Recipe Review

This Homemade Beef Jerky Recipe Is the Ultimate Weekend Project for Kitchen Overachievers

published Mar 24, 2022
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Typically, I think of steak as the ultimate grilling food (and P.S.: Ever since I learned about Courteney Cox’s secret for a stellar one, I’ve changed up my routine). But I’ve got to hand it to Chef Genevieve LaMonaca: The chef and social media star with over 1.2 million fans on TikTok recently dropped a steak recipe I never saw coming. 

In a recent video (I caught it on Instagram) Chef LaMonaca turns flank steak into homemade beef jerky. Before we dive any further into this, I’ll note that this is decidedly not one of those “quick and easy!” recipes. But if you’ve got time and a craving for red meat, I think this could be a fun weekend project. Here’s how LaMonaca does it.

First, she trims a flank steak of excess fat. I’m betting you could ask your butcher to do this part if you’re not confident. After that, she puts the steak in the freezer for 20 minutes, then slices it into 1/8-inch-thick pieces. Love that freezer intel; a cold steak is a firm steak, which makes precision cuts much easier. (Don’t forget to slice against the grain, LaMonaca also notes. That’s key for a good texture.)

After that, it’s time to add flavor with a homemade marinade. This is where your creativity can run free, but LaMonaca shares her secret spices and seasonings — which include Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Sriracha, and apple cider vinegar. A little sweetness is key for jerky, and for that LaMonaca reaches for an ingredient called Swerve. I’d never heard of Swerve, but a quick Google search revealed that it’s a sugar replacement, made from erythritol. (Another Google search revealed that erythritol is a sugar alcohol, but I digress!) LaMonaca also says you can use any sweetener you want, so if you can’t get your hands on Swerve, don’t worry about it — I bet maple syrup would be delish!.

Once the meat has marinated in the fridge overnight, it’s time to get crafty. LaMonaca threads the beef strips through a toothpick, and arranges her oven racks. All but one rack get removed — situate that in the second slot from the top. Then line the bottom of your oven with foil. Line that with a foil-lined sheet pan. Note for the DIY-ers at home: If you have a gas oven, your foil lining will have to be on another rack, on the bottom. You don’t want to cover the slots where heat circulates. Balance the toothpicks on the rack, so the meat is hanging down like a bunch of wild-looking streamers, and bake at 175°F. 

After 30 minutes, remove the foil-lined tray; juice will have accumulated on that, and you don’t want its moisture to steam the meat. In theory, your first layer of foil will catch any remaining drips. Although LaMonaca doesn’t address how gas oven cooks should handle this, I imagine that simply swapping out a clean foil-lined tray on that bottom rack will do the trick. After two to three hours, your steak will have transformed to jerky. Remove the toothpicks and get snacking.

Like I said, this is not a 30-minute meal. But LaMonaca’s fans aren’t put off by the commitment involved. “That’s like $50 worth of jerky right there,” commented one viewer, adding that they would “definitely give it a try.” Another commenter wanted to know if it would work with venison; LaMonaca greenlit that suggestion.

I’ll admit that this project is a little too ambitious for me, but I’m curious to know if anyone else would try it — or has already! Let me know in the comments below.