How to Make Dried Beef: Different Approaches That You Can Follow

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How to make dried beef? Honestly, there are a lot of methods that you can scour the internet for this recipe. However, in this article, I will show you a simple and cost-efficient way of achieving this delicacy. If you are just a simple household owner, you will definitely love this recipe!

Specifically, what I am going to teach you is air-dry beef. It is a recipe that is quite famous on several regions of the world, such as in Africa. On my part, I like this food because it is effortless to prepare. In fact, I think that drying is the most straightforward way of preparing meat.

Despite this, it is undeniable that the taste of this dried beef is delectable and savoring. Moreover, it is healthy, too. Specifically, it has better nutritional content than grilled or boiled beef.

Dried Beef and Beef Jerky: Are They Similar

It is not a surprise if some people would ask if a beef jerky and dried beef are just the same. After all, both of these recipes used drying as preparation and preservation method. Their nuances do not really depart from each other.

​The only separation between these two is the method of how you dried them. Specifically, beef jerkies are smoke or oven dried. A air-cured dried beef can be achieved by the help of humid and warm air.

How to Make Dried Beef

Choosing the Meat

Don’t assume that any type of meat can be air-dried. For example, pork and chicken are not suitable for this. The reason for this is because of the presence of toxins that can only be exterminated through boiling. For this case, I do recommend beef.

Of course, you still need to choose the part of the meat that has the lowest fat. You can get have these meat strips prepared by your local meat shops. However, if you are the one to slice it, make sure you have good butcher or slicing knives.

Pouring the Spices

You can further improve the flavor of the dried beef by mixing some spices with it. There are a variety of condiments that you can try for this. But if you are afraid to experiment, let me shoulder the burden for you. I will give you some of the basic spices that can work with dried beef. Here are they:

  • Vinegar – This one is important because it will serve as the preservative of the ingredient. It also cleanses the meat. With this, the meat can last long even without refrigeration.
  • Salt – The combination of salt and vinegar improves the overall lifespan of the dried beef. It will also enhance the taste of your delicacy.
  • Marjoram – It is just an optional ingredient. However, I frequently use this.
  • Ground pepper – Necessary for additional taste.
  • Thyme – Another optional ingredient.
  • Hot pepper – If you want to spice things up.

Use a bowl to mix all those ingredients that I mentioned. Mix them thoroughly so that you can get the finest flavor possible. After this, you can already put the meat in the mixture. Dip the meat strips thoroughly with the use of your hands. When this over, seal the bowl already with a cover or a plastic cellophane.

Put the bowl in the refrigerator. Let it sit there for 12 hours.

Preparing Your Setup

The process of drying an air-dry beef does not involve oven or smokers. Instead, it requires the constant availability of warm air. To do this, you will need an improvised storage box with an aluminum foil inside. In this way, you can get an optimal reflection for the light. It will also protect the box. If you cover the box with plastic, it will just melt eventually.

The box should also include one 75-watt incandescent light bulb and some aluminum bars where you can hang the meat. You could optionally install a 12-volt fan if in case you want to keep the fungus out.

You can use the sandwich box of your refrigerator for this setup. Just affix the aluminum foil on all sides before you install the fan and bulb. If you are not so good at doing this DIY-project, you can ask for the help of someone who is knowledgeable. Mine was built by my uncle who is a bonafide weekend warrior.

I used some paper clips and attached it on the aluminum bars. This is where I hang the meat for drying. After you secured the meat, you can already close the box and plug it into a near outlet.

Drying Process

I have to warn you that this process will produce a strong smell. Therefore, I recommend that you will put your setup in a place that is free from moisture and away from everyone’s nose. I suggest that you place the box on the balcony. If you have a garage or a storage room that is quite distant from your home, take the box there.

Leave the meat there for 12 hours. After that, you can already check your ingredient. If there are remaining fluid on it, just continue the drying process. If it is already finished, take out the dried meat and place it in your refrigerator.

Of course, you can extend the curing time of the meat. It just depends on your preferences. As long as you are fine with your dish, things are already good.

Alternative Method

​You can also make a dried beef through other means. Specifically, choose an eye of round that has no fat. Next, cover it with quick salt (any variant). You can find this seasoning in your local stores. You should mix the salt with the meat thoroughly.

After coating the meat with the salt, put it inside an airtight plastic bag. Next, put the bag on your refrigerator and let it stay there for five days to one week. In this way, you can guarantee that the meat will be quenched with its internal fluids.

​When the refrigeration period is over, take out the meat and wash it carefully. You need to do this so that you can remove any visible specks of salts on the surface. After washing, take the meat on a smoker that has an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Germs won’t survive this one! Let the meat stay there for four to six hours.

​Next, tie the meat and hang it on a humid and dry place. It might take a week before the meat gets dry to the point that you want it. You can assess its dryness by making a slice out of the meat. If you can see that there are no fluids that are coming out from the insides, it means that beef is already dried. Moreover, you can also check the texture of the meat’s surface. If it is dry, rough, and firm, then your meat is ready for consumption.


Learning how to make dried beef is an essential kitchen skill. It just improves your overall versatility in the kitchen. Moreover, it also allows you to access various kinds of recipes. As long you got the right tools and ingredients, this recipe is doable at the comforts of your home!

Did you learn from this article? If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, just feel free to ask me. I will be waiting!

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