Beef Jerky Recipe: A Homemade Dehydrated Treat

Learn How to Make this Convenient Snack for On-The-Go

by Stephanie Thurow
PHOTO: Photo by Fabio Balbi

A good beef jerky recipe makes a convenient snack to grab on the go. It makes an ideal food to take along fishing, hunting or when going out on a hike. It’s packed with protein and flavor and is lightweight to carry along. One pound of meat dries to just four ounces after dehydration. Because jerky is packed with protein, it’s a great option to fuel the body and is a wonderful treat to bring along when camping.

You can make jerky out of many different types of meat, including fish, chicken, buffalo, and venison. But my favorite jerky is beef jerky.

The process of making beef jerky is fairly simple. It requires thinly sliced beef to marinate for a period of time (this flavors and tenderizes the meat) and then dried either using a food dehydrator or an oven.

It’s important to use a lean cut of beef, ideally top-round or bottom-round beef.

How to Make Beef Jerky

Yield: 1/4 pound of dehydrated beef jerky


1-pound lean beef, such as top round or bottom round

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Beef Jerky Marinade:

1/2 cup Braggs Amino Acids
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. ground garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. ground black pepper

Before Drying:

Optional: Sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes and garlic powder over marinated meat before dehydrating.

A Pile of Hot and Spicy Beef Jerky with Red Pepper Flakes. Photo by pamela_d_mcadams.

Beef Jerky – A Two-Part Recipe

Part 1: Slice and Marinate Beef

In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients.

Slice meat across the grain, into long, ¼-inch thick strips. Trim away any fat from it, as fat can cause the jerky to spoil faster and also may cause an off taste.

Place the meat into a large gallon-sized resealable bag and pour the marinade ingredients over the meat until it’s completely submerged. Tightly seal up the bag and place it into a bowl to collect any marinade droppings that may leak from the bag.

Allow the meat to marinate 12-24 hours.

Part 2: Heat and Dry Beef Jerky

The USDA recommends beef jerky be heated to 160°F to ensure its safety. Heating to the noted temperature before drying will guarantee that any bacteria present will be destroyed. If your food dehydrator does reach 160°F, you can skip the next step and dehydrate the beef at 160°F.

If you do not have a food dehydrator that reaches 160°F, pour the meat and marinade into a medium-sized saucepan and warm until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.

Heat oven or food dehydrator to 130 -140°F (or 160°F if you skipped the previous step).

Remove the meat strips from the marinade and allow the excess marinade to drip away.

Place the beef strips on a dehydrator rack or baking sheet. Space them so that none of the pieces are touching. Dab away any marinade droplets with a paper towel. Sprinkle the meat with more garlic powder and/or crushed red pepper flakes, if you so desire.

Cook for a minimum of 6 hours. The jerky is done when you can bend in half and it cracks, not breaks. You don’t want to dry it until it snaps, if it snaps, it is overly dried and will be hard to chew. If it is very rubbery, it’s not completely dried yet – allow it to dry another 30 minutes and check again. The smaller pieces will dry faster and can be removed from the dehydrator/oven while the rest continue to cook.

Store in an airtight container and keep what you aren’t eating refrigerated for longer storage. Enjoy within one month. Or freeze jerky in an airtight container. If frozen properly, ideally vacuum sealed, jerky will last years.

Additional Notes for Making Beef Jerky:

Foodborne illnesses are completely avoidable. Always wash your hands, prep space and cooking utensils before beginning to preserve food.

Do not reuse the marinade.

If you don’t want to slice the meat yourself, ask the butcher at the meat counter to do it for you.

This beef jerky recipe article was written for Hobby Farms magazine online. Click here to subscribe to Hobby Farms magazine.

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