Beef up your protein intake with jerky
By: Leanne Ely
You might be surprised to see that I’ve decided to do a “Healthy Food” post on beef jerky. And if the only beef jerky you’re familiar with is that horrible stuff you find at the gas station, you’d be right to be surprised! I am not talking about that jerky.
Those bags of commercial jerky are full of sodium, nitrates and other nasty ingredients. The process used by many producers of beef jerky includes the step of grinding the meat before adding the spices and herbs, and then forming the mixture into strip shapes. But, if you make your own beef jerky at home, you can skip those unhealthy chemicals and unnecessary salt and create a high protein snack that is absolutely delicious.
Beef jerky is essentially strips of dried beef that have been treated with a blend of spices and dehydrated.
Made with a nice cut of local, grass-fed flank steak or London broil, you can gain the following nutritional benefits from a batch of beef jerky:
• Protein. Beef jerky is a complete source of protein, giving your body all of the essential amino acids it needs.
• B-12. Vitamin B-12 is found mainly in animal sources. This essential vitamin helps your body produce DNA, and it gives you lots of energy. A 3.5 ounce serving of beef jerky provides you with almost 40% of your Recommended Daily Amount of Vitamin B-12.
• Minerals. Beef jerky provides you with phosphorus, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper and zinc.
• Vitamins. In addition to all that B-12, beef jerky also contains riboflavin, thiamin, niacin and Vitamin B-6.
Beef jerky is a great lunchbox protein because it doesn’t require refrigeration.
You can find all sorts of beef jerky recipes online, but the following is my preferred method.
First, remove all visible fat from a very lean piece of london broil or flank steak.
(This process is easier with a semi-frozen piece of beef, by the way!)
Slice the meat into very thin little slices and then marinate it in a combination of lime juice, paprika, coconut aminos, orange juice, liquid smoke, garlic salt, pepper and whatever other spices you’re in the mood for.
Marinate it in the fridge overnight. Then, the following day, dehydrate it in a food dehydrator, or in your oven set at its lowest temperature, with a wooden spoon propping the door open a crack. In the oven, it will take you about 8 hours or so, and using the dehydrator will take roughly 4 hours.