Before beginning lets address the age old question, should you slice the meat With the grain or against the grain? This is entirely dependent on what type of meat you are using. If the meat is a tough cut you of meat, such as a brisket, will want to cut AGAINST the Grain, otherwise is will b nearly impossible to chew.
If the meat is a more Tender Cut, such as a rump roast, you want to cut WITH the Grain, which will result in thin Chewy (rather than brittle or crumbly) jerky pieces.
If possible, choose lean cuts of meat. In this case, I opted for a couple of nice roasts that were on sale for $2. lb!
If the meat is partially frozen, it is considerably easier to slice evenly and cleanly. Slice WITH the grain into long even strips 1/4" thick & 1 to 1 1/2" wide. This ensures that the jerky will dry evenly and be chewy rather than brittle.
Notice how each of the strips are the exact same thickness, this ensures even drying. If you want to make really short work of this - use a Weston Meat Slicer! We absolutely love ours.
Since we were using a couple roasts, not all of the pieces are the same length. Here we've divided them into 1 pound piles based on size.
Next, add the meat a few pieces at a time to a ziploc bag (or NON-metal container), add some seasoning/(marinade), add another layer of meat, more seasoning (marinade), continue until all the meat & marinade is in the bag in layers. Seal the bag and manipulate the meat with your fingers, ensuring that each and every piece is coated with the marinade or seasoning blend.
Here is a view of the sliced meat.
It should take 3-5 minutes per pound to ensure that the meat is completely coated. It should turn from a bright red color to a deeper red color, as in the photo. This is due to the "cure" in the seasoning. If all the pieces haven't turned color, continue to manipulate the seasoning around the meat.
Seal the bags, label them with the type of marinade (Teriyaki, sweet bbq, etc) and then place in the fridge for 24-48 hours. This depends on the amount required by the recipe, some recipes require more.
Once the meat is fully seasoned and had time to cure, place it dehydrator racks or on cooling racks (on top of cookie sheets) to dehydrate in the oven.
Drying time is dependent on the type of method chosen. In this case, we used a Nesco Food Dehydrator and it took exactly 3 hours to dry the jerky.
View Drying Temperatures & Methods Here
As you can see, for 20 minutes of preparation (the rest of the work is done by the oven or dehydrator!) we have several large bags of Jerky. (This is only HALF of the meat shown in the first photo, the rest is still marinating!).