How Long To Make Beef Jerky?

This recipe for homemade beef jerky is the best and requires no special tools to make.

I made the decision to develop a good homemade beef jerky recipe after roadtripping with my family and trying jerky from gas stations along the way and spending a small fortune on it. The good news is that you don’t need any special tools to make beef jerky; all you need is a regular oven, baking sheets, and wire racks. However, most commercial jerky is much more tender than homemade jerky. That’s because commercial jerky manufacturers create their distinctive jerky using specialized machinery and curing preservatives. I eventually discovered the key to making tender jerky at home by adding a lot of sugar to the marinade after getting lost in an internet rabbit hole of pitmaster video tutorials. The additional sugar not only keeps the meat from spoiling but also traps moisture. This recipe produces chewy, tender jerky with a salty-sweet, smoky flavor that is comparable to the well-known brands.

Place strips on your dehydrator drying racks with plenty of spaces in between for easy air flow. Dry for 3 hours at 165 degrees allowing the internal temperature to reach 160 degrees and then turn down to 145F. Check the meat after 4 hours and keep drying until the jerky bends and cracks, but does not break in half.

What cut of beef is best for jerky?

Any type of round roast is the best type of meat to use for beef jerky. The eye or round, top round, and bottom round roasts are included. Fat adds flavor to many dishes, but in beef jerky it just gets stuck in your teeth! I prefer lean cuts of beef without too much fat, like round roasts, because each bite is consistently meaty. They are nice and meaty, reasonably priced, and almost fat-free.

An honorable mention would be a London broil. Although a London broil is typically a flank steak, the name is occasionally used to refer to a variety of cuts, making it a great lean meat for jerky.

  • Round roast of beef; alternatively, venison or other wild game
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Liquid smoke
  • Smoked paprika – Regular paprika works equally well.
  • Brown sugar
  • Ground black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper – You can substitute crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder

How to make Beef Jerky in a dehydrator

Cutting the beef into thin slices with a sharp knife, letting it marinate in the fridge overnight to absorb flavor, and then drying it at a low temperature in a dehydrator are all that are required to make homemade beef jerky. My recipe is a fantastic “original flavor” recipe that is simple to adapt to your preferences. For instance, simply add another teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the recipe for beef jerky if you want it to be spicy.

Using a dehydrator is the best method for making homemade beef jerky. Set the food dehydrator at 160 degrees, or up to 175 if your model allows you go to go higher, and place the thin strips of meat on the dehydrator racks. Rotating the racks hourly will ensure all of your jerky cooks evenly. Your jerky slices will be done in about 4 hours.

How Long To Make Beef Jerky?

When is beef jerky done?

When beef jerky no longer feels moist to the touch and does not bend without cracking, it is finished. The jerky should have an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees, bend slightly, and then snap. If it breaks immediately, like a cracker, it is overdone. Throughout the cooking process, you should check the jerky to see if it’s finished. If you cut your jerky thin enough, it should be done cooking in less than four hours.

How to dehydrate beef jerky in the oven

Although some ovens have a dehydrate setting, if your oven allows you to bake at low temperatures, your convection feature will still perform brilliantly. Your jerky should be dry in about three hours if you set your oven to convection at 175 degrees. Simple wire baking racks can be used to dry the beef jerky. In case your oven has any hot spots, rotating the racks is still advised.

Tip: I’ve discovered that ovens have trouble maintaining consistent temperatures when the temperature is set very low, like 175 degrees. I use a digital oven thermometer to track temperature changes, and I occasionally crack open the door just a little to let heat out when it becomes too warm.

How Long To Make Beef Jerky?

Does Beef Jerky Need to Be Refrigerated?

According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, when properly prepared homemade jerky does not need to be stored in the refrigerator. Dry jerky can be stored at room temperature, however, to preserve freshness it is best stored in an airtight container. Glass jars or a large ziploc bag work well for storage. Place the sealed container in a a cool dry place.

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How Long To Make Beef Jerky?

Homemade Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator

  • 2 pounds beef round roast (thinly sliced)
  • cup Worcestershire sauce
  • cup Soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon Smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion powder
  • (Optional) Place beef in freezer for two hours. This will make it easier to slice thinly.
  • Slice beef thinly against the grain. (approximately ⅛”)
  • Mix together all the marinade ingredients after adding them to a bowl.
  • Put the marinade and the sliced beef in a gallon-size ziplock bag. Place the meat in the refrigerator overnight, making sure it is completely covered.
  • Take the beef out of the bag and pat it dry with paper towels (this will reduce cooking time). The excess marinade can be discarded.
  • Set your food dehydrator to 160 degrees and arrange the jerky strips in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. (The oven can also be used for this; wire racks can be used.)
  • Dehydrate the beef jerky for four hours, turning the racks over every hour, or until it is hard to bend and dry.

This recipe was originally published on April 4, 2018.

Make Your Own Beef Jerky! How to Make Beef Jerky in the Oven


How long is homemade beef jerky?

On the other hand, if you store homemade beef jerky in an airtight container after making it, it should last for one to two months. Beef jerky will last about a week if you keep it in your pantry in a Ziplock bag. Additionally, you can anticipate your beef jerky to last one to two weeks if you keep it in the refrigerator.

How long does it take to make beef jerky without a dehydrator?

Plan to make jerky on a day when you can stay in because once it’s in the oven to dry, it typically takes 5 to 6 hours (time may vary depending on thickness). You will fall head over heels for this recipe if you enjoy flavorful beef jerky that is savory and spicy.

How long does it take to dry meat for jerky?

Note: It will take 5 to 6 hours to dry. Thinner strips will take less time. Compared to earlier techniques where the jerky was made with raw meat, your precooked meat will dry faster.

Can beef jerky be done in 3 hours?

Set two oven racks in the middle of the oven and preheat to 175 degrees. Place the marinated meat in a single layer on the wire racks. Bake the meat until it is completely dried out, about 3 to 4 hours, turning the pans halfway through.

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