We make a lot of jerky in a big dehydrator out on the deck.
Use lean cuts of beef, like round, and slice it as thin as possible. The semi-raw dried fat in fatty cuts is unpleasant IMO. Save the fatty cuts for cooking, where they are much tastier than most of the lean cuts.
Venision jerky is OK, but elk is really great.
We marinate the thinly sliced beef in soy sauce, fresh garlic (pressed), a bit of honey, liquid smoke, Worcestershire, fresh ground black pepper, and various other seasonings. The honey, or brown sugar, attracts enough moisture so that the resultant jerky is not tough as shoe leather. Our version, though, doesn't have nearly as many grams of sugar per serving as commercial (which is sometimes almost as much as the protein grams!) It doesn't have to marinate terribly long. Cook's tests with marinades show that they never penetrate more than a small fraction of an inch, no matter how long the marinating time.
For more tender jerky, next time I make it I am thinking of using a Jaccard 48-blade tenderizing tool. The idea is to cut long protein strands into much shorter ones, without turning them to mush.
Dry the marinated meat off with paper towels and then place in the dehydrator till done. We dry ours less than commercial, so it's less tough, but can develop mold sooner. Don't seal it airtight; store it in a jar with some of those silica moisture absorbers that come in all those bottles of pills.
Alton Brown's Good Eats episode on jerky was really good. I remember after watching it I wanted to make his recipe. The box fan was brilliant, but I don't know if I'll go that far.