How to Smoke Beef Jerky [Recipe]

 

Make the best grilled beef strips with our Smoked Beef Jerky recipe. From preparing the meat to mixing the spices, our step-by-step guide will show you the easiest way to prepare homemade beef jerky.

Recipe for smoked beef jerky

Rejoice, beef jerky fans! One of North America’s respected meat treats is just as easy to make at home as it is to buy.

With little more than a good round cut of steak and a backyard BBQ smoker, you can make your own delicious jerky strips to your own taste.

In this recipe, I’ll show you everything you need to know. From meat preparation and marinades to smoking times and temperatures, here’s how to smoke beef jerky at home.

Smoked beef jerky in a serving glass

The best meat for Cecina

The beef tenderloin is perfect for making homemade smoked meat. Coming from the cow’s hind leg area, it’s packed with muscle. That makes it lean and high in protein, giving you a tough, chewy strip of meat fresh out of the smoker.

As an added bonus, it’s easy to prepare. A round cut may have some sinew and fat on its surface, but that’s easy to trim away, leaving you with a lean cut of meat that’s ready to smoke.

Other cuts of beef that work well with smoked jerky include leg, sirloin, and flank steak. Find out more with our guide to the best cuts of beef for jerky.

How to cut beef for jerky

Trim away any tendons or excess fat from your round of meat. It shouldn’t be much, but it’s not uncommon to see something along the surface.

You also need to remove the silver skin. If left on, it will wither while roasting and holding. Unlike fat, it doesn’t melt or melt when grilled. Instead, IT WILL shrink and twist, distorting its flesh( source ). Fortunately, this is easy to do.

Just like when we remove the membrane from the ribs, slide a table knife under the skin. Use a paper towel to get a little grip and slowly peel away the silver skin. It may go away all at once, or you may have to try multiple times.

When the meat is trimmed, cut into quarter-inch pieces. Cut against the grain for best results. This gives you a nice balance of chewy jerky without making it too heavy to work with. So, make sure your pieces are cut as evenly as possible. If they are cut unevenly, they will cook and dry at different rates.

For best results, use a meat slicer to cut round meat into even-sized pieces.

Smoked beef jerky on a wooden table with peppercorns

Dry marinade

Using a good marinade is the best way to add flavor to meat before smoking it. While the round has plenty of flavor on its own, it’s important to add some classic spices as well as a little sweetness and hints of spice.

For our marinade, we use a base mix of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. We also add a pinch of red pepper flakes to add a bit of spiciness and a quarter cup of honey to balance it out with some sweetness. For the full list of ingredients for the marinade, see the full recipe at the end of this post.

To make the marinade, simply combine all the ingredients in medium damage. Beat with a fork to break up the honey and stir until well combined.

Add the strips of meat to the pain and cover as much meat as possible in the marinade. Transfer the strips to a large ziploc bag(you may need to use more than one). Pour the remaining marinade over it before putting it in your fridge. Marinate overnight or at least 12 hours to allow the marinade ingredients to incorporate into the meat.

How to smoke beef jerky

When the beef strips have marinated overnight, you’re ready to go. Take the meat out of the refrigerator and place each strip on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. This will help absorb any excess marinade or moisture.

While the meat is resting, turn the smoker on to a cooking temperature of 82°C(180°F). If you’re using a pellet smoker grill this should only take about 10 minutes, but if you’re using a charcoal or offset smoker this can take up to half an hour.

dried meat cooked in the smoker

When the smoker is heated up and the round strips are ready to use, it’s time to smoke some meat!

Transfer the strips to the incense racks, making sure to leave at least half an inch between each piece. Smoke at 180°F for three hours. After an hour of smoking, check the meat to make sure it has dried evenly. If some dry out faster than others, rearrange the jerky strips accordingly. Check again at the two hour mark.

After three hours, check if it is ready. You’ll know when the beef jerky is done when it’s dry and chewy, but still flexible enough to bend easily. If the folding tears or breaks, your jerky is overdone. If it still seems wet, you may need to leave it in the smoker a little longer.

When finished, remove the jerky from the smoker and cool on a cooling rack.

The best wood for roasting beef jerky

The best wood for smoking jerky is hickory. Some grill fans like the smooth, sweet notes that both apple and cherry add to smoked meats, but hickory pairs perfectly with beef. That’s why we recommend pairing it with other cuts of meat like brisket or tri-tip, and it’s no different with these Beef Jerky Strips.

Hickory resists the robust, deep flavor profile of round meats without overpowering them, letting the sweetness and spiciness of our marinade shine through.

How to store beef jerky

Once the beef jerky is ready, place it on a cooling rack. Allow to cool to temperatures before transferring to a new Ziploc bag or airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks, but I recommend storing it within 4 days for best results.

Smoked beef jerky

Delicious smoked beef cecina strips. Marinated overnight in honey and soy sauce before being slow cooked over hickory smoke, this homemade smoked jerky is unlike anything you’ve tasted before!
Appetizer course , snack
American cuisine , BBQ
Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time 3 hours
Navy time 12 hours
Total time 15 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

Marinade

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire willow
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  • Trim off excess fat from the meat. If the membrane or silver skin is still on the meat, use a table knife and paper towel to remove it.
  • Cut the beef into ¼ inch slices. Make sure they are cut flat for the best results when grilling.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat, mix all the ingredients for the marinade. Allow to cool and place the slices of meat in the marinade so that they are completely covered.
  • Transfer the slices to a large ziploc bag or airtight container. Pour the remaining marinade over the meat. Place the container or bag in your refrigerator and marinate overnight or at least 12 hours.
  • Line a baking sheet with a paper towel. Take the meat out of the fridge and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Allow your smoker to dry and preheat to 82°C.
  • When the smoker has heated up, add hickory wood to the firebox. Place the strips of meat on the smoking grates, close the chamber door and smoke for 3 hours.
  • Check the jerky every hour to make sure the pieces aren’t cooking unevenly. If so, rearrange them accordingly.
  • After 3 hours, remove the jerky from the smoker and cool on a cooling rack. The jerky is done when it’s dry and hard, but bendable without breaking.
  • When completely cool, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be stored for up to two weeks, but is best enjoyed within four days.

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