How to make jerky

These dehydrator jerky recipes can be made with any lean red meat like beef, lamb, goat, venison, moose, or elk.  Beef is the most common choice but other red meats can be used successfully.  Once you master the skill of making jerky you will be able to store meat at room temperature, adding to your food preservation skills and improving the variety in your food storage.

Jerky is the ideal food for summer hiking, car trips, and trips to the park.  It is nutritious and low in sugar.  The additional salt reduces dehydration and exhaustion. It stays fresh without refrigeration.  It won’t melt at high temperatures.  For the best flavor though, store it in the fridge till you are ready to travel.  It won’t stay fresh for long if kept stored in a hot car.

There are advantages to curing and smoking your own meat. Don’t be intimidated by the thought of preserving raw meat without refrigeration.  Jerky is easy to make at home if you have the right dehydrator and safe for adults and children provided clean food handling rules are followed in preparing it.

3 dehydrator beef jerky recipes

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Choosing a dehydrator for making jerky

The dehydrator you choose to make jerky in must have

  • A fan
  • A temperature of 160 F.

If the temperature in your dehydrator doesn’t reach 160 F. don’t use it to make jerky.  The temperature won’t be high enough to ensure a safe final product.

Jerky can be made in a convection oven if the temperature of your oven can be maintained at 160 F.

Beef jerky

Making safe jerky at home

Shelle Wells, author of the Prepper’s Dehydrator Handbook, Long Term Food Storage Techniques for Nutritious, Delicious, Lifesaving Meals (Ulysses Press, 2018), suggests this procedure for ensuring a safe jerky product from your home dehydrator.

  • Follow safe meat handling procedures
  • Wash your hands
  • Use clean utensils
  • Never cross contaminate different batches of meat by using the same cutting board and tongs.
  • Thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the counter top
  • Keep meat below 40F in the fridge or freezer until ready to use
  • Dehydrate at temperatures above 160 F to hold the meat at a safe temperature while drying
  • Pre-Soak meat in white vinegar for 10 minutes before marinating to reduce surface bacteria
  • Post-treat jerky in a 275F oven for 10 minutes after drying, to further reduce and foodborne bacteria
  • Brine meat for 4 to 6 hours or overnight before dehydrating

Doneness test for jerky

Jerky is done when:

  • It is dry to the touch
  • There is no coolness to the piece
  • The jerky is a uniform temperature all along the piece with no cold spots
  • A piece cracks when you bend it
  • It will leave strands but doesn’t snap in two
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3 Beef Dehydrator Jerky Recipes that You Can Make At Home

The following beef jerky recipes are for 2 pounds of beef steak, sliced into ¼ thickness, and presoaked for 10 minutes in 5% strength white vinegar to reduce bacterial contamination.  Then drained.

The ideal beef steak to use is a marinating steak that is 1 to 1 ½ inches thick with low fat, to reduce waste.

Smoked salt gives the jerky a smoky flavor without the need for a smoker.  It can be purchased on Amazon.

Print

The following beef jerky recipes are for 2 pounds of beef steak, sliced into ¼ thickness, and presoaked for 10 minutes in 5% strength white vinegar to reduce bacterial contamination.  Then drained.

The ideal beef steak to use is a marinating steak that is 1 to 1 ½ inches thick with low fat, to reduce waste.

Smoked salt gives the jerky a smoky flavor without the need for a smoker.

  • Author: Joybilee Farm
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 to 12 hours
  • Total Time: -25729494.6 minute
  • Yield: 8 1/2 ounces
  • Category: Dehydrator Recipes
  • ¼ cup Bragg’s Liquid Soy Seasoning (gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
  • ½ teaspoon hickory smoked salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, dried
  • ½ cup kombucha, vinegary older brew
  • ½ cup rosemary infused white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup fire cider (cider vinegar infused with hot pepper, horseradish, ginger, onions, garlic, lemon peel)
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon chili-lime salt
  • ½ teaspoon apple wood smoked salt
  • 2/3 cup Bragg’s Liquid Soy Seasoning (gluten free)
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Mix all the ingredients together until the salt is dissolved in the liquid.
  • Place prepared jerky meat in a glass container with a tight fitting lid.  Pour the marinade over the jerky in the container.  Ensure that the meat is fully covered.  Add more water if necessary to completely cover the meat.  Place the meat in the container in a refrigerator for 4 hour or overnight.
  • Drain the meat from the marinade, discarding the marinade.  Place the meat evenly on dehydrator trays and dry at 160F for 4 to 6 hours until jerky tests done.
  • Place the jerky in a 275 F oven for 10 minutes to kill any pathogens on the meat.  Cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Classic Beef Dehydrator Jerky Recipes

This recipe is adapted from the recipe on page 149 of Shelle Wells book, Prepper’s Dehydrator Handbook.  Each of the following 3 dehydrator jerky recipes yields  8 to 9 ounces of beef jerky from 2 pounds of raw beef steak, depending on how much waste you need to cut off from the steak.

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Begin each recipe by slicing and briefly soaking the jerky slices in white vinegar to reduce any bacterial contamination on the surface of the meat. Soak the meat for 10 minutes, drain, and then proceed with the recipe.

 

Beef Brine Marinade

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup Bragg’s Liquid Soy Seasoning (gluten-free)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
  • ½ teaspoon hickory smoked salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, dried

Directions:

  • Mix all the ingredients together until the salt is dissolved in the liquid.
  • Place prepared jerky meat in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid.  Pour the marinade over the jerky in the container.  Ensure that the meat is fully covered.  Add more water if necessary to completely cover the meat.  Place the meat in the container in a refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
  • Drain the meat from the marinade, discarding the marinade.  Place the meat evenly on dehydrator trays and dry at 160F for 4 to 6 hours until jerky tests done.
  • Place the jerky in a 275F oven for 10 minutes to kill any pathogens on the meat.  Cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Probiotic Chili Lime Beef Dehydrator Jerky Recipes

This is a mild tasting jerky with warm but with a little bite.  If you like your jerky hotter, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes or cayenne pepper powder to the marinade ingredients.

Beef Brine Marinade

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Mix all the ingredients together until the salt is dissolved in the liquid.
  • Place prepared jerky meat in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid.  Pour the marinade over the jerky in the container.  Ensure that the meat is fully covered.  Add more water if necessary to completely cover the meat.  Place the meat in the container in a refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
  • Drain the meat from the marinade, discarding the marinade.  Place the meat evenly on dehydrator trays and dry at 160F for 4 to 6 hours until jerky tests done.
  • Place the jerky in a 275F oven for 10 minutes to kill any pathogens on the meat.  Cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Gluten-free Teriyaki Beef Dehydrator Jerky Recipes

This recipe is adapted from the recipe on page 149 of Shelle Wells book, Prepper’s Dehydrator Handbook.

Beef Brine Marinade

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Bragg’s Liquid Soy Seasoning (gluten-free)
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  • Mix all the ingredients together until the salt is dissolved in the liquid.
  • Place prepared jerky meat in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid.  Pour the marinade over the jerky in the container.  Ensure that the meat is fully covered.  Add more water if necessary to completely cover the meat.  Place the meat in the container in a refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
  • Drain the meat from the marinade, discarding the marinade.  Place the meat evenly on dehydrator trays and dry at 160F for 4 to 6 hours until jerky tests done.
  • Place the jerky in a 275 F oven for 10 minutes to kill any pathogens on the meat.  Cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.
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One drawback

The book was printed with a paler font than usual.  This can make the book difficult to read in some light for people with weaker eyes.  If that’s you, you may prefer the Kindle edition of the book so that you can adjust the darkness of the print and the size of the letters as you read.  I personally didn’t have any trouble reading the font although it was lighter than I was expecting.  I use 1.5 x reading glasses for fine print.

I didn’t think the lighter font was a deal breaker though.  The book is full of very good information that I think will enhance your use of the dehydrator that you have now, save you money, and give you better meals from your food storage.  That will repay you the cost of the book many times over.

Shelle Wells and Chris

Who is Shelle?

I met Shelle Wells in person in Phoenix in 2017.  You can listen to my interview with her here, where we talk about the incident that prompted her to start prepping as a single mom, and the journey from prepping to homesteading.  Shelle is the founder of Preparedness Mama, Rockin’ W. Homestead, and Rootsy.org.  Shelle has a unique take on the prepping/homesteading lifestyle that shines through in her new book The Prepper’s Dehydrator Handbook.  If your dehydrator is sitting in the cupboard unused, this book will help you get the most use out of it, save you money, and help reduce food waste.  It might even solve that problem of what to pack in the car on your next errand day.

How to Make Marinated Beef Jerky

Using a manufacturer’s blends according to their directions will produce a great jerky but I like having control and being able to add flavor variations to my jerky.

For this batch I ditched the cure and seasoning packets and went with a jerky marinade with an Asian flair.

Beef Jerky Marinade

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Sriracha chili garlic sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly ginger paste

I sliced up two pounds of beef and let it soak in the marinade overnight.

The next day it was given the high heat treatment and then dehydrated.

The heat was pretty mild but the ginger really popped in the final product!

Marinated Beef Jerky

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