When you grow up in Houston, with lots of family in Austin, road trips are just a normal part of life. And then add to that the fact that your parents buy a lake house in Austin while you're in college in Waco, and the 2-3 hour drive just becomes a regular routine.
Doesn't matter where you're going or where you're coming from in Texas, odds are you're going to pass a monstrosity called Bucee's. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, then odds are you're not from around here... and if you do know what I'm talking about, you know that all Bucee's are famous for three things:
- Being the most ridiculously large but spectacularly clean gas stations EVER... including their restrooms.
- Their employees are insanely friendly and kind, which is a huge plus when you've been dealing with two whiny toddlers in a very confined space for the last 2 hours.
- The world's best tasting BEEF JERKY.
That last one is a Texas truth, but something that makes me cringe every time we go, for two reasons:
- It's insanely expensive.
- It's filled with nitrites.
Now, don't get me wrong. It's incredibly tasty... but I've always thought I'd love to have a healthier and CHEAPER alternative! So, when the folks over at Aroma Housewares offered to send me one of their dehydrators to test out, I jumped on it!! The recipe below was my first attempt, and there's a few things you should know:
- The roast I purchased was around $12 for 2lbs. and made what would have cost around $40 of beef jerky at Bucee's!
- The dehydrator could not have been easier to use.
- This particular model is set up so you don't have to rotate the trays. Just turn it on and go!
Now, what other flavors do you want to see? Let me know in the comments!
Gluten and Preservative Free Beef Jerky
2-3 pound eye of round beef roast
1 cup tamari sauce
1 cup water
1/3 cup medjool date paste*
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp garlic powder
Wrap your roast in saran wrap and place in the freezer for 2 hours.
Remove the roast from the freezer. Carefully cut off all visible fat. (Excess fat will cause your beef jerky to go rancid quicker.)
Slice beef jerky into 1/3- 1/2in thick slices (see picture). Then slice each slice into vertical strips. (See picture.)
Next, combine all remaining ingredients in a large gallon ziploc. Seal the bag and shake until well combined. Add all of your meat strips and shake to combine. Allow the meat to marinate for 12-24 hours in the refrigerator.
Once the meat has marinated fully, remove the strips from the bag and pat them dry with a paper towel. Arrange meat strips on the trays of your dehydrator as shown. Set dehydrator to 155 degrees and cook for 6-7 hours (Note: this recipe was tested in an Aroma Housewares Professional Dehydrator. Times and temperatures may vary depending on the type of dehydrator you use.)
Store beef jerky in a sealed container or bag in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks. Enjoy!