How to Make the Best Beef Jerky in the World

by A Manly Guest Contributor on November 20, 2012 · 88 comments

in Cooking, Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Tim Ferriss‘ new book, The Four Hour Chef

An Introduction to Dehydrating Food

Dehydration is all about removing water from food. Doing this helps to preserve the food (bacteria need water) and concentrate flavor. It’s a common misconception that you need heat to dehydrate food. But low humidity, not heat, is the driving force behind dehydration. Warming the air surrounding the food helps keep it dry, but if the air doesn’t move, the food will stay wet. So when dehydrating food in the kitchen, make certain that air can freely circulate around it.

Sidenote: You can achieve the same preservation of dehydration by leaving the water in food but making it unavailable to bacteria. Just add substances like sugar and salt, which bind to water molecules and lock them away. Lox (salt-cured salmon) and salted butter are safe to keep at room temperature for this reason—but unsalted butter is not!

The Best Jerky in the World

Sometimes a survival skill isn’t just about preparing for hard times. Six-time New York Times best-selling author Neil Strauss learned this while writing about apocalypse-proofing your life in his book Emergency. Yes, learning to preserve meat was useful. But learning to flavor meat was an art.

In search of the perfect marinade, he polled everyone: hard-core survivalists, friends’ grandfathers, chefs, and beyond. Then he split-tested the best and simplest recipes that didn’t require a smoker or a food dehydrator. He submerged near-identical meat slices into 2–5 containers of marinade at a time. Sometimes he tested a different brand or amount of teriyaki sauce, and other times he added a random ingredient like truffle oil or mustard. It became something of an obsession.

The following recipe is what won all the taste tests.

This recipe is intended for home cooking, not for the wilderness, but it can be adapted for the wild.

Hands-on Time

15 minutes

Total Time

15 minutes plus 24 hours for marinating and up to 24 hours for drying and cooling

Gear

  • Knife
  • Large container with lid
  • Aluminum foil
  • Wooden or plastic serving spoon

Ingredients (to make 2.3kg (5lb))

  • 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

PREP

00
Put the meat in the freezer for an hour to make slicing easier. Slice meat with the grain as thin as possible (less than 0.6 cm or 1⁄4″). If you’re lazy or not great with the knife, call the butcher ahead of time and ask him to slice 2 kg (5 lb) of lean brisket at this thickness. The leaner the meat, the better and longer-lasting the jerky.

PICKUP

00
In a large container, mix the 470 ml (2 c) soy sauce, 470 ml (2 c) Worcestershire sauce, 470 ml (2 c) teriyaki sauce, 240 ml (1 c) liquid smoke, and 120 ml (1/2 c) dark corn syrup.

01
Add the 3 T garlic powder, 3 T onion powder, 3 T sesame seeds, and 3 T brown sugar. Throw in 1 t of cayenne pepper. Add more if you like it spicy, but a little goes a long way. Note: cayenne pepper is also great for putting on a cut to stop bleeding, and it doesn’t sting.

Make sure your meat is completely submerged in the marinade.

02
Stir well, then drop your meat into the marinade. Your meat should be fully submerged.

03
Optional: Sometimes I’ll take a smaller container and play with a slightly different marinade, adding in different oils, spices, and notes (even soda, wine, or beer) to the same base marinade. I’ll add in a little of the sliced meat for a batch of experimental jerky.

04
Close or cover the container(s), then leave in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

05
Once the meat is well marinated, it’s time to dry it: Cover the bottom of your oven with aluminum foil. Things will get mess

The higher the racks are placed in the oven, the better.

06
Place the meat on the racks of your oven, one next to the other (see pic above). The higher the racks are placed in the oven, the better. If you like, you can put the meat on aluminum foil or hardware cloth.

07
Set your oven temperature to 70°C (160°F), or 80°C (180°F) if you’re in a rush. Crack open the oven door by sticking a wooden or plastic serving spoon in the top of the door. Steve Rinella uses a crunched beer can. The goal is to dry the meat but avoid cooking it.

08
Let it dry for 3 hours, then turn over the jerky. After another 3 hours, it should be done. The total time, however, is dependent on the thickness of the meat and the temperature of the oven. The jerky is done when it’s dry enough that you can rip off a piece easily, but before it snaps when you bend it.

09
Leave meat out in the air to cool. It is now ready to eat. The longer you leave it out to cool, the drier it will get. After no longer than 24 hours, store it in sealed Ziploc bags. Without refrigeration, it will be good for 4–6 months.

Have any other jerky-making tips? Share them with us in the comments!

__________________

Available now, The Four Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss isn’t just a cookbook (though, you’ll find plenty of recipes in it like this one for beef jerky). It’s a guide on how to learn anything (like cooking) as quickly as possible using a simple system Ferriss has designed to master a wide range of skills.

{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Geoffrey Kidd November 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Use a convection oven, although the “foil lining” part of the article is 100% correct. Maxim makes one which you can take down to 110-120 degrees, but either way, convection drying is a LOT faster because the air is being blown around.

2 SeanWB November 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Best post ever! Cant wait to make this. Store bought jerky is an atrocity.

3 Steven November 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I’m going to do this for Thanksgiving. It will be my manly contribution – we’ll eat it while we watch football (beats talking to my in-laws!).

4 Chris November 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm

there’s a butcher/country store in South Georgia called Striplings that makes my favorite jerky. The marinade is less soy and more black pepper. I wish I lived closer to buy some and try to replicate it.

5 Ian November 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Better than using your oven (which no matter how well you control it will cause your meat to cook), try this hack from Alton Brown…
Software:
One batch of sliced an marinated meat (follow recipe until step 04)

Hardware:
1 box fan
2 bungee cords
Cellulose-based furnace filters (available at the hardware store)

line your meat in the ridges of the furnace filter (use as many as needed) and stack the filters on top of one another. Then take an empty filter and place it on the top of the stack. Secure your filters to the fan using the bungee cords so that the fan will blow air through the filters. Turn on your fan and let the meat dry for 8-12 hours (to quote AB, “your patience will be rewarded”). When jerky is dried out, place in an air-tight container (zip-top bags have the tendency to hold moisture against the meat which will re-hydrate it) and consume at your leisure.

The only thing to note about this method, is that your living space will smell of drying meat. If that’s something you and your loved ones want to avoid, just place the fan by a window so that it’s blowing out.

6 Patrick November 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Question: How do you do this without electricity? That would be useful after the powergrid fails during the zombiepocalypse.

7 Paul Williams November 20, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Instead of putting the foil on the bottom of the oven, you can use a drying rack to hold the meat and put it on top of a sheet pan. This has the added benefit of shielding the meat from direct heat.

8 Mark Ruddick November 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm

The best meat for jerky is venison. I use a dehydrator, but the stove works just fine. For the marinade you want something that compliments the meat not smashes the original flavour into oblivion. Good jerky is hard to keep in stock between my daughter, my scouts and my friends.

9 Nick November 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm

A couple points from my own jerkying experience:
1) Brisket is pretty good, but I’ve found that top round (or bottom round) roasts tend to have less fat in inconvenient spots (I prefer leaner jerky).
2) If you maintain your kitchen knives properly there is no need to partly freeze the meet prior to slicing. Just use a good sized knife (a sharp one) and slice using the full length of the blade; don’t saw the meat.
3) In my opinion, there is a lot of needless sweet stuff in this recipe. The 470ml teriyaki sauce is probably something like 60-100g sugar already. Add the 3T brown sugar and 120ml corn syrup/molasses… if you want candy, why not just eat candy?

10 Richard White November 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Anyone have any recipes that don’t include any soy products (allergens) or corn syrup (enough has been said on this) or liquid smoke? I’m looking for a more “natural” beef jerky.

11 jonathan November 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm

alton brown doesnt use heat at all. uses cotton air conditioner filters strapped to a box fan. set to high in the garage or hanging out a window for 12 to 24 hours. worked for me.

12 Max November 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I normally like your articels but I think this ain’t the “real stuff”. BEST beef-jerky is natural or peppered. Way to many ingredients from my point of view. Greets from Germany Max

13 David November 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Call me old-fashioned, but you really don’t need to muck up your recipe with all those sweet ingredients. The best beef jerkey I’ve ever had is dry rubbed with season salt and black pepper, that’s it.

And there is simply no substitute for real smoked jerkey

14 Carlos Mora November 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm

My grampa and I used to make beef jerky… now I have another excuse to spend time with him

15 Chris November 20, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I would really be interested in reading a follow up from Creek about Jerky Making.

16 DJ November 20, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Brisket can be a little pricey. Top round or if you find it on sale, eye of round is just as lean if not leaner. Cutting the meat with the grain cannot be over emphasized. If you cut it across the grain you will end up with meat powder.

My son and I love making (and eating) jerky together.

17 the barking dog November 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm

A coworker makes jerky using ground meat and an extruder. He adds awesome flavoring like bourbon and ghost peppers. Since he works the overnight shift, when I come in in the morning and he’s brought jerky to share, I get quite a jolt to wake up.

18 Zsolt Beres November 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm

How about adding some Franks Red Hot and/or Tabasco sauce into the marinade?

19 minuteman November 20, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Eye od round is a great cut to use. Its very lean and cheaper than brisket. You want the leanest meat you can get because fat goes rancid, so the storage life will be much shorter. If you have a good butcher he will take an eye of round roast and slice it into thin pieces for you using the deli slicer. It does a beautiful job and saves a lot of work.

20 Justin November 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I work at a local grocery store in the meat department. I’d highly recommend using eye of round as it is very lean and easy to trim the small amount of fat off the one side. I actually cut meat for one of the regulars who makes and sells a lot of his own jerky. Based on his experience (and mine), I’d recommend getting to know the employees at your local butcher shop and have them cut the meat for you. They can be very helpful when trying to cook or prepare something for the first time. Also, if they cut the meat on a slicer instead of with a knife, remember to ask for it cut with the grain and ask what setting they put it on after to get a consistent slice every time. Trust me, it’s a lot easier to go in and say you want your meat cut at an 18 than by trying to show with your fingers how small you want it cut.

21 Cowboyup November 20, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Looks like a pretty decent recipe but rather than using the oven I’d suggest picking up a dehydrator for like 30-40 bucks and use that.

22 Perry November 21, 2012 at 12:25 am

You guys here at AOM always know how to brighten up my day. Keep it up!

23 Samuel November 21, 2012 at 4:07 am

Why have beef jerky when you can have biltong?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biltong

24 Redline November 21, 2012 at 7:03 am

Teriyaki flavor with a little spice is ok, but try something really good:
Hands on time: 30 minutes
turn on the gas grill or gas stove element and using tongs, fire roast two jalapenoes, one serrano, and one passilla chili until the skins are blackened. Place them in a closed or covered glass container for ten minutes. Peel your chilis.
Chop them up really small, almost to mash and add sea salt and pepper.
Squeeze in a lime, and toss in a shot of tequila and a splash of agave syrup.
Allow your meat to rest in this for three days, then jerk it.

What, you ain’t laughin yet? Maaaaan get your head right re read this, laugh your ass off, then get to making some really spicy butt kickin jerky

25 Mark November 21, 2012 at 7:13 am

Since I’m living in Mediterranean Europe I had to make my own Jerky dehydrator since no one here what beef jerky is.I made a wood cabinet with a grill and a now illegal incandescent light bulb inside.I don’t like the recipe posted here because beef jerky is not supposed to be candy,liquid smoke is not even close to the real deal,and don’t be lazy to slice fresh onion and garlic for marinade.

26 Rod Waynick November 21, 2012 at 9:15 am

This is for Patrick, who asked about not using electricity. You can hang your meat high over a campfire. The heat, smoke, and air will dry it out in a few hours.

27 Phil November 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm

@ Justin, GREAT Advice, that what I’ve been doing for 20 years. Eye of round sliced @ 25

28 Lukas November 23, 2012 at 10:22 am

You can also use a fridge to dry your meat. Thread it on a few strings and let it hang in there. I let the door open a bit, but it could be better to put a bowl with salt in, or any material which can absorb the humidity.

29 Christopher Battles November 24, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Thank you.
I will pass this on.

K, bye

30 Mark November 28, 2012 at 9:48 am

I’ve been doing jerky for years and use a large dehydrator so I can make enough to last! I look for london broil on sale as its pricey, it is already about the right width and can be sliced with or against the grain. Either way will work, the key is to dry it properly. I’ve got a kllier recipe, but its top secret, so I would have to kill you if I posted it.

31 david h November 29, 2012 at 8:37 pm

marinades are many and varied, i use simple korean bulgogi marinade, and let it rest 24 hrs, then box cure it for 5 hrs. but i do 5 lbs at a time.
my jerk box was built with plans from internet , and includes a 1/2 gallon steel bucket to use for smoke additions to jerked meats ,just place a layer of well lit charcoal lumps in bottom of bucket, then i add mesquite chips soaked in water or bourbon to 3/4 mark in bucket. you get very little added heat and about 2 hrs of decent smoke from a single loading. You can also use applewood,walnut,cherry or larch, but do not use pine(makes everything taste like pine-sol cleaner)

32 Tim December 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Homemade jerky is something I had made a mental note of to try one day, so when I saw this article I decided to give it a go. I followed the procedure with the minor deviations being 1) my oven only goes down to 170, 2) I went for the aluminum foil on each rack option because I’m lazy and didn’t want to scrub the wires after, and 3) out of habit I accidentally closed the oven door a few times, probably for a total of 20-30 minutes…

None of these seemed to make a difference, however, as the jerky came out with the right texture and delicious 6 hours later. It’ll be hard to eat store-bought again!

Next time I will definitely be trying out some of the alternative methods mentioned in the other comments, trying to do it for cheaper ($45 for all the ingredients this go-around… for a lot of jerky, mind you), and experimenting with subtler marinades (the one in the article is really tasty, but a bit more intense than I prefer).

So yeah, I highly recommend the whole getting off your butt and making jerky thing. Do it!

33 Manoj December 5, 2012 at 3:32 am

The best jerky I ever had was the South African kind…called Biltong and made from kudu meat (that’s a local wild deer)…it’s almost black and they make it traditionally by burying it underground for a few months :-)

34 Kyle December 5, 2012 at 8:05 am

I informed some coworkers today that I was going to try this. One of them said “Beef jerkey is like… … a meat rasin”. I found this extremely funny.

35 aarow December 5, 2012 at 10:55 am

If you vacuumed sealed this jerky, how long would it last?

36 Chris December 6, 2012 at 8:18 am

OK, I tried this last week. Maybe I didn’t crack my oven enough, but at 170* in convection mode, the jerky turned to a black, carbonized mess after 4.5 hours. I used eye round sliced at 1/4″ thickness.

37 Babanashe December 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I come from the biltong school. For my mix I use 1/6 salt, 1/6 brown sugar, 2/3 pepper and 2/3 coriander. Slice the meat and soak it in vinegar overnight, then take it out and try to get the liquid off the surface (so its not dripping wet) then roll it in the mix. I then hang it to dry for 48 – 72 hours (in a specially designed plastic box with a fan on the top called a Biltong King) and its ready to go.

38 Rob Robinson December 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I took an old computer fan and attached it to the base of my dehydrator and put short legs on the dehydrator and it cut my time in half. So awesome!

39 Fox December 9, 2012 at 7:58 pm

I just tried this out today. Five pound brisket and pretty much followed the directions as written with a few small tweeks to the recipe (I added Tobasco and crushed red pepper). It’s currently out of the oven and drying on the counter. After eating a few pieces it really is a good recipe but I’ll probably play around with it as mentioned by some other comments to see if I can do it for a few bucks less.

40 Chris December 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm

After my wife’s latest baked creation was far too brown far too quickly, I bought an oven thermometer, set it smack in the middle of the oven and set it at 450* for over an hour. It hovered +/- 500* for that entire hour. I hope it isn’t consistently 50* hot across the board. Thankfully with the digital control, I can adjust it down.

41 Joe December 18, 2012 at 10:36 am

My jerky cooked for a little over 6 hours total at 150 degrees, some pieces still have a slight pinkness in the middle, but they splinter when tearing.

Safe to eat or no?

42 Beth December 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm

My Waring 5 tray dehydrator has served me well for years and worth the small investment. I have part of a 5 lb batch of top round in there, now. I, too, like my jerky smoky and earthy, not sweet. I have not embarked on a true smoking, mostly because I’m not sure how to do it. I have a smoker, but probably need to wait for Spring to try it. My mixture varies, but normally includes worchestershire, liquid smoke, garlic powder, onion powder, and soy sauce. This time, I put in a bit of chipotle powder, Sriracha, a bit of honey, and a few crushed pepper flakes – got a little crazy on the ingredient count. I have found that both cutting with and against the grain works.

43 Nick Welch December 22, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Its not too late! I’m in the middle of making 14 lbs today for Christmas presents!

44 Amar December 26, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Could this work with other types of meat, like venison or bison? Curious to try it out…

45 Adam B January 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Instead of laying the strips across the grate in the oven, trying sliding a bamboo skewer through the end of the strips and then “hanging” them down between the grates (with aluminum foil or something to grab the drippings). That way you make more quicker!!

46 Micah February 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm

I feel like this recipe is better suited for a magazine in a grocery isle. I believe the art of manliness should not cut corners and use liquid smoke or teriyaki sauce. If you want it smoky, smoke it. Use real ingredients for real food…and be a real man.

47 Brad February 12, 2013 at 10:59 am

When storing the jerky I use a brown paper lunch bags. I have found the the plastic ziploc bags can cause the jerky to mold.

Also if you over cook it place slice of bread or two in the paper bag. By doing this the jerky absorbs any of the moisture in the beard.

I have found over the years of making venison jerky that these work great.

48 Greg February 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

I bought Jerky Bible book on Amazon. God, the jerky is SO good! I’ve tried several recipes for my friends. They want to buy a dehydrator so they can make their own jerky. LOL I never thought that jerky can be that good! I strongly recommend that book if you want to impress your guests.

49 Adam March 6, 2013 at 3:58 am

The way I do it seems to be even better because nothing hot touches the meat “IE the racks”. Just put skewers through the piece one end of the meat and fill the whole skewer up leaving about 1/2 inch inbetween each one. Then hang the meat through the rack and the skewers will hold them in place. I did 7lbs at once with np. 160degrees for around 6 – 8 hours or until u can bend it and it cracks, but not break. nice recipe tho.. similar to waht I use

50 Carla April 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm

I pretty much did the same thing but used a toothpick to skewer each piece and hang from the oven racks. Tin foil on the bottom and all was well! ‘

51 Pat Testing Nottingham May 5, 2013 at 10:27 am

Anyone know what I can replace liquid smoke with? You just can’t get it here in the UK

52 EM May 5, 2013 at 10:40 am

My Dad shot a bear while hunting once (defending himself and companions–not hunting bear) and we had a freezer full of bear meat. You can’t tell it from beef unless you’re a “foodie” and nobody likes them anyway. Mom made jerky from a lot of the meat and it was wonderful. I’d bring it to school and share with my friends and after they ate it and told me how much they liked it, then I’d tell them what it was. Good times…

53 Mik May 17, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Why would you use Brisket? It is very fatty relative to other meats (even if just the point of brisket), which will quickly turn rancid.
Also brisket is pretty tough until it is cooked to 180-190 degrees where the connective tissues start breaking down….which doesnt happen when drying. So I’d expect it to be really tough.

54 Adam D. May 20, 2013 at 11:19 am

Does leaving it over the fire take significantly longer in Southern states? Reason I ask is because Louisiana always has very high rates of humidity. So, if I were to do this on a camping trip would it be wise to start early?

55 SWom May 21, 2013 at 2:18 am

It can take longer in the South, yes- it’s 90% humidity in central Virginia today, & that would double my normal time. But unless you’re waiting on the breakdown of the social order it won’t matter much. Basically you’re making jerky cause jerky is good, not so your family can subsist on it during the Troubles, & a somewhat juicier jerky actually tastes better. If you want to avoid weird sugariness & fake smoke, do it Thai-style– for 3lbs london broil, use 5Tb soy sauce, 2 Tb fish sauce (enzymes help tenderise), 2 Tb whole coriander toasted & ground, 1/2c brown sugar (sugar also helps in preservation), 2 clove pounded garlic; marinate for 24 hours then either campfire smoke till done or cold smoke then oven dry. Thais then fry that mother up with a sweet chili sauce & eat it while swilling Mekhong whiskey, which just goes to show why everybody wants to go there.

56 Adam June 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I just made this and enjoyed the hell out of it. Great flavor, and I pulled any notable fat strips off the brisket pieces before drying. Thanks to my local butcher, the slices were extremely thin and it cut the drying time in half.

57 Smithhammer June 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I’ve used this recipe a couple times, and it is really good.

However, rather than storing in plastic bags (which I find can sometimes lead to mold, as there is still some moisture in the meat even after drying), it is better to put the jerky in glass jars, or in cheesecloth bags.

58 Burt June 23, 2013 at 6:08 am

I like the open fire ( I don’t know if i can spell this) –here goes! technique. this way you don’t need any LQ, smoke or any electric!!

59 mel August 4, 2013 at 10:26 pm

This is very similar to my beef jerky recipe: I spread the strips on cooling racks on top of cookie sheets.

60 SimpleGuy August 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Anyone tried a flavour wave or eascook oven set low? I am currently drying a batch… wish me luck.

61 subodh August 17, 2013 at 8:19 am

*Slice some meat
*rub some spice as u like ur jerky yo be
*hang them on top of your kitchen where u cook ur food
*should be ready in couple in couple of weeks
*old school Nepali style jerky

62 john knapp September 15, 2013 at 10:39 am

I going to try it but add some honey and a little B.Q.s. it will give a exter zing
to make it the best you had.

63 Felix September 27, 2013 at 10:26 am

What des the T in “3T garlic powder” mean? Tablespoon, teaspoon or ton?

64 Shane October 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm

@Felix

In cooking, a capitalized “T” denotes tablespoons, a lowercase “t” is teaspoons. I haven’t cooked for an entire city, so I don’t know what the symbol for ton is. :D

65 abnorm October 27, 2013 at 4:25 pm

In the process of making this….smells incredible while we are watching the Pats……..can I save marinade for another batch ?

66 MissHell November 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Been making jerky this way for awhile, and it’s always a hit. Took about 10 lbs to Burning Man one year to give away… Just salt, smoke and cayenne. I use those disposable aluminum grills, raised with spacers over cookie sheets, and keep an eagle eye on the oven. Place smells like a smokehouse for a day or two, but totally worth it.

67 Aaron S. November 14, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I do a similar recipe and actually use tofu instead of meat and it comes out great. Also, if you have a dehydrator, it works amazingly.

68 tony November 14, 2013 at 1:07 pm

any time you add brown sugar to jerky, you are making a giant mistake. It’s filler, fluff and a carb bomb you don’t need.

69 Real Jerky??? November 14, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Seriously? This ain’t manly jerky.

Do it the way our ancestors did it and the way we still do it in parts of TX.
1 – kill a deer.
2 – Cut it up.
3 – Slice lean meat thin.
4 – Marinate overnight in Worcestershire Sauce, pepper, garlic powder, salt, etc. (or just salt and pepper)
5 – Hang in your smokehouse after you get a dry cold front (or dry out with an Air Conditioner if necessary)
6 – Smoke it for 1-2 days (depending on humidity)
7 – Eat it.

70 Jim November 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Great article.

I am going to try this recipe and some of the recipes in the comments section, thanks all.

Venison jerky sounds really good. It would seem that another fine manly article would be how to clean various wild game. Just a suggestion.

71 tim_lebsack November 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I’ve made beef jerky many times. Some of what I’ve learned –
1) Commercial beef jerky is not jerky. Jerked meat is dehydrated, raw meat. Sasquatch sells dehydrated, cooked meat. The government mandates that the commercial meat hit some bureaucratic temperature to kill bugs. 2) I do not use any form of heat. Ceiling fans and box fans will spin the air in your drying room. The A/C will remove the ambient moisture. It’s slower but I prefer the uncooked product. 3)The local Mexican grocery stores sell thin sliced beef ready to be marinated. 4) Jerk the meat before you cut it into pieces. It’s much easier to rotate ten pieces of beef than fifty pieces of beef. 5) Put the beef on your spare oven and grill racks and rods hanging between chairs. Towels on the floor will soak up any dripping marinade.

72 Maurie King November 16, 2013 at 8:48 pm

I used a similar recipee but did something a bit unusual in that I used Honey Barbecue Sauce and less Worcestershire and when I dried in the oven (Fan Forced) I actually hung the meat on kebab skewers so that it hung from the rack, Tray underneath to catch the drips. Turned out well with 4 hrs @ 160 C door ajar for venting like a grill.

73 Renee November 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Can you use ground deer and make this jerky? Would you cut the recipe in half? How would I adjust the recipe? Just curious. Thanks!

74 Alex November 23, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Biltong is the way to go without cooking.

-Thinly slice your beef with the grain, flank works very well for this.
- Scorch some coriander seeds in a dry pan.
-Mix your beef strips in cider vinegar and the coriander and a pinch of salt (not too much) and put it in the fridge overnight.
-next day soak some paperclips in cider vinegar and shape into “S” like hooks.
- grab your meat and rinse it in the cider vinegar and use the clean paperclip hooks to hank it up.
- Dry it in a non-humid area maybe put a fan on it to circulate the air.
- In a couple of days you have delicious Biltong.

Look up some easy ways to make biltong, it really is easy.

75 Nick Miel December 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm

We made this as Christmas presents this year. Skipped the sesame seed and substituted red pepper for cayenne. Also, we used one brisket and one top round roast. Everybody has loved it so far. Very easy to make.

76 Doug Kendricks December 30, 2013 at 5:09 am

DOUGS DEER JERKY FOR ABOUT 20LBS OF MEAT

6 CUPS OF SOY SAUCE
2 CUPS OF WINE OPTIONAL
1/3 CUP OF SALT
8 TABLE SPOONS OF BROWN SUGAR
1 cup of Allegro marinade
1 BOTTLE OF LIQUID SMOKE
3 TABLE SPOONS OF GRANULATED GARLIC
3 TABLE SPOONS OF ONION POWDER
2 TABLE SPOONS OF ACCENT
1 CUP OF WATER
1 CUP OF VINIGER
2 TEASPOONS OF RED PEPPER FLAKES

MARANATE 20 TO 24 HOURS

77 Jesse January 6, 2014 at 11:37 am

This was a good recipe. I have 1 suggestion: after you take the meat out of the marinade, place it on paper towels. Basically lay the meat on top of each other with a paper towel between each layer, then press down on all around it to absorb the excess. The meat should have absorbed the marinade well so this shouldn’t alter the flavor. This will get rid of all the dripping marinade. It is much cleaner for the oven and dries out better.

Also, if you don’t feel like getting all the separate spices/sauces to make the marinade, I made a second batch with “Soyaki” sauce from Trader Joe’s. All I did was add some red pepper and it came out amazing. Goes for about $2.99 a bottle.

78 JMOZ January 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Does the marinade time count as curing or does this not have to be cured for some other reason.

Sorry, i am new to jerky making.

79 Bobby January 9, 2014 at 7:09 am

I’m from South Africa and although I like game “biltong” as we call it I prefer beef.
I usually buy 2kilos of 3rd grade (cheaper) rump or topside steak and sliced it into 20mm strips leaving the fat on, but trimming if excessive.
Then sprinkle the meat with salt, black pepper, ground coriander seeds and Worcestershire sauce to taste. Like you would ordinarily season your meat. I like it salty with a bite so I add more salt and pepper. I then add about 50 to 75mls of brown vinegar, mix the whole lot up and marinate it 24 hours.
Drying is easy but takes a little longer before you get a mouthful. I hang the strips up in a cool ventilated space (Use paper clips to hang the meat on wire strung up in my garage.) with a fan on it for 24 hours to dry the outside and then after a couple of days start chomping. Some of the family like it a little wet but I leave it hanging until it cracks.
Some don’t like the coriander and use garlic and chilli but I found the further north you go in SA the more coriander they use. In some places more coriander than meat. Heheh.

80 Link January 10, 2014 at 11:31 pm

This looks pretty good however I did modify the recipe a bit (used what I had on hand). I did leave out the liquid smoke as I do not plan on drying this in the over or dehydrator. I plan on smoking this tomorrow afternoon so I will get the smoke flavor that way.

Thanks

81 David January 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Trying some Datil Pepper Jerky today. Marinaded in Dat’s Nice Datil Pepper sauce.

82 BruceLa January 15, 2014 at 10:17 pm

I use a very similar recipe for my teriaki jerky.. with a few small modifications..
(1) instead of liquid smoke, I use a good cup of Ardbeg Smoky Scotch (per 3KG of Beef)
(2) add in 1 cup of maple syrup per 6kg of beef
(3) brine for 24 hours minimum
(4) 4.5 hours in my smoker with Mesquite or maple chips..
(5) optional – drizzle with “Franks Red Hot Sauce” prior to adding to the smoker..

Won the local fair 3 years in a row with this. but ,,,, it must have been the Scotch :)

83 Chris January 20, 2014 at 9:00 pm

You guys are jokes. Why are most of you spending time writing reviews for a jerky recipe that you’ve never tried?? “It sounds too sweet. Too many ingredients.” How about you actually try making it for yourself? After all, that IS what the reviews section of a recipe is for, to leave REVIEWS of the recipe after trying it.

I made it, and it is excellent. Don’t knock it until you try it.

84 Paul Mallalieu January 30, 2014 at 3:04 pm

This really is the best jerky that I have ever had. And I like my jerky. Thanks for sharing!

85 Corr Chilled February 3, 2014 at 5:44 am

I’ve never tried beef jerky, maybe I should start with this.

86 Joseph Pearson February 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm

A Bradley smoker works very well with this recipe.Great taste Thanks.

87 Ken February 9, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Salt. That’s the dominant flavor with this receipe. Is this better than store bought? Yes. It’s not bad tasting, but you have to like A LOT of salt. I also cut the liquid smoke in half and it’s also too much. I think a receipe that uses less of everything would provide more satisfaction.

I don’t think I will be making this one again because I like to taste meat in my jerky.

88 Laura February 20, 2014 at 8:13 am

BEST “jerky” is South African biltong. I tried jerky once on a visit to the States and found it too sweet, but perhaps just didn’t sample a really good jerky. Biltong is extremely popular in SA and can be purchased from all butchers and the majority of supermarkets (when it is usually vacuum sealed). Beef biltong is the most widely available, with Ostrich biltong being very popular, too. Game is often hunted primarily to make biltong (kudu being quite popular).

Biltong slicers are sold at many biltong shops and many DIY enthusiasts make their own – you’ll have to Google to see what they look like – but they are a necessary tool if you are going to make your own or purchase large pieces, which many people prefer.

Traditionally in SA biltong is cured using the following basic ingredients only – good cuts of meat, vinegar, salt, black pepper and, most importantly, crushed coriander. It is never cooked or smoked, but traditionally hung up in a cool, dry, airy place. Biltong boxes quite popular, too. Extra spices, such as chilli, are sometimes used, and even garlic – but these spices (and any others) are NOT traditional.

t is a popular and great snack food to take on a multi-day hike, and when there is a big rugby game on TV it’s ‘customary’ to also have some biltong to snack on (with the beers, for the guys).

Unfortunately, with the passage of time, it has become too expensive to eat every day, so I would understand if someone climbed a tree in order to eat his stash out of sight!! Sometimes, there are certain things that you just don’t want to share!

America and South Africa have a similar ‘pioneering’ history which necessitated the curing and preserving of food. Nice to know that there are so many in America who also have a fondness for this amazingly tasty treat. Wish I could send you all a sample of South African biltong – you will be converted.

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