Hey, it's Doug from Jerky.com. Today, I'm bringing you into our test kitchen to whip up something exciting – a Sweet Tea Beef Jerky recipe. This isn't your typical jerky, but that's part of the fun! So let's roll up our sleeves and dive into it. To kick things off, I like to keep things organized. I've got a handy 2-pound bag of pre-sliced eye round at the ready in my freezer. Makes whipping up these test batches as easy as pie.
Time for the tasty stuff. We're adding in a full cup of sweet tea, half a cup of soy sauce, and the rest of our flavor squad - brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt. If you missed any of that, no worries! In the recipe card at the bottom of the page, we've got you covered with a full list.
Next up, we're all hands on deck for the mix. Remember, brown sugar can clump up a bit and the pre-sliced meat might stick together. It's a bit like a puzzle, breaking up the sugar and pulling apart the meat. But, it's a crucial step to make sure every single piece gets a good soak in our marinade.
Marinating Focus Points:
Here's the thing, you can't half-ass this step. We've got two targets in sight here. First, make sure all the dry ingredients are fully dissolved in the liquid. We want a nice, even, consistent flavor all throughout. Second, we want to make sure every single piece gets fully, and I mean fully, immersed in this marinade. After all's mixed up nice and good, seal that bad boy up tight and toss it in the fridge.
Fast forward 38 hours, and we're ready for the next step - laying out the meat on the dehydrator racks. It isn't rocket science. Keep in mind a couple of things: you want to make sure none of the pieces are folded over and none of them are touching. Just lay everything out flat for a proper drying all the way around.
Knowing Your Dehydrator:
Another tip from me to you, know your machine. I'm working with a six-tray dehydrator here, so I know I can get around 4 to 5 pounds, depending on how it's cut. With just 2 pounds of wet meat on this batch, I don't need to be a Tetris master laying it out.
Once we've got all our ducks in a row, it's time to set the time and temperature on your unit. I usually crank my machine up to 140 degrees and start keeping an eye on it at about three and a half hours to make sure you get that perfect texture.
Tasting and Evaluation:
Finally, the moment of truth – the taste test. Texture-wise, this bad boy is a winner. Not a lot of surface moisture, great pliability, and a nice chew. But when it comes to flavor, I'm looking for that tea to really pull through. And I've got to say, it's a bit more teriyaki-ish than I'd like.
Feedback and Next Steps:
Don't get me wrong, it's a solid jerky. But for a Sweet Tea Jerky, I'm not getting enough tea. Still, I reckon the tea flavor has potential as a jerky flavor, so I'm itching to give this one another run and try to make that tea stand out more.
If you're a tea fan, I'd say give the recipe a whirl. And hey, leave me a comment below and then swing back after you've tried it out and tell me what you thought and what you might change.
We've got a video that walks you through this entire Sweet Tea Beef Jerky recipe over on our YouTube channel. You can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sI5wShYNnc