Smoked Beef Jerky
Going on a road trip? Bring a batch of this jerky along for the ride and your travels will be made easier. This smoked beef jerky is a great snack to chew on, the flavors are amazing! Can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, refrigerated 3 to 6 months or frozen for up to a year.
- 2 to 3 pounds (7/8 to 1 1/3-kg) trimmed lean meat such as eye of round or top or bottom round
- 1 cup (237 ml) soy sauce
- 1/4 cup (59 ml) apple juice
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup, honey (118 ml [170 grams by weight])
- 5 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
Preparation time 20mins
Cooking time 200mins
Adapted from thermoworks.com
Freeze the meat while preparing the marinade. The meat should be only partially frozen—firm, but still sliceable.
Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisk to mix well. Set aside. Once the meat is partially frozen, slice into 1/8 to 1/4 inch (1/3 to 2/3 cm) slices.
Cut With or Against the Grain? It's up to you!
Beef jerky is widely available cut both with and against the grain. If you cut your slices against the grain it’ll be easier to chew. If it’s cut with the grain the protein fibers that become firm and pliable through the drying process will give your jaw a workout. It’s up to you.
Place the meat slices into a gallon size zipper lock bag and pour the marinade over the meat. Massage the meat in the bag to evenly distribute the marinade.
Set the bag into a container or sheet pan on the bottom shelf in your refrigerator and chill for 24 hours.
Heat your smoker to 160-180°F (71-82°C). Add wood chips or chunks and allow smoke to develop while you’re preparing the meat.
Drain the meat from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
Arrange the meat slices onto heatproof grilling mesh or metal cooling racks, being sure none of the slices are touching. For even drying the slices need room for air circulation.
Set the racks or mesh onto your smoker’s grate, close the lid, and let it cook.
If you normally use a water pan, skip it today. The goal is dehydration not moisturizing.
Total drying time varies and depends on how well your smoker’s temperature is maintained, humidity, the type of marinade used, and the thickness and size of your meat slices. It will likely take about 3-6 hours.
When checking the jerky, you’re looking for signs of progression toward doneness such as shrinkage. The finished jerky should be leathery, bend easily with only a few cracks, and have no wet spots.
After you’ve judged that your jerky appears to be done, spot-check its internal temperature with a Thermapen. Once you have verified an internal temperature of 150-160°F (66-71°C) and the jerky is thoroughly dry, remove from your smoker.
Experts recommend placing the warm jerky into plastic containers or bags slightly ajar to allow condensation to soften the driest areas of the meat.
If you can keep yourself and everyone else from devouring the fresh jerky, it is also recommended to store the cooled jerky at room temperature for 24 hours to allow it to “condition.” The conditioning time period allows the moisture left in the meat to equilibrate throughout the pieces of jerky.
After it’s been packaged in a sealed container, your homemade beef jerky can be stored at room temperature, refrigerated, or frozen. Label and date the zipper lock bags or containers so you’re sure to know when the best time frame will be to consume the jerky depending on the storage method you choose.
Room Temperature: 2 weeks
Refrigerated: 3 to 6 months
Frozen: Up to 1 year
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