DIY Beef Jerky: Snack-time or Anytime

The tug-of-war battle between your mouth and a piece of Beef Jerky can be a hard snack to chew and swallow. The commercial brands tend to be too salty, dry, tough, unhealthy, leathery, and heavily preserved for a long shelf life. For around $50, you can purchase a dehydrator. It is well worth the effort to make it by hand. It has become our go-to-snack for an active, outdoorsy day or trip.

Follow these recipes for a tender and tasty piece of meat!

Getting Started

  • Budget-friendly Dehydrator that we use.
  • Use medical gloves to keep things clean (purchase from any drug store).
  • 1 pound of a lean cut of beef: Sirloin, Chateaubriand, Round, or London Broil.
  • Ask your local butcher to cut beef into 3-4 inch long strips that are about ⅙-¼ inch in thickness
  • The recipes below are for ½ pound meat each.

Asian Jerky


  • 1 TB of canola oil
  • 2 tsp of rice vinegar
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Sriracha
  • 1½ tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 small minced garlic clove
  • ½  tsp of sea or kosher salt
  • ¼  tsp of chili flakes

Southwestern BBQ Rub


  • 1 TB of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 TB of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp of Bourbon
  • 3 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp of pure maple syrup
  • 1 TB of ketchup (smoked Sir Kensington’s)
  • ½ tsp of liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp of chipotle hot sauce or favorite hot sauce
  • 1 small minced garlic clove
  • 1 tsp of sea or kosher salt
  • 8 grinds of cracked pepper

Spread out meat on dehydrator trays, then set dehydrator to 5.5 hours at 160°F to dry pieces. It will last about a week in a Ziploc bag or mason jar. To make sure the beef jerky is ready, tear off a piece of dehydrated beef to check for redness (rawness). Remove excess grease by patting jerky dry with paper towels after it is dehydrated.


  • Use a vacuum sealer for longer storage time or store in freezer.
  • For backpacking or camping, tear off pieces of beef jerky and add to rice, pasta, or soup for more protein, healthy fats, and flavoring.

Instead of fighting with your food, you’ll want to savor and devour your DIY Beef Jerky.


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