Beef Jerky Recipes

Karen Frazier
Meet and beef jerky; © Eskymaks | Dreamstime.com

Beef jerky is a nutritious snack, and it's pretty easy to make. With the right recipes, you can make many types of tasty beef jerky.

Jalapeño, Cola, and Lime Jerky

Sweet and a little spicy, this jerky is flavored with spicy jalapeños and tasty cola. Use regular (not diet) cola.

Yields about eight 2-ounce servings of jerky.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cola
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 pounds lean sirloin, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan on medium-high heat, whisk together the cola, lime juice, lime zest, jalapeño, soy sauce, honey, and onion powder. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Allow the mixture to cool completely.
  3. Pour the mixture into a large zipper bag.
  4. Trim any excess fat from the sirloin and add the strips of meat to the bag with the marinade. Make sure the strips are completely covered with marinade. Seal the bag.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, and for up to three days.
  6. Continue, using the instructions below for making the jerky in the oven, a dehydrator, or smoker.

Jamaican Jerk Beef Jerky

Jerky (beef) jerky (or jerky squared) is sweet, spicy, and fragrant with the flavors of the islands. It is a lively flavoring for the dehydrated beef, and one you're sure to enjoy.

Yields about eight 2-ounce servings of jerky.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 5 habanero chilies, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 pounds lean sirloin, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch thick strips

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the ginger, garlic, chilies, onions, green onions, cilantro, allspice, cinnamon, thyme, black pepper, nutmeg, salt, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, olive oil, and soy sauce.
  2. Process until it forms a paste.
  3. Pour the paste into a large zipper bag. Add the beef strips, adding water as necessary to make the paste cover the beef completely. Seal the bag.
  4. Refrigerate for 24 hours to three days.
  5. Dry the jerky in the oven, smoker, or dehydrator as outlined below.

Mango Chili Beef Jerky

Sweet mango adds a tropical flavor to this beef jerky while habanero chili peppers bring the heat. The result is a sweet, spicy jerky with the flavor of the islands.

Yields about eight 2-ounce servings of jerky.

Ingredients

  • 2 mangos, peeled, pitted, and cut into cubes
  • 3 habanero or other hot chili peppers, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds lean sirloin, fat trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the mango, chili peppers, red onion, grated ginger, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, cumin, turmeric, soy sauce, and black pepper. Process until smooth.
  2. Pour the marinade into a large zipper bag and add the meat slices, making sure the marinade completely covers the meat.
  3. Seal the bag and refrigerate it for 24 hours to three days.
  4. Proceed with the oven, smoker, or dehydrator instructions below.

Jerky Drying Instructions

You don't need any special equipment to make beef jerky. You can make all the tasty recipes in your oven, dehydrator, or smoker, which makes it convenient to make a batch of jerky whenever you want.

Beef Jerky in the Oven

If you're using the oven, plan to make your jerky on a day when you won't be needing the oven for about 5 hours. Before starting, take the racks out of the oven and line the entire bottom of your oven with foil. To make the jerky in your oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a thermometer to ensure you maintain this temperature throughout cooking.
  2. Spray your oven racks with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Remove the beef from the marinade and pat it completely dry with paper towels.
  4. Place the beef directly on the prepared oven racks and put them in the preheated oven.
  5. Allow the jerky to stay in the oven until it is completely dry -- anywhere from 2 to 5 hours depending on the thickness of the cuts.
  6. Allow the jerky to cool on wire racks before storing.

Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator

Making jerky in a dehydrator frees up your oven if you need to use it. It also uses less power than your oven and is more likely to maintain a steady and consistent temperature throughout drying. If you plan to make beef jerky regularly, a dehydrator may just be the way to go. To make jerky in your dehydrator:

  1. Remove the meat from the marinade and blot it dry with paper towels.
  2. Put the strips of beef on the dehydrator's trays.
  3. Turn the dehydrator on to its highest setting.
  4. Allow the meat to cure until it is dry, about 4 hours.

Beef Jerky in a Smoker

For a smoky beef jerky, you can also make it in a smoker. To make the jerky in a smoker:

  1. Set your smoker to 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Use a wire brush to clean off the rack of your smoker and spray it with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels.
  4. Put the strips directly on the smoker rack.
  5. Smoke with the grill closed, checking the meat every 30 minutes or so. Remove the beef when it is dry but still flexible, 4 to 5 hours.

Storing Your Jerky

Whether you make the jerky recipes above or you try your hand at organic beef jerky, if you store it properly, your jerky will keep for up to three weeks. Store it in a tightly sealed container or zipper bag and refrigerate it. You can also freeze your jerky, tightly sealed, for up to six months.

Making Delicious Jerky

Making your own recipes of delicious jerky isn't difficult. Make a sweet, tart, and spicy marinade like those above and then use whichever cooking method you have on hand to create this healthy and fun snack.

Beef Jerky Recipes