Harissa Beef Jerky Recipe

Harissa is a hot chile sauce often eaten in North Africa, especially in Tunisia. There is a lot of variation in recipes for harissa depending on the region it is made in. The version used in our Harissa Beef Jerky recipe uses ingredients that are easier to find in the United States.

Harissa Beef Jerky Recipe

Harissa Beef Jerky Ingredients


For the Harissa Marinade

1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 large roasted red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 to 4 small hot red chiles, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons black pepper

For the Beef Jerky

3 lbs. of meat (about 1360 gm)
1/2 to 1 cup harissa marinade

Harissa Beef Jerky Instructions


For the Harissa Marinade

Put all of the harissa ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until pureed well. This can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.

For the Harissa 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 harissa marinade over the meat and mix well. Store the meat in the fridge for at least 4 to 8 hours, or overnight.

Making Harissa 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 Harissa 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 Harissa 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 harissa 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 harissa beef jerky will last in the refrigerator for a month or two and in the freezer for several months.