Recipe Image
Carol Kicinski
Want an uncomplicated way to make beef jerky? This recipe is sure to do the trick!

Homemade beef jerky – the easy way!

Author Byline Image   Ladies, have you ever noticed how men have a way of complicating life?
   It starts long before they are men, as boys on the playground. One minute you are all playing hide and seek together and the next they are pulling your ponytails and hiding so well it is impossible to find them when we seek.
   Then they get to be teenagers and further complicate our lives by trying to be cool and not saying what they mean. By not calling when they say they will or calling when we don’t want them to.
   Aside from complicating our lives they also seem to have a knack of making things more complicated than they probably need to be. Case in point is my husband wanting to make beef jerky. First he studied up on the finer points of jerky making, then he joined a jerky club (I am not making this up!) and then he went out and bought all this expensive equipment and located hard to find herbs and spices. Then he spent days (and I do mean days!) making jerky. Jerky consumed our lives. At the end of this whole complicated rigmarole we ended up with a few pieces of
Gluten Free Cherry Cola Beef Jerky
Make 2 pounds of jerky
1 (16-ounce) jar maraschino cherries without stems
1 cup cola (not diet)
⅓ cup honey
¼ cup gluten-free soy sauce
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons chipotle pepper powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds boneless sirloin, about 1 inch thick
   Puree the cherries with their liquid in a blender until smooth. In a heavy saucepan, combine the pureed cherries with the cola, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, chipotle pepper powder, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Let simmer for 20 minutes or until reduced to about 2 cups. Let cool.
   Cut the meat into strips about ½ inch wide. Place the cut meat in a large food storage bag, pour in the cooled marinade and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.
   Position an oven rack at the top and if needed, remove any other racks from the oven. Line the bottom of the oven with foil to catch drips.
   Remove meat from marinade, pat the meat dry and discard the marinade. Stick a toothpick through one end of each strip of meat. Arrange each piece of meat between the grates of the oven rack so that the toothpicks rest on the grates and the meat hangs down. Avoid letting the meat touch the oven rack and keep some space between each piece of meat. Set the oven temperature to 200 degrees and bake the meat for 2 hours or until the jerky is dry but still pliable. Carefully remove the meat from the oven, remove the tooth picks and let the jerky cool completely. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
nicely flavored dry beef. Really dry!
   Don’t get me wrong. While he could have taken five dollars and fifteen minutes to drive to the store and buy jerky, I appreciate the desire to make something from scratch. I just don’t see why it had to be so complicated!
   I recently made some jerky. I used some ingredients from my pantry, toothpicks, and my oven. The whole process took about two hours and my cherry cola jerky was (shhh – don’t tell him I
said this) better tasting. Well, not really just two hours, the beef sat in the fridge overnight in marinade. The point is, my way was so much less complicated!
   The really good news is that my hubby loves the jerky and seems to have forgotten all his aspirations of becoming a jerky making master. He is more than happy to munch on this jerky. It’s a simple pleasure – I guess life isn’t so complicated after all.