How to Make Beef Jerky

Our founder Wally inspecting a slab of beef

Mahogany Smoked Meats founder Wally inspecting a slab of beef

Have you ever thought about making delicious, flavor-packed jerky in your own kitchen? This savory snack is high in protein, making it the perfect on-the-go fare, and using a variety of flavors, you can easily whip up a batch for your next party, campout or road trip.

The trick to making your own jerky is baking the meat on low heat for three to four hours. That’s how you get that perfect dry texture — not rubbery, but still chewy. You also want to make sure you use lean cuts of meat.

Whether you’re going with everyone’s favorite beef jerky, or you’re trying something different, like elk or venison, the first thing you want to do is choose a marinade. A simple-yet-tasty recipe combines the following:

  • 3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Keep in mind, these ingredients are just a guide. Get creative and mix and match your favorite flavors. If you want a sweeter taste, increase the amount of honey, or if you want to add some more kick, try some cayenne pepper. Teriyaki sauce is another ingredient commonly used in jerky marinades, so use your imagination and have some fun.

We recommend marinating 2 pounds of thinly sliced beef top round in the refrigerator for at least three hours or as long as overnight. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack on top of the foil. Discard the marinade and soak the meat with paper towels to remove any additional liquid. Arrange the strips in one layer on the wire rack and bake until the meat reaches the desired texture — between three and four hours.

Making your own beef jerky is an easy way to have a delicious and nutritious snack on hand at all times.

This recipe was adapted from this original recipe.