How to Make Your Own Jerky

What meat, products and supplies you need to make your own delicious jerky snacks.

Jerky can be purchased in many stores and online. However, making your own jerky is easy and safe, plus you can choose exactly what goes into your own jerky, avoiding unwanted ingredients and/o`r allergens based on your family’s nutritional requirements.

Kitchen supplies needed to make your own jerky

  • Sharp kitchen knife
  • Baking pan
  • Oven
  • Large resealable plastic bag (gallon size works best)
  • Dehydrator (optional)

Food supplies needed to make your own delicious beef jerky snacks

  • Meat – preferably a lean, premium cut. Good beef choices include flank steak, strip steak, round steak, rump roast, brisket, and London broil. Beef should be ruddy red in color. Three to five pounds of beef will produce one pound of jerky.
  • Marinade ingredients (you can choose your own ingredients). Options include:
    • Vinegar
    • Brown sugar
    • Citrus juice
    • Soy sauce
    • Salt
    • Fresh ground pepper
    • Fresh garlic cloves
    • Onion powder
    • Chili powder
    • Cilantro leaves
    • Curry powder
    • Barbecue sauce
    • Yellow or Dijon mustard
    • Red wine vinegar
    • Sesame seeds
    • Oyster sauce
    • Coriander seeds
    • Any other ingredients you have on hand that might add flavor to your jerky

How to make your own beef jerky

Place your meat in the freezer for a few minutes so that it becomes frosty before you begin. This gives your meat firmness and aids in slicing the strips.

  1. Carefully trim any and all fat from the meat
  2. Remove the meat from the freezer and slice the meat into strips – lengthwise, then crosswise. Your strips should be around one fourth of an inch in thickness and one inch in length. Thinner strips result in a better jerky.
  3. At this point you may choose to pound the meat lightly to tenderize the meat by breaking up the connective tissue or you might choose to pound the meat after marinating the strips in the refrigerator for several hours.
  4. Combine the marinade ingredients you have chosen to use for your meat.
  5. Put the meat strips and marinade into the plastic bag and refrigerate it for no less than four and no more than twenty-four hours.
  6. Remove the meat strips from the refrigerator and allow the meat to come to room temperature, which may take around an hour.
  7. If using a traditional kitchen oven, spray the oven rack with non-stick cooking spray, then put the meat strips directly on the oven rack, with a shallow baking pan on the rack below to catch any drips.
  8. Bake the meat strips in a 200-degree oven for forty-five to ninety minutes. This is a large variance in time, but you will need to determine your cook time by your jerky dryness and texture preference. Some recipes state that you should cook the jerky for six to eight hours. Again, use your best judgement to determine when the jerky is done.
  9. If using a dehydrator, place the meat strips in layer in the dehydrator and turn on the dehydrator. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for using the dehydrator.