There are few things simpler than beef jerky, and Ron Popiel was right - it is loads cheaper than the store-bought pieces of flavored rubber. It's also a perfect task to involve my nine year old Chef Saucier, Ellie. Of course it helps that the two of us love the results, to the extent that Mommy has to hide the finished product or it disappears. Rapidly. Really rapidly.
We start with top round, a relatively inexpensive cut even with the rise in food prices we are now enduring. If fresh, it is popped in the freezer for a half an hour; if frozen, it is thawed until still slightly frozen. I trim it of external fat, slice it on a bias as thin as possible with the grain and immerse it in a marinade.
Ellie's favorite marinade is made of one cup each of Soy and Worcestershire Sauces, a tablespoon each of granulated garlic, granulated onion, liquid smoke, hot sauce (Frank's, in this case, and since I don't make wings as much as I used to I have a half gallon to use up.), Hot Pepper Flakes (in this case Aleppo Pepper from Penzey's). The basic marinade is subject to infinite variation, and we have used other formulas from teriyaki sauce to nuoc cham.
The meat is marinated for an hour or two tossing occasionally to coat all the slices. They are placed on a rack over a foil lined sheet tray and placed in the lowest temp possible, in my case 140º, for about 12 hours - I like it drier than usual as it seems to keep better.
I have also used my electric dehydrator, though cleanup can be a beyotch! Mine doesn't disassemble easily!