Basic Beef Jerky Recipe

Beef jerky is a delectable, healthy snack that uses a dry cure of seasonings before it is dehydrated. This is a very simple and basic recipe that can get you started making homemade beef jerky quickly and easily.

Making dry cured beef jerky is economical and fairly simple. All you need is to know what are the basic ingredients used, the right heating equipment, and proper cooking process. Also, dry cured meats have a long shelf life.

Basic Beef Jerky Recipe


Basic Beef Jerky Ingredients

3 pounds of meat (about 1360 grams), preferably eye of round or similar lean cut
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper.

Basic Beef Jerky Instructions

Trim all the fat, gristle, and silver skin from the beef. Slice the beef into thin strips against the grain. Set the strips down in a large container like a bowl or a flat tray.

Sprinkle the liquid smoke over the beef strips. Mix together the spices and then coat the beef strips with the spices, mixing it together well to be sure they are all coated.

Place them in a plastic bag or bowl and refrigerate for several hours or over night.

Making Basic 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 Basic 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 Basic 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 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. They will last in the refrigerator for a month or two and in the freezer for several months.