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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.

Best Beef Jerky

*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.

best beef jerky

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!

Two things:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!

L: Along the grain R: Against 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.

best beef jerky

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!

best beef jerky

best beef jerky

Some other appetizers and snacks you’ll love:

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best beef jerky

Best Beef Jerky

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  • Author: Katherine
  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
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Best Beef Jerky

About Katherine

Heeey! Thank you for stopping by! I like 30-minute dinners and giant peanut butter cups made with only 3 ingredients. I LOVE food! If you do too, you're in the right place.

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  1. 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!!

    1. 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!!

  2. 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!

  3. This is a very handy very good tutorial Katherine. I think its time to invest in liquid smoke! Thanks 🙂