Cranberry BBQ Beef Jerky Recipe

Most people do not think about cranberries when they talk about BBQ sauce. However they add a great depth of flavor with both sour and bitter notes that come through in the sauce. Our Cranberry BBQ Beef Jerky recipe uses this to create a very unique jerky.

Cranberry BBQ Beef Jerky Recipe

Cranberry BBQ Beef Jerky Ingredients


For the Cranberry BBQ Marinade

1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons Worcester sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

For the Beef Jerky

3 lbs. of meat (about 1360 gm)
1 to 2 cups cranberry BBQ marinade

Cranberry BBQ Beef Jerky Instructions


For the Cranberry BBQ Marinade

Start the BBQ sauce several hours before you want to marinate the beef jerky. You can also make it ahead of time and save it in the refrigerator for several days.

Place all of the BBQ sauce ingredients into a pan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring regularly to make sure all of the ingredients meld together. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring regularly, for around 20 minutes until it thickens.

Let the sauce cool completely before adding it to the beef.

For the Cranberry BBQ Beef Jerky

Trim all the fat, gristle, and silver skin from the beef. Slice the beef into thin strips 1/8" to 3/8" thick, against the grain. Set the strips down in a large container like a bowl, flat tray, or sealable plastic bag.

Pour the cranberry BBQ marinade over the meat and mix well. Store the meat in the fridge for at least 4 to 8 hours, or overnight.

Making Cranberry BBQ Beef Jerky in the Oven

Preheat the oven to 160°F / 71°C, or the lowest setting it will go.

Remove the beef slices from the container and layer the strips in a single layer on a baking tray, or drying rack on top of a cookie sheet. Make sure the beef strips don't overlap and have a little space between them to enable good air circulation.

Arrange the oven shelves leaving at least 4 inches of space from the top and bottom sources of heat to achieve even heating. Place the strips in the oven to start dehydrating them.

Making Cranberry BBQ Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator

Preheat your dehydrator to at least 141°F / 60.5°C and up to 165°F / 74°C.

Place the strips in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. Be sure to leave some space between the jerky strips for sufficient air flow. If you are not using wire or mesh trays you may need to turn the beef jerky over once in the middle of the drying process.

Dry the beef jerky for 6 to 10 hours. If thicker strips of meat are used it may take longer.

Finishing the Cranberry BBQ Beef Jerky

To test the beef jerky remove a strip or two from the oven racks or dehydrator trays with clean kitchen tongs. Dried beef jerky strips should be chewy but still tender. When bent, it should be flexible enough not to break but it should crack instead.

Once the cranberry BBQ beef jerky is sufficiently dry, remove it from the dehydrator and let it cool for 30 to 60 minutes. If there is any oil or moisture on the beef jerky use paper towels to blot it dry.

Put the jerky in tightly sealed containers then refrigerate or freeze. The cranberry BBQ beef jerky will last in the refrigerator for a month or two and in the freezer for several months.