You Must Plan To Succeed: Make Your Own Beef Jerky

beef jerky What a busy few days… Usually Saturday is spent grocery shopping and Sunday I do a lot of meal prep for the week. This weekend however, Saturday was spent taking our baby to the doc for a bad cough and the rest of the weekend tending to the little guy. I wasn’t particularly concerned about cooking because we were slated to head to NYC for today and tomorrow. Alas, my son’s cough persisted and we had to skip the trip and stay home for another doctor’s appointment. I’ve had little time for food prep with two free hands as I’ve been busy holding the little guy.

His appointment went great and his lungs are now clear. We came home from the doctor around lunch time and I desperately wanted to get him to eat something. I pulled out the single box of Annie’s gluten free mac and cheese I keep on hand for such “emergencies” to make for lunch. I too was starving and almost resigned myself to have a bowl as well. Fortunately when I opened the fridge for butter I saw a left over container of the spaghetti squash carbonara we had Saturday waiting for me and then had a clear enough mind to grab some of the homemade jerky we always try to keep on hand to supplement. Phew narrow miss…

So what’s my point, always have something around that’s paleo friendly to grab in a bind. Plan to Succeed. This might mean cooking a few meals for the week over the weekend, it might mean having easy to grab paleo friendly snacks on hand. Just always have something to fall back on if you’re hungry. Some of my go to snacks:

  • hard boiled eggs
  • homemade beef jerky (If I am really on the ball after it is dried I will portion it out in to 2 oz servings, this ends up being a ton of protein and keeps us from mindlessly eating the entire batch at once…)
  • grilled or baked chicken strips
  • sliced up chicken sausages
  • Trader Joe’s Omega 3 snack mix
  • carrot and celery Sticks
  • coconut flakes
  • almond butter
  • Trader Joe’s unsweetened dried fruit bars
  • freeze dried fruit
  • egg muffins(make a bunch and keep them in the freezer)
  • banana nut muffins(make a bunch and keep them in the freezer)

One of my favorites is beef jerky. This is without a doubt a comfort food from my childhood that doesn’t wreak havoc on my digestion so I do my best to make sure we usually have some on hand. It’s super easy to make and much less expensive than buying in the stores. By making it yourself you also have control over the marinade, i.e. eliminate added sweeteners or preservatives. You can make it in your oven, but if you’re making it often you will want to invest in a dehydrator.

Homemade Beef Jerky

  • Buy 3-4 pounds of whatever lean(grass fed if possible) beef is available or at a good price.
  • Freeze it for a couple of hours to firm it up but not make it rock hard.
  • Slice the meat. I like to cut jerky across the grain in 1/8″ slices. This is a personal choice however- you can make it thicker(longer to dry) or you can also cut with the grain(chewier jerky).
  • Toss the meat in a bowl or ziploc bag.
  • Create a marinade.
  • Pour over sliced meat. I let it marinade all day and usually dry it over night. (I use a dehydrator on the jerky setting but have also dried it on the lowest possible temperature in my over overnight- appx 200 degrees)

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