How to Make Jerky- Step By Step

Beef or Venison Jerky
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Tired of spending $7-10 dollars on a few ounces of delectable jerky? You can make your own inexpensively and enjoy this versatile at work or play. We’ll show you how to make jerky step by step with photographs. It’s so simple, even beginners can do it!

how-to-make-jerky-step-by-step

How to Prepare the Meat

Before beginning lets address the age old question, should you slice the meat With the grain or against the grain? This is entirely dependent on what type of meat you are using. Tough cuts of meat, such as brisket, you’ll want to cut AGAINST the Grain, otherwise, it will be nearly impossible to chew.

If the meat is a more Tender Cut, such as a rump roast, you want to cut WITH the Grain, which will result in thin Chewy (rather than brittle or crumbly) jerky pieces.

If possible, choose lean cuts of meat. In this case, I opted for a couple of nice roasts that were on sale for $2. per pound!

how-to-make-jerky-step-by-step

If the meat is partially frozen, it is considerably easier to slice evenly and cleanly. Slice WITH the grain into long even strips 1/4″ thick & 1 to 1 1/2″ wide. This ensures that the jerky will dry evenly and be chewy rather than brittle.

how-to-make-jerky-step-by-step

Notice how each of the strips are the exact same thickness, this ensures even drying. If you want to make really short work of this – use a Weston Meat Slicer! We absolutely love ours.

how-to-make-jerky-step-by-step

Since we were using a couple of roasts, not all of the pieces are the same length. Here we’ve divided them into 1 pound piles based on size.

how-to-make-jerky-step-by-step

Marinate

Next, add the meat a few pieces at a time to a Ziploc bag (or NON-metal container), add some seasoning/(marinade), add another layer of meat, more seasoning (marinade), continue until all the meat & marinade is in the bag in layers. Seal the bag and manipulate the meat with your fingers, ensuring that each and every piece is coated with the marinade or seasoning blend.

Here is a view of the sliced meat.

how-to-make-jerky-step-by-step

It should take 3-5 minutes per pound to ensure that the meat is completely coated. It should turn from a bright red color to a deeper red color, as in the photo. This is due to the “cure” in the seasoning. If all the pieces haven’t turned color, continue to manipulate the seasoning around the meat.

how-to-make-jerky-step-by-step

Seal the bags, label them with the type of marinade (teriyaki, sweet bbq, cracked black pepper,  etc) and then place in the fridge for 24-48 hours. This depends on the amount required by the recipe, some recipes require more.

how-to-make-jerky-step-by-step

Once the meat is fully seasoned and had time to cure, place it dehydrator racks or on cooling racks (on top of cookie sheets) to dehydrate in the oven.

how-to-make-jerky-step-by-step

Drying time is dependent on the type of method chosen. In this case, we used a Nesco Food Dehydrator and it took exactly 3 hours to dry the jerky.

View Drying Temperatures & Methods Here

how-to-make-jerky-step-by-step

As you can see, for 20 minutes of preparation (the rest of the work is done by the oven or dehydrator!) we have several large bags of Jerky.

(This is only HALF of the meat shown in the first photo, the rest is still marinating!).

how-to-make-jerky-step-by-step

About Liss 4017 Articles
Melissa Burnell, known to her friends and fans as "Liss," grew up in Southern Maine, now residing in sunny South Carolina. As a busy Wife, Mother of two sons, an avid photographer, and self-employed entrepreneur, Liss understands the value of both time and money.

14 Comments

  1. any idea how long this would take in the oven to dry, and at what temp? my oven will only go to 175(i think maybe 170)… and now i really want homemade jerky, it will be late june before i am able to buy my excaliber :shame:

    • Any idea how long this would take in the oven to dry, and at what temp? my oven will only go to 175(i think maybe 170)… and now i really want homemade jerky, it will be late june before i am able to buy my excaliber :shame:

      mechelle do you have a thrift store or re use store anywhere around you. i have gotten all 4 of my dehydrators from thrift stores and they all still work. some thriftstores sell them very cheap and they are easy to use.

  2. mechelle, arrange strips of meat close together, but not overlapping directly on oven rack or on cake racks set in shallow rimmed baking pans, bake until done in 250 degree oven (4 to 6 hours).

    you can check cooks.com for any variation of these steps.:lets-eat: have fun and let me know how it turned out…

  3. Oven Drying:
    Carefully arrange the seasoned meat strips onto a cooling rack, leaving a bit of space between each piece of meat to allow for air flow. Set the oven to 150-165F, be sure that the oven maintains this temperature (use an oven thermometer) as the meat can spoil if the temperature drops too much. If using this method, we highly recommend using a drip tray to catch the drippings as it can/will make a mess of your oven otherwise. This method takes approximately 10-12 hours to dry the meat.

    If your oven doesn’t go low enough, you can actually prop open the oven door.

    Source: Budget101.com – – How to Dry Meats | How to make your own Jerky

    • I will have to start doing this again. I absolutely love beef jerky and use to make it all the time. Now that I cant work I have to start looking at ways to save.
      Today instead of throwing out a bunch of vege’s I wasnt going to use I made broth.

      And the strained veges are a treat for the chickens.
      I’m buying cheap cuts of meat and putting them in the crock-pot, its better than expensive cuts!

      Today was country pork and I had a jar of plum jam I was going throw out and used it on the pork instead. OMG it was good!

  4. i will have to start doing this again. i absolutely love beef jerky and use to make it all the time. now that i cant work i have to start looking at ways to save.
    today instead of throwing out a bunch of vege’s i wasnt going to use i made broth.

    and the strained veges are a treat for the chickens.
    i’m buying cheap cuts of meat and putting them in the crock-pot, its better than expensive cuts!

    today was country pork and i had a jar of plum jam i was going throw out and used it on the pork instead. omg it was good!

    • I will have to start doing this again. I absolutely love beef jerky and use to make it all the time. Now that I cant work I have to start looking at ways to save.
      Today instead of throwing out a bunch of vege’s I wasnt going to use I made broth. And the strained veges are a treat for the chickens.
      I’m buying cheap cuts of meat and putting them in the crock-pot, its better than expensive cuts! Today was country pork and I had a jar of plum jam I was going throw out and used it on the pork instead. OMG it was good!

      YUM! That sounds delicious.. Plum Jam! A fellow down the road from us has the most gorgeous plum tree and no one ever harvests the fruit from it. I think this year I’m going to ask them if they’d mind if I pick a few for making jam.
      I hadn’t thought about giving the strained veggies to the chickens, they usually end up in the compost pile after making broth. I’ll bet my girls would like that.

  5. Have you tried making jerky with the jerky gun and hamburger? I got one for my birthday but I wasn’t sure how much seasoning to use

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