Making jerky isn't that hard, it just takes awhile to do it, but it's worth it. Esp since a 1/4 lb pack of it is like $7 now.
The 1st part is to find good meat, you want something lean, I usually use a roast and have the grocery store slice it about 1/8 to 1/4 thick. When you get home you can cut any fat off the individual pieces quickly. Once the meat is prepped you need to marinade it in whatever flavoring you prefer, you can use bottled ones, or I'll put a marinade I like that the bottom of this post. Let the meat soak in the marinade overnight, remove from the marinade and pat it dry with a paper towel.
The heat source, beef jerky needs temps of just above 100 degrees to cure, a toaster oven set on it's lowest setting, a gas oven with just the pilot light lit, rack several ft above a slow burning campfire, etc are all excellent sources. I've seen alot of toaster ovens that 175 is the low setting, if you are using that it'll do, but you have to keep closer check on the jerky to make sure it does not completely dry out.
Place the meat on a rack, it's ok to let it touch, but it needs to be one single layer, and put a drip pan under the rack to catch the drippings from the jerky as it cures. It'll take anywhere from 12-24 hrs or longer depending on how thick you had the meat sliced. Every few hrs check on it by taking a piece, and slicing into it, you're looking for it to have that leathey beef jerky look to the outside, and be cooked completely grey on the inside, if you see any pinkness to it, it needs to cook longer. Once it's done it'll keep for along time as long as you keep moisture away from it, you can vacum pack it if you have one of those little sealer things, or just keep it in a ziploc bag. Realisticly it'll keep for several months, but if you picked a good marinade it'll be gone way before then.
Evil Marinade (this is hot, so dont use it if you dont like peppery jerky)
3tsp white pepper
1 tbsp crushed black peppercorn
3 tbsp tabasco sauce
1 tbsp worchestishire sauce
1/4 cup molassas
2 tbsp brown sugar.
Combine above in a sauce pan and heat till the molassas thins, dip the slices of meat in it and put on a plate or tray and place in the fridge overnight, then cook as above.