There is no better way to spend a fall day than on a hiking trail with a bag of beef jerky in your pack. It’s even a nicer day if you made the jerky at home in your air fryer with no added preservatives. Creating your own beef jerky masterpiece means you can control just how much sugar is added to your trail snack as well. You can even use honey or agave nectar instead of corn syrup or tons of sugar to create a much healthier jerky masterpiece.
As an avid hiker, camper and outdoor enthusiast, I always have a backpack full of healthy homemade snacks. Whether you are a day hiker or a backpacker, You can use your air fryer at home to come up with so many delicious trail snacks. If it’s mid-October and I’m romping through a colorful forest with my pup, you better believe we have some freshly air-fried beef jerky. (And this trail dog has a certain look in her eye every time I pull out the dried meat baggy of goodness)
Obviously, the hiker in me loves any kind of jerky. How can you not hike seventeen miles in one day without a bag of spicy preserved meat at your side? Beef jerky is one of the most perfect trailside treats for a day out in the wilderness. It’s high in protein, usually salty and stays preserved even in the hottest temperatures. Salty sweet jerky is really essential to this day hiker.
How to make beef jerky for dummies
I own a very old dehydrator. I literally don’t know where it came from, I think maybe someone gave it to me at some point? It has been through multiple home moves with me and I can’t seem to throw it away, even though I only use it like once a year. It works great for drying fruit, like bananas, one of my favorite fruits to dry. It’s so old and decrepit though I feel like it would take a ridiculously long time to make a batch of beef jerky in my grandmother of a dehydrator. I also feel like it would not dry the beef evenly as the beef jerky in the bottom stacking layer would for sure dry faster than the top layers since the bottom is closer to the fan. That is why I have stuck to drying bananas or sweet potato chips for the pup in my ancient dehydrator.
Thankfully after I hiked to the top of Mt Whitney, the tallest mountain in the continental United States at over 14,000 feet, my boyfriend gave me an air fryer for my fortieth birthday! I was so, so excited and have since tried to make just about everything I possibly can in the air fryer.
One thing about using my new kitchen toy obsession, my air fryer; I have found so many air fryer recipes that don’t tell you what temperature to preheat the air fryer too! The first time I made beef jerky in the air fryer, I made beef jerky in thirty minutes! It was a Hungry Mountaineer miracle! It was also a very chewy beef jerky. It got rather overdone, almost burnt. One main reason I want to make my own beef jerky at home is I don’t like beef jerky that makes you feel like you are about to break a tooth as you gnaw through it. The basic recipe I followed did not give a guess on what time to preheat my air fryer to so I just choose beef; three hundred and seventy degrees.
The correct temperature for baking beef jerky in your air fryer is one hundred eighty degrees. Oopsy wopsy. Since that very well done experience I have perfected this recipe for sriracha beef jerky. This recipe, using the air fryer makes homemade beef jerky so easy, without using a dehydrator or leaving your oven on for half a day. Simply marinate your beef, I prefer to marinate it for at least half a day. Throw the slices in the air fryer, and bing, bang, boom, hours later you have perfect beef jerky every time!
Sriracha Beef Jerky in the Air Fryer
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon grated garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 teaspoon sriracha
Mix every ingredient but the meat in a ziplock bag. Cut the meat into large bite-size pieces, slicing off any fatty pieces and giving them to your dog. Marinade the meat pieces for twenty-four hours. Pour the sauce out of the bag and then towel dry your meat pieces until dry. Preheat your deep fryer to 180 degrees. Add your meat pieces and bake for 2-3 hours. I like to shake the basket a bit every thirty minutes or so to get an even cook on my beef jerky.