My wife and I love beef jerky. ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!
So we decided to find out how we can make it. You’re going to LOVE what we found.
What you’ll get below:
- How to make delicious jerky — no extra equipment or dehydrators needed!
- Cuts of meat that will make the most delicious jerky and be easiest on the wallet.
- Three very tasty jerky and marinade recipes.
- Meat, prep, and storage suggestions to keep your jerky tasting its best.
Benefits of making jerky at home:
- No preservatives or additives
- High in protein
- Low in fat
- Stores/keeps well
- Easy to pack and travel with
- Can flavor it to whatever your liking
- Tastes great!
Each of the recipes below has their own recommendation for cooking temps, times, and how long the finished jerky will stay without spoiling (from days to over a year). Use your good judgment.
Let’s get to it!
How To Make Beef Jerky
I was surprised by how EASY it is to make!
Easy, but NOT fast.
Instead of a dehydrator, these recipes call for drying your beef jerky in your household oven, usually with the door propped open a little to let moisture escape.
Cooking times vary.
Drier meat will stay fresh and tasty longer, but the drier you make it the rougher the jerky. It’s up to you what you like.
There’s a great book described by one Amazon reviewer as “the only book on the subject I need.”
Jerky: Make Your Own Delicious Jerky And Jerky Dishes Using Beef, Venison, Fish, Or Fowl by A.D. Livingston
Mr. Livingston has also written about smoking, salt curing, making sausage, and a lot more! Definitely check him out!
Time to experiment with flavors, cooking times, and types of jerky.
And it all starts with the meat.
STEP ONE – choose your jerky meat.
- Must be lean; fat makes meat spoil faster and doesn’t “dry.”
- Get your butcher in on your plans and ask him/her to trim the fat
- Does NOT need to be expensive steak!
And if only beef is your thing, we can avoid the more expensive cuts — it’ll make for better jerky.
- Strip steak
- Flank steak
- Top eye of round
- Bottom round
- Skirt steak
- Venison backstrap
Other jerky worthy meats:
- And even salmon!
Whatever you pick, once you get it home remove any of the fat from around the edges. You want this meat as lean as possible.
Then toss it in your freezer for at least 30 minutes. This will make cutting it easier.
STEP 2 – cut it into strips
The size of your strips depends on what you want your finished jerky to be like. Thick or thin, long or short, you choose.
The dried, finished jerky will only be about 1/3 to 1/4 the size of what you start with, so it’s a good idea to start with pieces that are big enough to shrink.
If you have specific travel, packing, or storage plans in mind, now’s the time to consider what size you want your finished jerky.
STEP 3 – marinade time
Here’s where it gets interesting.
Below are three insanely good recipes. Each has its own suggestions for the best way to prepare and cook your jerky.
From AllRecipes, Doc’s Best Beef Jerky:
(makes 10 servings)
- 2 pounds beef round steak, cut into thin strips
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon meat tenderizer
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
Instructions for preparing this marinade, jerky cooking, and storage can be found at AllRecipes Doc’s Best Beef Jerky
From The Food Network, and his TV show Good Eats, Alton Brown’s Beef Jerky:
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak
- 2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Instructions for preparing this marinade, jerky cooking, and storage can be found at Alton Brown’s Beef Jerky
From The Art of Manliness, How To Make The Best Beef Jerky In The World:
- 2 kg (5 lb) lean brisket
- 470 ml (2 c) Kikkoman soy sauce
- 470 ml (2 c) Worcestershire sauce (Neil likes Lea & Perrins)
- 470 ml (2 c) thick, flavorful teriyaki sauce (Kikkoman Takumi Garlic & Green Onion or, Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki)
- 240 ml (1 c) liquid smoke (it’s not always easy to find, so any brand will do)
- 120 ml (1/2 c) Karo dark corn syrup (you can also try blackstrap molasses)
- 3T garlic powder
- 3T onion powder
- 3T sesame seeds
- 3T brown sugar
- 1t cayenne pepper
Instructions for preparing this marinade, jerky cooking, and storage can be found at How To Make The Best Beef Jerky In The World
STEP 4 – Drying Your Beef Jerky
The goal is to dry your meat, not cook it.
Depending on the recipe you choose, drying times will vary.
Set your oven to low heat, at about 180 degrees.
Put your meat onto the racks in your oven. You might want to put some aluminum foil under them because that marinade is going to drip and make one heck of a mess!
Leave the oven door open a crack, to let the moisture and some of the heat escape. Remember, we’re not trying to “cook” the meat, but only to dry it.
Drying time depends on the meat thickness, cut of meat, amount of moisture in the meat, and your oven. But plan on several (yes several) hours of drying time.
You’ll know your beef jerky is done when it’s dry to the touch, can bend a little bit without snapping in half, and can be torn apart pretty easily.
Here’s a great video showing all the steps.
Hope you’ve enjoyed these recipes.
Do you have a favorite recipe? Share it in the comments below.
Maybe your recipe can be someone else favorite too!