How to Make Smoked Beef Jerky?

With the internet flooding with 1000 versions of “How to make smoked beef jerky,” it can get hard to decide which one is actually finger-licking good! 

Well, why stress when you are actually in the right place? This article answers some of your most-asked questions, even those you don’t know right now but would find useful later. 

So, let’s not wait anymore!

Choosing & Slicing Meat for Smoked Jerky

Choosing the meat — Since we’re making smoked beef jerky, a lean cut of beef is preferable. Go with a topside or sirloin tip roast (round) beef cut since it’s the finest choice for making delicious jerky.

Slicing Meat - Beef Jerky

Slicing the meat First, make sure you remove any visible fat from the meat cut, as fat can release the oil, causing your jerky to go rancid quickly. Then grab a good sharp knife and slice the meat against the grain into ⅛-¼ inch pieces.   

Bonus tip: Place the meat in the freezer before slicing for 1-2 hours. It will make the cutting easier. 

Marinade for Smoked Meat Jerky 

It’s on you how you want to give your jerky beef flavors. You can spice up your smoked beef jerky or just go simple, like sprinkling only salt and pepper – however you like. For our recipe, we recommend adding flavors.

Marinade Beef Jerky

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ or ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Mix these ingredients and dip your beef slices in this marinade. Now, put the marinated beef in the refrigerator to let the flavor soak in for about 10-24 hours.  

Perfect Smoking Time & Temperature for Beef Jerky!

Smoking time for beef jerky if you’re using an electric smoke such as a Masterbuilt electric smoker, then it would take 5-10 hours to smoke your beef jerky. However, in the case of a pellet smoker, 3-5 hours are required. 

Smoking temperature for beef jerky 200 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect temperature for smoking beef jerky.

How Long to Smoke Jerky at 180?

At 180 degrees, smoke the jerky for about 2 hours

Best Wood Chips for Smoking Beef Jerky

Some of the best woods to smoke beef jerky are;

  • Pecan
  • Apple
  • Hickory
  • Cherry
  • Oak
  • Ironbark

Spicy Smoked Jerky Beef Recipe 

If you’ve already marinated your jerky beef slices, then there is no need for any new ingredients. Follow the points below to find how to make smoked beef jerky;

Smoked Jerky recipe

Step 1: Take a cookie sheet and line it with a paper towel and foil. Then, take the meat from the marinade and layer it on the cookie sheet. 

Then, add a new layer of paper towel as well as meat. Carry on with the procedure till you’ve piled up all the meat on the sheet. This step helps remove the extra moisture from the meat and reduces the cooking time.

Step 2: Set your smoker to smoke at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s not too high to burn the meat and not too low to leave in the moisture even if the temperature rises to 180-200°F; no need to stress over it. 

Step 3: Layout all the jerky meat strips on wire racks in your smoker. Stack up more racks if you’re making smoked beef jerky in bulk. 

Step 4: Keep space between each strip, ensuring they don’t touch each other. And let the protein slices smoke using your preferred wood chips. 

We recommend using hickory or apple woods since these add great flavors to homemade jerky.

Step 5: After smoking for about 2.5 to 3 hours, take out a piece from the smoker. Let it cool to check its doneness. Then, shake the jerky piece, and if it hardly bends, it’s done drying!

Smoked Jerky recipe

Step 6: Keep taking out the finished meat jerky strips and enjoy your homemade smoked beef jerky. 

Store Your Smoked Beef Jerky

After your smoked beef jerky is cooled, lock it up in the sealable container or ziplock bag and store it in the refrigerator. The jerky will stay good for weeks if kept in the fridge and months if you store it in the freezer.  

Old Fashioned Smoked Beef Jerky Recipe

Here’s the old-schooled beef jerky recipe to bring back classic flavors.

old Fashioned Smoked Beef

Ingredients

The following ingredients are required for the overall old-fashioned smoked jerky beef recipe;

  • 1 pound of preferred beef cut 
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of black pepper (grounded)
  • ¼ tsp of onion powder 
  • ½ tsp of liquid smoke mesquite
  • ¼ tsp of ground coriander
  • ½ tsp of garlic powder
  • ½ tsp of powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp of pink curing salt
  • ½ cup of cold water

Choosing & Preparing the Meat

Choosing the beef cut — Modern beef jerky recipes suggest using lean or any cut of beef, which can leave you in utter stress. So, there is no rocket science in choosing meat cuts for this recipe. 

Preparing the Meat

You can either go for the leanest beef cut, which we highly recommend, or choose any cut of your choice if you can work on cleaning it from fat excellently.

As we love lean meat, we’re going to use ‘eye of round‘ in our original beef jerky recipe. However, you can also aim for sirloin tip, top round, flank steak, or bottom round

Prepare/slice the beef cut — One of the essential steps of preparing beef meat for jerky is to cut down even the slightest visible fat. It’s because fat can go bad quickly, and you wouldn’t want your jerky batch to go gross in the nick of time, of course!

After trimming off all the fat, put the meat in the freezer for about 1-2 hours. When you see ice crystals on meat, take it out from the freezer and cut it against the grain into ¼ inch slices using a sharp knife. The thinner the meat is, the better!

Marinate the Meat

Mix up all the ingredients stated above in a container. Then, add meat strips and ensure that every strip gets enough marinade infusion. 

Keep the container in the refrigerator for about 7 to 24 hours. The more time you give the marinade to infuse in the meat, the tastier it will be!

Dehydrating the Meat

Now your old-fashioned smoked beef jerky is entirely ready to be projected into a smoker or dehydrator. You can use an electric smoker and favored wood chips to smoke the meat strips at 160°F for about 2 to 3 hours. However, before this step, don’t forget to remove excess marinade from the beef using paper towels.

Dehydrating the Meat

We are using a dehydrator for our old-schooled beef jerky as it’s convenient and easy to handle. Now, place the strips over the racks and dehydrate them for 5-8 hours at 160°F.

After dehydrating for 4 hours, start checking the meat strips. Bend a piece, and if it does not break, your beef jerky is ready. 

The ideal time is 7 hours, at which your jerky should be perfectly dehydrated. Still and all, it ultimately depends on you. If you want a crispy texture, dehydrate the jerky more!  

FAQ’s

Smoked Beef Jerky FAQs

Why Did my Beef Jerky Turn White?

The white deposit on top of your meat jerky is actually mineral salt. When you dry jerky, the natural moisture of meat evaporates, leaving behind white powder, which is not unhealthy. 

Is Deer Jerky Better than Beef Jerky?

Undoubtedly, deer jerky is relatively healthier. It contains less fat and calories than beef jerky. However, it makes the venison jerky tougher, and you might not enjoy it as much as beef jerky. 

Do You Use a Water Pan When Smoking Jerky?

There is no need to use a water pan since that would release extra moisture. And it will then interrupt the drying process of jerky.

Concluding all!

Besides learning “how to make smoked beef jerky,” smoked beef jerky, you must learn about different aspects, such as what smoking time and temperature are ideal for smoked jerky beef. Well, this article holds up everything you want to learn in one place. So, take the ideas from here and mix them up with yours to produce a breathtaking smoked beef jerky recipe. 

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