Zach's writing ranges from matters of gardening, cooking, aquariums, and fish to more niche topics like coin collecting.
4 Easy Homemade Beef Jerky Recipes
Besides vegetarians and vegans, relatively few people don't love a tasty snack of beef jerky. Not only is it an excellent snack, it's a great way to preserve meat and also get your essential proteins. The problem that we face today is that the jerky sold in the supermarkets is generally expensive and packed full of unhealthy additives and preservatives. How do you avoid this?
The answer is simple: Make it yourself! Making jerky at home is much cheaper and eliminates any unnecessary preservatives from the picture. If you're a "do it yourself" type of person with some extra time, my homemade beef jerky marinade recipes are sure to please!
Cuts of Meat
Many people will tell you that only certain cuts of beef should be used to make jerky. I say bah! Any cut of meat can be used, but cuts such as the eye round, sirloin, flank, and rump will be much easier to prepare. Other cuts will take a little more effort from you, as you'll have to cut out the fat so that your beef jerky doesn't become hard to chew. It really depends on how much time you want to spend.
Different Types of Meats That You Can Use
I'll admit that I actually don't use beef for my jerky. For me, it's elk meat, but for most people, this is an expensive option. I'd just like to clarify that any meat such as beef, venison, elk or even poultry will work great with my recipes!
How to Prepare the Meat
Once you've found the right cut of meat, you'll want to start off by placing it in the freezer for a couple of hours. The meat shouldn't be frozen all the way through as you're just looking to firm it up to make slicing it easier. Once your meat has firmed in the freezer, using a sharp knife, cut with the grain into 1/4 inch thick slices. Now that your meat is cut, you'll want to choose a marinade. I've included four of my favorite beef jerky marinade recipes below.
Homemade Beef Jerky Marinade Recipes
All four of these marinades are very easy to make and will properly marinate 4-5 pounds of meat.
1. Teriyaki Beef Jerky Marinade Recipe
- 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
- Juice from one orange
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed, or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
- 1/2 onion (finely chopped or 2 teaspoons onion powder)
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger (2 teaspoons ginger powder)
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
2. Simple Pepper Beef Jerky Marinade
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons mixed peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
3. Hot and Sour Beef Jerky Marinade
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed, or 2 teaspoons powder)
- 1/2 onion (finely chopped or 1 tablespoon powder)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
4. Carne Asada Beef Jerky Marinade
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- Juice from an orange
- Juice from a lime
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1/2 onion (finely chopped)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Handful of fresh cilantro
Marinating the Meat
For all the marinades above, start off by combining all ingredients into a large freezer bag and mix well. Once mixed, add your strips of meat, seal and then let it rest in your refrigerator for 12 to 48 hours. The longer you let it sit, the more intense the flavor.
Cooking/Drying Your Jerky
When it comes time to cook/dry your beef jerky, there are many different techniques that can be used. I'll take you through the process of oven drying, but smokers and dehydrators are also viable options.
Oven-Drying Beef Jerky
- Start off by turning your oven to the lowest setting. 150F is about normal for most ovens.
- Place the jerky strips onto baking racks or something that will allow for airflow beneath and around the slices of meat. Be sure to shake off any excess marinade. Do not place onto baking sheets as these do not provide the proper ventilation and will hold in moisture. Personally, I use a pizza pan that has a bunch of little holes in the bottom.
- Move the baking trays into the oven. It's important to crack the oven door open using a knife or wooden spoon so that new air is constantly being sucked in. This will greatly improve the time it takes to dry your jerky.
- It will take about 4 to 6 hours for your beef jerky to be ready to eat. I flip the jerky about once every hour to make sure that it is drying consistently. In the last couple of hours, you will want to monitor your jerky until you get the dryness you desire. Some people like their jerky with more moisture for a softer texture while others like myself like a drier Jerky for the nice chewiness. Just dry it to your preference.
- The last step to do is cool and store. For beef jerky with a higher moisture content, seal in bags and store in the refrigerator. Jerky that has had the majority of water content removed will be able to store in a cool dark place in an airtight container. The fresh jerky will last for three weeks, if you don't eat it all by then! If you need it for longer, jerky will stay good for around a year if you store it in the freezer.
That sums it up! Beef jerky is really easy to make and a great way to impress your friends. If you get good, you can even start making money with beef jerky by selling it to friends and small businesses! Remember, everyone likes a good jerky. Thanks for reading and I hope you've learned a little from my homemade beef jerky recipes!
Susie on February 05, 2020:
Thanks so much I will try these recipes. I’ve been making fresh beef Hurley now for 2 years as a labor of love for my son and his Firehouse Crew!! They live it
Jim on December 30, 2018:
Brett Barrett on January 31, 2017:
Thanks for sharing, I'm always on the lookout for more recipes for jerky, my mates and I are always trying to out do each other when it comes to jerky, I am keen to make some kangaroo jerky and camel as well!
Arlene Stevens on December 11, 2012:
Sounds great home made Jerky I'll have to try
Chelsea on December 07, 2012:
I made the teriyaki marinade and it was excellent!
Flickr on February 03, 2012:
love it, and i'm a self proclaimed vegetarian...yea right. i use to make it on my stove by leaning an oven rack against the stove pipe with a pan underneath it. worked great.
lpanfil from Cleveland, Ohio on October 18, 2011:
Yum. We have made beef jerky in the dehydrator. I think we will try the oven route. Thanks!
Heather from Ohio on October 05, 2011:
Addicted. To. Jerky. :) Voted up, interesting, useful, AND awesome! Thanks! :)
dmsintexas on September 14, 2011:
Thanks for the recipes! Do you think it is worth investing in a meat slicer for projects like this?
NormaRuth from Oregon on September 13, 2011:
Thanks Joe, I will enjoy making jerky from your recipes. The only problem... things like this just don't last long in this house!
Rosa Marchisella from Canada on September 12, 2011:
Sounds Yummy! Voted Up, useful and interesting! Thanks for sharing this with us!