Grass-fed beef is perfect for jerky. Naturally lean, the rich mineral flavor of the beef shines through. Luck for me Santa left a fab new dehydrator under the Christmas tree. I fondly remember the venison jerky my Dad used to make. He would marinate the jerky in teriyaki sauce or red wine, then dry smoke-dry it over a low fire on the BBQ. Rich, tangy and chewy, the whole family loved it. It didn’t last long in my house.
For my grass-fed beef, I made two kinds of jerky, one with smoked salt, maple and mustard, the other with dark soy and garlic chili paste. The smoked salt added major dimension to the meat with a pleasant sweet-sharp tang from the maple and mustard. The dark soy sauce, which is like soy molasses, was sweet and savory, with a nice kick from the chilies. Both jerkies were meaty and lightly chewy. Jerky makes an excellent lean-protein snack. It will be perfect for camping, hiking and on mushroom forays. If it lasts that long.
A note on food safety: Many dehydrator books tell you that you “must” pre-cook then dehydrate meat at 155 degrees for safety reasons, fully cooking it. But my preference is the traditional route. I dried my raw beef at 90 degrees. Is there a risk? Some. But I know where my beef is from, how it was raised and processed. Using whole muscle cuts has a much lower risk of bacterial contamination than using ground meats. Salted, thin slices cure fast, minimizing exposure to harmful bacteria.