Slice 5 pounds of meat (1/4-inch strips) with the grain, not crosswise. Spread out meat and sprinkle on 3 Tbsp. salt, 2 tsp. ground black pepper, and 2 Tbsp. sugar. Put the meat in a pan or dish and let stand for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Pound the meat on both sides to work in the spice. Optional: Dip strips of meat in a liquid smoke solution (5 parts water to 1 part liquid smoke) for one to two seconds for added flavor.
Make a brine by dissolving 3/4 cup salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 Tbsp. ground black pepper in a gallon of water. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.
Bring the brine to a low to medium boil. Immerse the fresh meat strips (a few at a time) into the boiling brine until they turn gray (approximately one to two minutes). Remove meat from brine, using clean tongs or other utensils that have not contacted raw meat.
Spread out meat on a clean dehydrator rack or on a clean rack in the top half of a kitchen oven. If you use a kitchen oven, open the oven door to the first or second stop. Heat at 120 to 150°F (lowest oven temperature) for nine to 24 hours or until the desired dryness is reached. Remove jerky from oven before it gets too hard or brittle. Properly dried jerky should crack when bent in half but should not break into two pieces.
Store in clean jars or plastic bags, or wrap in freezer paper and freeze. If kept dry, properly prepared jerky will last almost indefinitely at any temperature, but its quality deteriorates in a few months.