Beef Jerky in Convection Oven: A Guide for Beginners
While most people know beef jerky as the preserved meat substance that they can buy pre-packaged at the store, it’s totally possible to make your own beef jerky at home.
Making beef jerky in convection oven is actually very simple, and you can create lots of variations of this yummy snack with ease.
Not everyone is familiar with how a convection oven can be used to dehydrate meats and other foods, so we’ll walk through a step-by-step process to make it easy.
With the help of this guide, you’ll be able to make your own beef jerky any time that you want.
Beef Jerky in Convection Oven Guide
As stated above, making beef jerky isn’t hard!
It can actually be more cost-effective to make your own beef jerky rather than buying good jerky at the store.
What’s more, you can control exactly what it tastes like when you make it yourself.
Here is what you need to do:
Step 1: Choose Your Meat
There are many different cuts of meat that you can use to make beef jerky.
While many think that flank steak is the best option, it can also be quite expensive.
Those who aren’t ready to splurge on flank steak can choose cheaper cuts or slice the flank steak thinner to save money.
Here is what you should look for:
- A lean cut of meat with little fat (marbled fat causes jerky to go rancid faster)
- Top roast, rump roast, and London broil are all good choices
Step 2: Cut the Meat
Once you have your meat, you will need to slice it into thin, even strips. Cutting a chunk of meat into slices can be difficult due to how it moves.
To make the process easier, flash-freeze the meat for 30 minutes. Freezing the meat will make it firm enough to cut with ease.
When cutting the meat, make sure that you cut against the grain and cut 1/8-inch slices. Cutting this way ensures that the jerky will be tender enough to eat.
Step 3: Marinate the Meat
Now it’s time to marinate the meat!
By marinating the meat, you’ll be giving it flavor, helping it become more tender, and be sure that you don’t have any unwanted ingredients in your jerky.
There are many different marinade recipes that you could follow, and here are a few suggestions:
- A mixture of Worcestershire and low-sodium soy sauce
- Worcestershire sauce with onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper
- Soy sauce, red pepper flakes, chili powder, and salt
- Any mixture of the above ingredients in any combination!
There is so much that can be done with the marinating liquids and seasonings, and the only limit you face is what you will enjoy eating.
Think about what your favorite jerky flavors are, and try to recreate those flavors with your marinade.
Put the strips of meat in a zip bag with the marinade and allow it to marinate for at least 45 minutes; you could marinate the meat for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Step 4: Set up Your Cooking Rack
The best way to dehydrate meat in your convection oven is to use a baking sheet with a wire rack on top.
The meat will be placed on top of the wire rack. As the beef juices drip out of the meat, they will go down into the pan and allow the jerky to stay dry on top.
Step 5: Low-Temperature Bake
The key to making good beef jerky is to bake it low and slow. This means that you want to keep your oven at a low temperature and to cook the meat for a very long time.
In a convection oven, you will want to set the oven to 175ºF; then, bake for two to three hours.
If your meat was cut thicker or your oven isn’t as powerful, the strips could take longer than two to three hours.
In some cases, it will take five hours or more, so keep this in mind when you’re planning to make jerky.
Step 6: Check Frequently
There is a fine line of how long you will want to bake the jerky.
On the one hand, beef jerky that is very dried out will be more “preserved” than beef jerky that is less dried out.
The longer it has been baked, the longer the jerky will last at room temperature for up to two weeks.
On the other hand, leaving the jerky in the oven for too long will turn it into something more like a tough cracker than jerky.
Once you hit the two- or two-and-a-half-hour mark, here is how to check your jerky:
- Take a piece out of the oven.
- Let it cool down.
- Pull a piece off of it and taste it.
- Chew it carefully to determine if the texture is what you like or not.
- If it is, take the jerky out of the oven.
- If it’s not, let it cook longer.
- If your pieces were not sliced evenly, you would want to let the thicker pieces stay in there longer than the thinner slices.
Once done, beef jerky can be stored at room temperature in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.
If your jerky has a lot of fat or is undercooked, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator instead.
Beef Jerky Making FAQs
1. How long does it take to make beef jerky in a convection oven?
Making beef jerky in convection oven is much faster than making it in a conventional oven.
A convection oven takes about two to three hours, while a traditional oven would take three to four hours.
Additionally, convection ovens work better at low temperatures than traditional ovens, thanks to the constant air circulation.
2. How do you dehydrate meat in a convection oven?
To dehydrate meat in a convection oven, you need to do the following:
- Cut the meat into thin strips.
- Marinate it for at least one hour.
- Bake it at 175 degrees F for three hours.
- Store in an air-tight container.
For a more complete description of how to make beef jerky, check the recipe and descriptions early in today’s article.
3. How do you know when beef jerky is done dehydrating?
The best way to know when beef jerky is done dehydrating is to take a piece of the jerky out of the oven, let it cool, and then taste it.
If you haven’t tried jerky before, it might be hard to recognize when it is done.
Regardless, the key is to look for a texture that you like eating; you want to take the jerky out of the oven as soon as its a good texture so that it doesn’t become overcooked.
4. What temperature should meat be dehydrated at?
For the best results, the beef jerky should be cooked at a low temperature, like 175º F.
Cooking jerky low and slow is the best way to ensure that the moisture is all removed from the meat without it becoming too tough or chewy.
Regardless of the beef type and thickness, you should set the oven somewhere between 160°F and 200°F.
Have you learned how to make your own beef jerky with the convection oven?
Making beef jerky isn’t a hard task as long as you have the time and patience to cook the jerky down as it needs to be.
Once you know how to do that, you can create lots of different types of jerky just by changing up the marinades and seasonings that you use.
Get creative, and you can start making beef jerky that all of your friends and family will be raving about for years to come!