Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Homemade Beef Jerky – A Real Convenient Store

Until recently, beef jerky was a late night, convenience store impulse buy, and what was in it was the least of your worries at that hour. I’ve had beef jerky where MSG was the most nutritious thing in it, but times have changed. 

Thanks to a new wave of modern day cave-people, eating healthy, high-protein snacks is all the rage, and while you can find many artisan brands out there, making your own is fun, easy, and using this method, relatively quick. 

You can get great flavor with as little as a 3-hour marination, but feel free to go as long as 24-hours. I did half a batch using both methods, and I actually prefer the shorter period, which seems to produce a beefier jerky. Michele on the other hand, liked the longer method, and its spicier, slightly saltier taste.

You can use any lean cut of beef you want, but I think top round is a great choice, as I explain in the video. Whatever you decide to use, please do yourself a favor, and have the butcher cut it for you. Nice thin, even slices are key, so the meat dries evenly. Just tell the butcher you are making jerky, and they’ll know what to do. I hope you give this beef jerky recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 6 (2-oz) portions Beef Jerky:
2 pounds thinly sliced beef top round
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 rounded tablespoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 generous tablespoon honey
- Marinate for 3 hours or more.
- Bake at 175 F. for 3-4 hours or until dry and leathery

63 comments:

Brian said...

Hi Chef Jon! I'm currently trying to cut down my sugar intake, and I was wondering if it was necessary for a sweet element to be added (like the honey), or if I can just skip it. Thanks!

Matthew said...

Thank you for this, Chef John.

One question as a by the by, in the air tight container, on the pantry shelf, how long would you say it would last?

NoUseForAName said...

Hey CJ! This is great.
How about in a convection oven? Would that save the need to open the oven? If we use one, is it at the same temp?

Stefano Bart said...

Can i use beef stock with msg added instead of soy sauce?

Richard Carey said...

Can we get a thickness on the beef to tell our butcher? I go to a place that is not a grocery store, a real butcher, so I would love to tell him what to put his slicer machine on. Thanks!

Richard Carey said...

Is there a precise thickness for the beef? My butcher is great, not in a grocery store, so I would love to tell him what to set the machine at. Thanks!

Unknown said...

This looks amazing! Just wondering if you've ever heard of/tried bak kwa. It's similar to jerky, but with a caramelized exterior, and it's done over a charcoal fire to impart more smokiness.

If you haven't you really should!

http://ieatishootipost.sg/kim-joo-guan-bak-kua-bak-kwa-101/

Steven Macks said...

Any recommendation if my oven doesn't go as low as 175? I think mine bottoms out at 200. I can crack the door slightly, but it seems unlikely I'd manage a consistent 175 with that approach.

Chef John said...

Stefano Bart, no.

Chef John said...

Sure if you have an oven even better! Nothing matters except that the beef eventually dries out, and that it stays at a temperature over 140 long enough to kill anything bad.

Chef John said...

The exact thickness doesn't matter as much as uniformity does, since anything sliced between a 1/8th and 1/4 inch will work. If you have some slices that are thicker or not uniform, you can always pound it a little bit so that it's more even.

Chef John said...

200 should work, and just turn it off once a while, and leave the door closed, and then turn it back on for a while until it's dry.

Chef John said...

Of course you can leave out the honey, but I think it's important to help keep the final product soft and chewy enough to eat, plus it balances the flavor. Besides there's no way that small amount of honey would do any harm to anyone, in my opinion.

Azi said...

What a great idea for the snacking carnivore!
Since I buy my bees at Cosco, do you think I can partially freeze it and then slice it with a mandolin or a disk in the food processor?
Also, Should I use the turbo option in my oven or just regular bake?
Thanks!

Erica said...

I checked my butcher's online list of meats and it doesn't have the top round cut your recommended listed. If when I get there in person they don't carry that cut, what other cut should I be prepared to ask for? (I know nothing about meat).

Michael DePew said...

Thanks for doing this Chef John! Another Food Wish come true.

inchrisin said...

Awesome job, as always, Chef John. Thank you.

I've had great success with using pork loin and having the butcher run it through the meat slicer at just under 1/4" in thickness. I usually use an Asian style marinade. If I do this, I use hickory liquid smoke as well. If I do a traditional style marinade, then I use mesquite liquid smoke. Both come out good, but the Asian style sings with hickory and the traditional sings with mesquite.

Chef John said...

Literally every butcher will have top round!

Matthew said...

John first off I'm a huge huge huge fan! My girlfriend and I love your vids and we've recently started a routine of making one of your dishes once or twice a week. Please never stop makin vids man!

To my question: can you venture a guess as to how long this will keep in an airtight jar like the one you used? I watched the same Good Eats episode you alluded to, and I recall Alton saying this can be eaten almost indefinitely if properly stored.

Homeschool Mom n AU said...

Should I leave the door cracked on a convection oven? Thanks! M Pitman

Chef John said...

Not sure about leaving it cracked, but I would occasionally open the door no matter what oven I was using.

Chef John said...

Azi, neither of those things will cut the meat effectively. Go to a real butcher! Also, I don't know what Turbo means, but since you're trying to go very low and slow, it doesn't sound like a great option.

SS4Kokoro said...

Do you have a method for beef jerky that has an almost crunchy aspect to it? Don't get me wrong, chewy beef jerky is great too; but for those like my grandmother who have sensitive teeth, I'd like her to be able to enjoy a crunchy beef jerky so that her teeth can handle it. I would appreciate your help on this.

Chef John said...

Sorry, no crunchy jerky recipes that I know of.

Chef John said...

For those asking, I can't give exact shelf life, other than to say it lasts "a long time." It will be long gone before you have to worry about it.

mattjeast said...

Is there anything possible that could replace the soy sauce? A combo of additional Worcestershire sauce/water/beef stock/salt? Trying to make a gluten free option for the misses.

Chef John said...

I know they make GF soy sauce. Think it's sold as tamari.

Azi said...

by turbo I meant the oven mode that adds a fan to the regular bake mode and reduces the temp by 25 degrees. (For some reason the term escapes me right now... Ahh the fun of older age ...)

Tom Tison said...

Azi,

Sounds like a form of convection. You should just use regular bake oven mode

Chris K. said...

I remember Alton Brown dehydrating beef jerky with a big box fan, a stack of HVAC air filters, and some shock cords. He said one of the filters accidentally ended up in his AC unit, and the whole house smelled like beef jerky for weeks.

Yeah. Think I'll try the oven method instead.

PhillyBear said...

I have never really been a fan of beef jerky, but I am 100% positive that I am going to make this! Thanks, Chef John

Greg Reynolds said...

Chef John

The butcher cut my meat into thing little strips. Is this ok?

Salvatore Scotto said...

Could you try making a dutch crunch bread?I'm going to try out this jerky recipe this weekend, I'm very excited!

Richard Conway said...

If you have a convention oven the best method is to set it at convection bake at 140-155 degrees and prop your even door open with a wooden spoon so its just cracked. some convection ovens have a setting called dehydrate and my ovens owner manual suggest this method with the spoon. a low heat while drying out helps with a better product

Scott Casey said...

I asked my butcher for thin top round, really thin and he made two pounds that looked exactly like the video. So, don't worry so much about it, just ask the butcher, he knows.
It's in the oven now, so only time will tell how good it will be.

ethiopia said...

Hi Chef John, made your Beef Jerky recipe and my family went nuts over it! Even my butcher was psyched when I asked for the thin cut beef. Thanks so much for this recipe (my kids already asked me to make it again) and all your great vids! Mark

Frank Drebin said...

Chef John, awesome recipe!

As I was catching the great aroma of the marinade, I thought if I could thicken the consistency of the marinade, this could be a great steak or burger sauce.

Any suggestions on how to thickening the marinade to make a sauce?

SS4Kokoro said...

I'm not talking crunchy like a cracker of sorts. I'm just saying not chewy (or at least not tough to chew). I think firm might be a better term than crunchy in this case?

Stephen said...

I made this as soon as it was posted. Mine cooked 4+ hours at 175F. As the BBQ Boys would say its guuuddddd.. 5 star....

Mark Felty said...

I'm going to open the oven door, and count "One basmati, two basmati.."

Kyle Moschini said...

Hi Chef John

Firstly, im a huge fan all the way from South Africa. love your videos. thanks.

Please do yourself a favour and check our Biltong, it kicks beef jerky's ass everytime.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biltong

EEEnjoy

Erica said...


Chef John, I made your recent beef jerky recipe using both beef and fish and it was delicious!
I used both thinly cut strips of top round from the butcher and I also tried individually vacuum sealed boneless skinless tilapia fillets sold in four pound bags. I marinated the fish for 3 hours, cooked it at 200 for four, and it came out really tasty. The first batch of beef that was with the fish for four hours was too long and a little crunchy, but it's already gone so apparently it wasn't too untasty ;) The second batch of beef (which sat in the marinade for 7 hours, while the first one cooked), I cooked for 3 hours at 200 degrees and it was such a nice texture! Thank you for sharing that recipe, it was very delicious. And I really liked that it made fish taste good (not an easy accomplishment). 

Untamedspirit57 said...

For those wanting Gluten Free for this recipe, I used Gluten Free Tamari ( Soy Sauce), Gluten Free Worchestershire Sauce and I was short just a tad so I through in some Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce. I find these at the health food grocery stores like, Sprouts, Whole Foods and sometimes you can find them in the grocery stores.

Chef John - one question - using a regular bake for this is better then convection bake in an stove? I know convection has to do with a fan helping the heat to distribute evenly, but still not sure when to use and when not to. Thanks

Untamedspirit57 said...

I am making mine with Gluten Free Tamari (soy sauce), Gluten Free Worcestershire sauce and a little Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce (as I was short of the other two). These can be purchased in stores such as Sprouts, Whole Foods and sometimes in your local grocery stores. Ask!

Chef John,
One question, Can this be done in a stove on convection bake or will it take longer? I am still a little confused as to when to use Convection bake on my stove (I have a choice, bake or convection bake). Thanks

Chef John said...

Sorry, I've never had a convection oven, so not sure! Just use reg setting.

Igor Kowalski said...

How long can it be in jar?

Untamedspirit57 said...

A question on the pan you put it on. I don't have a grated like insert for my cookie sheet, but I do have a pyramid pan which is suppose to allow the air to circulate under the foods to help crisp them. Thinking this might work, but if someone had nothing could this be done just on a cookie sheet?

Chef John said...

Maybe if you keep turning them, but they really need air to circulate underneath.

5jgibbs said...

Bed bath and beyond has non stick cooling racks. These work great because you are using such a low temp in the oven. There is no worry of damaging them. Also, I made this beef jerky and everyone loved it. I added a few things this time so hopefully the additions make it more interesting.

tomek wini said...

Hi chef John, thanks for the recie, but one question. If I marinade just for 3-4 hours, can I use same marinade for few batches one after another?

Novonia said...

Don't have a butcher nearby that I know about, but good ol' wal-mart had steak Milanese which is by their info top round and its super thin.

Works great! I do so love this recipe.

NoUseForAName said...

Hey Chef John. What would happen if I marinated this for two days..? (i did this by accodent.). Also, what happens if the meat is sliced thicker (but consistently) at double the thickness you describe here? Thanks and as usual, we are enjoying!! :-)

NoUseForAName said...

Got my answer: if marinated for longer than overnight it doesn't taste like meat anymore. Just marinade.

C. Red said...

Thanks Cheff John, is there anything that I can replace the Worcestershire sauce with something else, since this can't be made kosher. Thanks

NoUseForAName said...

There are non-fish W-Sauces out there, and I have found that Kosher meat is so salty this recipe works best for kosher meat without the sauce.

Jerry Drzewiecki said...

To SS4Koro: For a less chewy texture slice the beef across the grain. Beyond that, a Google search for "beef jerky kits" should provide you with many products which form jerky strips using ground beef. I hope this helps.

Jerry Drzewiecki said...

To Richard Carey: I would suggest that when you tell the butcher how thick you would like to have your beef sliced, have him/her make a test slice and adjust the slicer to your specifications. Make a written record of the slicer setting. This might save some time and tedium the next time at the counter. Just make make sure that you always ask for a test slice.

Ushdadude said...

Can I substitute some of the soy sauce for teriyaki?

Ushdadude said...

To answer everyone's question about how long they last, my first batch lasted about 2 days before it was all gone:-)

sweetie.recipes said...

What brand of worcestershire sauce and soy sauce you use in the recipe? Thanks.

Will Clark said...

Chef John,

I've got a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey my friend gave me as a birthday gift, and I was thinking about using that whiskey flavor in this marinade.

Do you think it'd be best to evenly divide the marinade liquids evenly (that is, 1/2 cup Worcestershire/Soy Sauce/Whiskey), or do you think I should favor one liquid more?

Thanks,
Will Clark

dr siraj said...

Hi chef .. i have one problem in my country i dont have the worcestershire sauce ..
what shuold i do ?? is there any sauce can do the same test .. or i should find the worcestershire sauce

Isaacdoesfilms said...

URGENT PLEASE REPLY NOW
My oven only goes 275f what do Ido