Never buy an overpriced package of jerky again! This is the best beef jerky recipe! Savory, lightly sweetened homemade beef jerky you can make with an oven or a dehydrator.
*Please note* this post was originally published in 2017. I’ve since redone the text but the recipe remains the same.
Are you a savory or a sweet snacker? I have a hard time choosing one that I relate to the most, since I love both, but sometimes I really need that salt. Beef jerky has long been a favourite snack of mine; when it was on sale (it’s far from cheap) I would consume it by the bag over a couple of days. A little sodium never hurt anyone right? 😉
It was a few years ago that I discovered that I could actually make it at home – in the OVEN! It’s possible! And it’s not that hard. I’ll tell you how!
A little while ago, my in-laws lovingly gifted us a really awesome dehydrator, and since then we’ve had it running constantly, making apple chips, dried pineapple, fruit leathers…and beef jerky!!!
I’ve finally perfected my jerky marinade, which is what I’m sharing with you today. It makes for the BEST beef jerky!
So, read on. It’s pretty simple.
What is in the beef jerky marinade?
The ingredients of this jerky are super simple and you may even have many of these things on hand, other than the liquid smoke. I would definitely consider it necessary, as it adds that wonderful smokiness that you would expect from beef jerky!
Soy sauce, Worcestershire (I have the HARDEST time saying that word), lime juice, honey, liquid smoke (necessary), garlic powder, pepper, and some red chili flakes if you like it with a bit of a kick. The end result is a slightly salty jerky, with a touch of peppery sweetness.
I like to let my meat marinate overnight, but if you’re not willing to wait that long 4 hours is sufficient.
How do you make the best beef jerky?
Now – let’s discuss the meat!
- The cut: In my opinion, the best cut of meat by FAR is flank steak. It’s very lean and slices thin and clean. It’s one of the pricier options, so you could also go with a top/bottom round roast.
- The cutting: Slicing your meat with the grain will yield a chewier jerky that you need to tear with your teeth; slicing against the grain will create more of a tender jerky. We like ours against the grain, and it’s easier for the kids to eat too!
Wondering about the grain? If you look closely at your piece of meat you’ll see fine lines running down the length of it. That’s the grain!
Important: the biggest tip I can give you for cutting the meat is to freeze it for about 1 hour before slicing. The meat is less floppy and the cutting is much easier! Just be sure to set a reminder to take it out or you’ll end up with a frozen hunk of steak and a new problem on your hands!
If you’re using a dehydrator, the meat should be spread equally on the trays with a lot of space in between the pieces. This will ensure the meat dries faster. It takes about 5 hours at a temperature of 165 F.
How do you make jerky in the oven?
If you don’t have a dehydrator, BUY one. Haha! Kidding (sort of). If you’re into dried fruits and meat, it’s a seriously good investment. If you want to tackle the jerky in your oven, it’s actually pretty easy!
You’ll want to line your oven racks with tinfoil to help with the cleanup – the marinated jerky will have a lot of drippage and trust me, you do NOT want to spend hours cleaning up those racks. Place your jerky on top of another rack – wire cooling racks works like a charm! The jerky will take 5-6 hours in the oven, at a very low temperature (150 F).
I’m so excited to share this recipe with you guys! I posted a picture of my homemade jerky on Instagram a couple of months ago and got some great feedback, and a lot of you were keen to hear how to make it without a dehydrator. Now you know!
Happy meat-eating, friends!
Some other appetizers and snacks you’ll love:Print
Best Beef Jerky
- Total Time: 24 hours
- Yield: 30-35 pieces 1x
Never buy an overpriced package of jerky again! This is the best beef jerky recipe! Savory, lightly sweetened homemade beef jerky you can make with an oven!
- 2 lbs flank stank (or top/bottom roast)*
- 1/2 cup soy sauce (I use low-sodium)
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- optional: 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- Freeze the meat 1 hour prior to slicing. Remove the meat, place on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, slice the meat (against or along the grain)** in 1/8″ to 1/4″ pieces – be as consistent as possible! Trim all large pieces of fat from the meat.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients together. Pour the marinade into a large Ziploc freezer bag, and place the meat in along with the marinade. From the outside of the bag, massage the marinade into the meat and place the bag in the fridge for 4 – 24 hours.
- For oven directions, see the post above. For use with a dehydrator, line the meat onto the trays in a single layer; the meat will dry faster if you spread it out over more trays. Turn your dehydrator up to 160/165 F and dry the meat until it is firm and slightly bendable (about 5-6 hours). Cooking time will vary based on the strength of your dehydrator!
Jerky can be stored in the fridge for 5-6 weeks (in an airtight container) and in the freezer for up to 2 months. I like to keep the jerky in a paper bag for day snacks!
*See my post above for the reasons why I like flank steak!
**See pictures and notes in post above for the reasons to slice with or against the grain.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 6 hours
- Category: snacks
- Method: dehydate
- Cuisine: american
Keywords: best beef jerky recipe // homemade beef jerky // best beef for jerky
Whoa. I totally never would have thought to make beef jerky at home! And I definitely wouldn’t have thought it’s possible without a dehydrator (which I don’t have but now think I need). This is awesome, Katherine! Have a great weekend my friend!
You definitely need a dehydrator!! You can make all sorts of fun things – fruit leathers, dried herbs, you name it!! Hope you’re having a lovely weekend too dear!!
Homemade jerky??? You are so talented Kathy!!! One awesome post after the other, you are killing it dear:)
You are so very sweet Maria!!! Thank you!!
Whoa! That looks excellent Katherine! Those bundles are awesomely classy looking too! I’ve never had home-made jerky, sad to say! Now I know the recipe to use when i do. Pinning! Have a wonderful weekend!!
Ah thanks Kim! I appreciate you appreciating my jerky bundles 🙂 You really must try it!! Soon!! Cheers my friend!
Oh my gosh Katherine! My husband loves beef jerky! I definitely need to make this recipe. And so nice to have the option to make it in the oven!
My husband loves jerky too, Leanne!! I had to beat him off with a stick so I could take photos of it haha. I hope you guys love it!!
I love beef jerky! It reminds me of road trips…I could never stop at a gas station and grab an (expensive) bag of beef jerky. But now I can make my own! Yummy!!
Totally!! I’ve bought my fair share of gas station jerky!! I hope this recipe serves you well!! It’ll definitely make your wallet happy 😉 Thanks Kelly!!
I haven’t had beef jerky for a couple of years (And indeed I’ve tried it just a few times in my life – it’s too chewy and I’m too old for this kind of snacks haha). Anyway, this looks FABULOUS. I would have never though you can make it at home. Well, maybe one day I’ll get it a try – it’s so inviting 😉
Hahah oh Ben, unless you have dentures you’re never too old for jerky!! I think it’s high time you give it a try again!! Thank you so much, I hope you’re having a fantastic weekend!!
I didn’t expect beef jerky would be so easy to make. In our place, we call it “Beef Tapa” and we don’t eat it as a snack. We usually pair it with rice.
How intriguing! I could definitely see this as something you’d eat with rice. Yum!
All I can say is my son will absolutely love this!!
Hooray! I feel that most meat-eaters love jerky 😉 Hope you get a chance to make it for him!
I love either a sweet or savory snack, but probably lean more towards savory too. I’ve never made homemade beef jerky before, but hubby has and he does in the oven too. My father makes it in a dehydrator. Funny story – when hubby and I were just in Montreal, my parents baby (er…puppy) sat for us and our fur baby fell in love with beef jerky (like, why wouldn’t he, right?) My father had to make a batch just for him, lol. Spoiled, I tells ya! I have got to try your version and love the little bundles you have (so perfect for gifting during the holidays). Pinned! P.S. I have such a hard time saying Worcestershire too 😉
Dawn – that is SO cute!! I love that he made a special batch just for him, haha. He obviously adores his grand-puppy!! I so love spoiling pets!! You will have to make some for him too, otherwise he’ll go into withdrawal 😉 Thanks lady! Hope you’re having a great week XO
I’m more of a savory snacker… I think being allergic to cocoa kind of ruined a sweet tooth for me. But my husband is a savory and sweet snacker, and you know what?! He is OBSESSED with beef jerky! Well, he goes through phases where he will eat a creepy amount of jerky and then take a break from it, and then repeat. Needless to say I NEED to make this for him! Maybe he will actually let me have control over the TV remote. lol. Cheers, dear!
Aah yes an allergy to cocoa would spoil a lot of sweet things wouldn’t it!? I go through the same phases as your husband – I eat pretty much 2 full roasts worth and then think hmmm maybe I shouldn’t be eating so much meat. And salt. Haha! You definitely have to make this for him – it’s a great tool to get some wins over the husband 😉 Have a great week Chey!
I am making this immediately! Jerky is my absolute favorite snack for outdoor exercise: hiking/biking in the summer and skiing in the winter. We buy it from our butcher and it’s good, but so expensive. I don’t have a dehydrator so have never made my own, but with your oven version I’m set! Thank you!!
Hooray! I hope you love it. It’s such a great snack for those outdoor activities. Talking about this makes me want to go hiking with a big stack of jerky!! You must try it and let me know!!
That’s an awesome recipe Kathy! The oven does most of the job for creating this delicious meat snack! My dad is going to love this!
Hooray! I hope he does!! The oven is an excellent option – thanks friend!
This is a very handy very good tutorial Katherine. I think its time to invest in liquid smoke! Thanks 🙂
Hooray! Glad you think so Jenny. Liquid smoke is a must!! 🙂
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