Store-bought jerky can be expensive. These days it's cheaper just to make your own.
In fact, homemade beef jerky is much tastier than the stuff you get from the store (not to mention, healthier). And guess what...it’s easier than you think.
Today we’re going show you how to make perfect smoked beef jerky using some fantastic savory jerky recipes which will clearly be the pick of the litter.
For our demonstration, we will be using the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, but of course, you can pick any smoker of your liking. (If you don’t already own one, and are not sure which smoker to purchase, you should check out our electric smoker reviews here.)
Jerky has been a popular method for centuries, and nearly any meat can be made into jerky - but for this article, we will be primarily talking about beef.
So, without further ado, let's make some beef jerky!
Jerky is long, thin strips of meat that have been dried to prevent it from spoiling.
Jerky has been a staple for many cultures, and the earliest evidence of it was found in Egypt. Archeologists discovered that ancient Egyptians were drying mass amounts of meat (perhaps by laying strips of meat out in the sun) when they found dried foods preserved in tombs.
Meat in jerky form is not subject to decay or insect infestation and could have been stored for long periods–especially in a tomb. That's because drying meat deprives the bacteria that cause food spoilage of the moisture they need to survive.
If you're considering making some homemade beef jerky, you’ll want to keep these things in mind when shopping around for meat:
Making beef jerky in a smoker is one of the best ways to make beef jerky.
Generally, there is no adding liquid smoke, and all you need to do is let the wood infuse an intense flavor into your jerky.
Plus, making jerky in a smoker is as close to how it was done hundreds of years ago.
Tip: Fat will spoil and ruin jerky, so you'll want to pick a cut that has the least amount of fat is best.
Tip: You can skip the freezing stage and slice your jerky using a jerky slicer.
Tip: It will make a mess if you do not put a layer of protection down. You can also set a small sheet of foil above the heating element to make clean up more comfortable as well. Use a small piece of foil to allow air to easily flow from the bottom of the smoker up and out of the top.
Tip: If you soaked your strips in a “wet” marinade, do not put water in the water pan when making jerky. However, if you used a dry rub to season your meat (without any liquid), then you can put a little water or vinegar in the pan during the one 1/2hrs.
Tip: Before adding the wood chips, soak them in water for about 10-15 minutes.
Tip: If the smoke is a dense white, increase the temperature of the smoker. This white smoke can give the meat a bitter taste and ruin the jerky.
If you're wondering how long to smoke jerky, well it all depends. Sometimes it can take a total of 6-15 hours, depending on the thickness of your jerky and the brand of smoker you have. With a Masterbuilt smoker, jerky takes typically between 7-9 hours to dry.
Voila! You've just made a great batch of smoked beef jerky.
Before storing your finished jerky, you'll want to make sure it is completely dried and cooled. If not, it will give off some moisture as it cools, and you don't want any condensation in your stored jerky.
If you're going to be making lots of jerkies and you want them to last a long time, you can buy a food-grade oxygen absorber and a vacuum sealer.
When stored this way, homemade jerky will stay fresh for 1-2 months in the pantry and up to 6 months in the freezer.
If you are storing the jerky (in a cool dark place) inside a sealed container or plastic zip-top bag, it will last about one week. If stored in the refrigerator, it can last 1 to 2 weeks. Once you've opened the bag or container, the jerky should be eaten within a week.
For so long, beef jerky had a pretty bad reputation for being processed and salt-filled. However, nowadays, nutrition experts agree that homemade beef jerky can actually be a healthy snack.
Jerky recipes are especially convenient because they are compact and easy to carry. For this reason, beef jerky can be a perfect road snack and is a staple for outings like camping trips or long hikes in the mountains.
With that said, if you're looking for a snack that will keep you full for a while (and is packed with beautiful minerals like iron and zinc), these 12 savory smoked beef jerky recipes will do the trick.
So, fire up that smoker and let's begin!
This jerky is immersed in a beer, soy sauce, and a black pepper marinade, making it a tasty protein-packed snack.
1. In a mixing bowl, mix the beer, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, curing salt, garlic salt, and two tablespoons of the black pepper.
2. With a sharp knife, trim any fat off of meat and slice the beef into 1/4-inch thick slices against the grain.
3. Place the beef slices into a large resealable plastic bag. Pour marinade mixture over the beef, massaging the bag so that all the slices get coated with the marinade.
4. Now, seal the bag and refrigerate for several hours to overnight.
5. When ready to smoke, set the temperature to 180℉ on your smoker and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.
6. Remove your beef slices from the marinade and discard the marinade.
7. After discarding, dry the beef slices in paper towels then sprinkle beef slices generously on both sides with black pepper.
8. Set up the beef directly on the grill grate. Smoke for 4-5 hours or until the jerky is dry - but still chewy and somewhat flexible when you bend a piece.
9. To finish, let the jerky rest for about an hour at room temperature.
10. Press out any air from the bag and refrigerate the jerky until ready to be devoured.
1. Trim all fat from the beef, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for an hour or two to freeze.
2. While your beef is freezing, mix the soy sauce, water, cane sugar, Worcestershire, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and curing salt in a bowl or ziplock bag and stir well.
3. Now, remove the meat from the freezer and slice 1/4 inch strips against the grain.
Tip: Slice with the grain for a chewier jerky or you can skip this part and use a Jerky Slicer for even sliced pieces.
4. Add your sliced beef to the mixture and marinate for roughly 8-24 hours in the refrigerator.
5. After your beef has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and strain excess marinade.
6. Pat dry the strips with paper towels.
7. Dry with your favorite smoker at 160°F
Tip: After that 1.5 hours, fill the wood tray with soaked wood chips and bump the temperature up to 200°F. These chips can be smoked for about 45 minutes.
8. Lower the temperature back down to 160°F and leave the turkey to dry for another 4 hours, checking every so often.
9. Your jerky is done smoking when it bends and cracks but does not break in half.
1. Preheat your smoker to 225°F
2. Store the eye of round roast into your freezer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
3. While your beef is freezing, get a bowl and mix all ingredients.
4. Now take out your beef and slice across the grain into 1/4 inch thick slices. When done, place the beef slices into the marinade.
5. Marinate for 6 hours up to overnight.
6. Take out your beef slices from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
7. Place the jerky into the smoker and toss a few wood chunks onto hot coals for smoking — Cook at 225°F for 4 to 5 hours.
6. When done, remove the beef jerky from your smoker and serve directly.
Tip: sprinkle freshly shredded jalapeños on top of the jerky for an extra kick.