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Midwest Ground Beef Jerky

Like an easier chew to your jerky? This ground beef jerky has the flavor and an easy bite making it the perfect energy snack! | Jerkyholic.comGround beef jerky in the oven? YES! This Midwest Ground Beef Jerky recipe has the flavor and an easier chew for those who don’t like tough jerky.

I made this jerky several weeks ago and forgot to put the recipe on the site…. I don’t know where my mind has been lately… I did use the pictures on another page explaining how to make ground meat jerky, check it out for more detail.

This recipe has a little liquid smoke, sugar, black pepper, salt, and a couple other familiar ingredients often found in jerky. I do love some spiced up fancy jerky every once in a while, but sometimes you just can’t beat a good Midwest style original jerky.

Midwest Ground Beef Jerky Lean BeefStart with a lean ground beef, 10% fat at the most. Mix all your ingredients in a bowl before adding it to the ground meat. If using curing salt, like I did on this recipe, make sure to dissolve it in a liquid ingredient or water before adding it to the beef.

Midwest Ground Beef Jerky in Oven

As you can see, after letting the beef mixture sit in the fridge for 12 hours to help bind the meat together, it was rolled flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I scored the meat with a dull knife to make it break apart easier when it is finished.

Midwest Ground Beef Jerky FinishedThis batch took about 4 hours to dry in my oven. I flipped the meat after 2 hours and used paper towels to soak up any liquid on the baking sheet. At this point the meat should be easy to move and could be placed on a metal rack in the oven to finish drying.

It turned out to be a great tasting jerky. Whole muscle jerky is my favorite, but this ground beef jerky still hits the spot when you are craving a salty snack!

Ground Beef Jerky Finished Bending

Let the jerky cool and test if it is done by bending it. If it bends without breaking in half or cracks just a little bit, it’s finished. The jerky should still feel soft to the touch and not hard on the outside. Enjoy!

For more in depth directions on how to dry your beef jerky, visit my page Jerky Making Methods or click on the pictures below.

How to make Beef Jerky in the OvenLearn how to make Beef Jerky in a dehydrator. It's easy, fast, and delicious! | Jerkyholic.com

4.8 from 4 reviews
Midwest Ground Beef Jerky
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Lean Beef
  • 1lb Lean ground beef (10% fat or less)
  • 1tbsp cold water
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke (hickory)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp Prague Powder #1 (curing salt)
  • ½ tsp corn syrup solids (optional)
  1. In a bowl, combine ingredients and add to 1lb of ground beef
  2. Mix the ground beef and seasonings thoroughly
  3. spread the ground meat on a baking sheet, cover with wax paper, and roll with a rolling pin until meat is ¼" thick
  4. Slice the pan of beef into jerky strips 4-5" long and 1" thick
  5. Dry with your favorite jerky making method. I used my oven at 170F for 4 hours
  6. Ground jerky is finished when it first starts becoming dry to the touch. It should bend without breaking in half. If it cracks in half when bent a little bit, it was over dried

For more in depth directions on how to dry your beef jerky, visit my page Jerky Making Methods or click on the pictures below.


  1. Elizabeth says:

    Yup, this was a good recipe. My son specifically asked for lemon pepper jerky & he liked it. I’ve got your Midwest Ground Beef Jerky mix cooling in the refrigerator, I’ll make it tomorrow & comment on that recipe site.
    I passed on a few of your recipes because they included Prague #1. I had to Google it to find that it is curing salt. I added the amount of regular salt like you advised.

    • Will
      Will says:

      Glad you liked it! If you make this with cure and seal in food saver bags, it should last several months. I use a vacuum sealer all the time to keep my jerky fresh for hiking and hunting trips. I normally seal them and keep them in the fridge. You can also freeze them for long storage , 6+ months.

  2. Marie Bozarth says:

    Loved it! Very tender too. I am currently in the process of trying an Asian flavored one, hope it turns out well. Thank you!

    • Will
      Will says:

      Just go ahead and omit it. It helps bind the ground jerky together, but is not required when making jerky. Let me know how your jerky turns out!

      • Spira Susanne says:

        I promised to write how I liked the dos pepper jerky. It is OK but to be truthful, I like the Nesco Original recipe better, only it was too salty because they used too much salt in the curing mix (lower% of Nitrate with larger quantity of the salt mix) , so I need to make it with the pink powder instead. Do you have a somolar recipe so I do not need to buy the packets?
        Susan S.

        • Will
          Will says:

          Hey Susan, thanks for coming by! I am glad that you liked the Dos Pepper Jerky. To answer your question about a Nesco Original substitute, I haven’t made a packaged jerky in several years. I honestly do not remember what the Nesco Original tastes like. I would recommend browsing through my recipes and reading the ingredients for something that peaks your taste buds!!!

  3. Daniel says:

    Why do you recommend dissolving the curing salt in water first? I’m trying this recipe now with 1 lb ground turkey, and a tablespoon of tender quick, and realized I forgot that step. Do you know if this will be safe to eat? Thanks for such an awesome site!

    • Will
      Will says:

      I have made it without dissolving the curing salt in water and it turned out fine. I just feel like it becomes better incorporated when it is dissolved in liquid. Your jerky should be safe to eat. Thanks Daniel, glad you are enjoying the site!

  4. Jeremy says:

    hi Will,

    for the Midwest Ground Beef Jerky recipe, what do you suggest for using a dehydrator in regards to temp and time?

  5. SaraLyn says:

    Just finished making my first batch. I over cooked it but the flavor is still awesome. I was a little worried it would come out to spicy with the cayenne pepper but its not. Practice makes perfect so I will definatly be doing it again.

  6. Ray says:

    I read somewhere to never use prague powder with liquid smoke because LS is too acidic and would produce nitric oxide. Is there a procedure to follow when using both?

    • Will
      Will says:

      I have been doing it for a while and have never experienced nitric oxide. I am not using vast amounts of ingredients though. If the liquid smoke is too acidic, I would recommend using more sea salt to increase the pH to counter the acidity of the liquid smoke.

  7. Rick Walser says:

    Hi, I’ve been making Jerky for more than 20 years,, but it’s always been either the Luhr Jensen little chief recipe or a variant of, I recently tried a ground beef recipe using LEM Backwoods, first batch came out excellent, next 2 batches came out really brittle. The last 2 packs of beef have been 93% & 97% lean. Any chance 90 would be better, or would refrigerating after mixing help?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    • Will
      Will says:

      A little fat will definitely help bind the meat together and so will refrigerating. Going with the 10% fat is a way to go, but I wouldn’t go any more than 10%. If you are still having trouble getting it to bind, using corn syrup solids will also help bind the meat together.

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