding to sandwiches, and making it at home is easier than you might think.
With a few simple steps, you can create your own chipped beef or dry beef jerky.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of making dried beef from start to finish, including tips for slicing and serving.
So grab your apron and let’s get started!
How To Make Dried Beef?
The first step in making dried beef is to prepare the meat. You can use beef rounds or roasts, but make sure to remove any fat or connective tissue.
Next, mix together your dry ingredients and Liquid Smoke (if using) with water to create a brine. Inject the meat with the brine until it starts to plump up.
Store the meat in the brine in your refrigerator for ten days. After ten days, remove the meat from the brine and allow it to drain for a few hours at room temperature.
If you have a smoker, preheat it to 130°F and heat the meat without smoke until the internal temperature reaches 100°F or until the surface is dry. Increase the heat to 160°F and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 130°F.
If you don’t have a smoker, you can place the meat on a rack in a shallow baking pan in your oven. Follow the temperature guide below and add a bit of Liquid Smoke to the brine if desired.
1. Dry at 105°F for 3 hours, dampers open, no humidity.
2. Smoke at 130°F for 6 hours, dampers halfway open, no humidity.
3. Dry at 170°F until product reaches an internal temp of 155°F, dampers open, no humidity.
After smoking, hang the meat in your refrigerator for 24 hours or up to a week to dry down a bit. Remove any netting and slice the dried beef paper-thin with a meat slicer or sharp knife.
What Is Dried Beef?
Dried beef, also known as chipped beef, is a type of beef that has been partially dried, salt-cured, and thinly sliced. The curing process involves soaking the meat in a brine solution made of water, salt, and other seasonings. The brine helps to preserve the meat and give it a unique flavor.
Once the meat has been cured, it is thinly sliced and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Dried beef can be served as an appetizer or snack, or used as an ingredient in dishes like chipped beef on toast or beef and gravy. It has a rich history, dating back to its use as a staple food for soldiers during World War I.
Dried beef can be purchased pre-packaged at most grocery stores, but it can also be made at home using simple ingredients and equipment. Making dried beef involves preparing the meat, injecting it with brine, and then smoking or drying it until it reaches the desired texture and flavor. The end result is a flavorful and versatile cured meat that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack any time of day.
Choosing The Right Cut Of Beef
When it comes to making dried beef, the type of cut you choose is important. While any cut of beef can be used, it’s best to choose a lean cut with little fat or connective tissue. Cuts from the loin or rib section, such as tenderloin, ribeye, strip, and T-bone steaks, are the most expensive and tender cuts of beef. However, for making dried beef, less expensive cuts like beef rounds or roasts can also be used.
It’s important to remove any fat or connective tissue from the meat before preparing it for the brine. This will ensure that the meat dries properly and doesn’t spoil during the curing process. Once the meat is prepared, it can be injected with a brine mixture and left to cure in the refrigerator for ten days.
Whether using a smoker or an oven to dry the beef, it’s important to follow the temperature guide carefully to ensure that the meat is cooked properly and doesn’t dry out too much. The drying process can take up to a week, so it’s important to have patience and allow the meat to dry down before slicing it paper-thin.
Preparing The Meat For Drying
To prepare the meat for drying, start by choosing lean cuts such as beef rounds or roasts. Make sure to remove any visible fat or connective tissue from the meat. This will help prevent the meat from becoming rancid during the drying process.
Next, you can either marinate the meat or use curing salts to make it safe for consumption. If using a marinade, mix together your desired spices and liquid ingredients and let the meat soak in the mixture for several hours or overnight. After marinating, remove the meat from the mixture and pat it dry with clean, absorbent towels.
If using curing salts, mix them with your desired spices and coat the meat evenly with the mixture. Place the meat in a Ziploc bag or a container and let it cure in the refrigerator for several days based on its weight. You may need to apply pressure to the meat to help distribute the cure evenly.
Once your meat is marinated or cured, it’s time to dry it. You can either use a dehydrator or an oven for this step. If using a dehydrator, arrange the meat strips on dehydrator trays or cake racks placed on baking sheets. Make sure that the slices are close together but not touching or overlapping. Place the racks in a dehydrator preheated to 140°F and dry until a test piece cracks but does not break when bent.
If using an oven, place the meat strips on cake racks on a cookie sheet in the oven or hang them directly on the oven shelves. Covering the oven floor with foil will facilitate clean-up. Preheat your oven to 160°F and dry until a test piece cracks but does not break when bent. You can decrease the temperature to 140°F about halfway through the process if desired.
After drying, pat the meat strips with clean, absorbent towels to remove excess oil and cool them down. Store them in jars or plastic bags in a cool, dark location. If you plan to store them for an extended period of time, refrigerate or freeze them to ensure their freshness.
Curing The Beef
Curing the beef is an essential step in making dried beef. The curing process involves the addition of a combination of salt, sugar, nitrite and/or nitrate to the meat for the purposes of preservation, flavor and color.
To begin, prepare the meat by removing any fat or connective tissue. Next, mix together your dry ingredients and Liquid Smoke (if using) with water to create a brine. Inject the meat with the brine until it starts to plump up.
Place the meat in the brine in your refrigerator for ten days. During this time, the meat will absorb the flavors and the curing process will help to preserve it. After ten days, remove the meat from the brine and allow it to drain for a few hours at room temperature.
The curing process can also be done using dry curing methods. To do this, cover the meat entirely in salt for a full day. Fill a container with salt, place the meat on top, and pour more salt over until it’s buried. You can also add some flavorings (like celery seed and black pepper) at this point, if you want.
Regardless of which curing method you choose, it is important to follow proper food safety guidelines to prevent any potential health risks. Once the curing process is complete, you can proceed with smoking or drying your beef to make delicious dried beef.
Slicing And Serving The Dried Beef
Once your dried beef is sliced, you can serve it in a variety of ways. One popular option is creamed chipped beef on toast, a classic American dish that is simple to make and delicious to eat. To make this dish, melt butter in a pan and whisk in flour to create a roux. Gradually add milk to the roux, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Add sliced dried beef and cook until heated through. Serve over toast or biscuits.
Dried beef is also a great addition to salads, sandwiches, and appetizers. You can wrap a slice of dried beef around a wedge of cream cheese for an easy and tasty appetizer. Or add sliced dried beef to your favorite salad for a protein boost.
If you prefer your dried beef hot, try adding it to soups or casseroles for added flavor and texture. The possibilities are endless when it comes to serving dried beef.
When slicing your dried beef, it’s important to slice it as thinly as possible for the best texture and flavor. A meat slicer or sharp knife works well for this task. Store any leftover dried beef in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Storing And Preserving Dried Beef
Once you have made your dried beef, it’s important to store it properly to ensure its longevity. Dehydrated meats should be kept in a cool, dark, and dry environment to prevent bacterial growth. Airtight containers or jars that are free of moisture are ideal for storing dried beef. You can also use vacuum packing to ensure the meat stays dry and safe.
It’s important to avoid storing the meat near sources of heat such as ovens or stoves, as this can cause the meat to heat up and become unsafe to eat. A kitchen pantry is a good place to store dried beef, but make sure it’s not too close to any heat sources.
Dehydrated meats can be kept in an unrefrigerated place for up to two weeks. After this time, it’s recommended to either refrigerate or freeze the meat. If you choose to refrigerate the meat, it should be consumed within six months. Label each container with the date of dehydration so you know how long it can be stored in a cool, dark area and how long it can be refrigerated or frozen before it’s no longer safe to eat.
It’s important to note that even dehydrated meat has a finite shelf-life and cannot compete with canned meats, which can last for years. However, properly stored dried beef is an excellent survival food as it’s high in calories and protein, providing a good energy boost while being small, lightweight, and easy to transport. By following these guidelines for storing and preserving your dried beef, you can enjoy its delicious taste and nutritional benefits for an extended period of time.