The rich meat flavor and the sweetness of the brown sugar makes this oven beef jerky a crowd pleaser. You might have to keep some of this jerky hidden if you don't want anyone and everyone within munching distance to devour it in seconds.
This was a recipe that was taken out of the book “Sausage and Jerky Makers’ Bible”, one of the many jerky books I have strung across my living room. Bravo to the recipe, it's a keeper for sure. My wife loved the sweetness the brown sugar adds to this meat treat.
Why this marinade works
Coriander, cayenne pepper, white pepper, and mustard powder are the main other ingredients that compliment the brown sugar in giving this jerky a smooth sweet taste.
Looking for another great tasting jerky marinade to try in your oven? Try our Ultimate Beef Jerky Recipe, it's another great option when looking for a marinade.
How to slice the meat
The first step to making beef jerky is choosing a lean cut of beef. I used beef eye of round when making this beef jerky. Here you can find a complete list of the best cuts of meat for making beef jerky.
I chose a beef eye of round roast when making this jerky and sliced it with the grain of the meat. This will result in a more chewy jerky.
If you want a more tender jerky, slice the meat against the grain. I have put together a page on slicing meat for beef jerky that explains this in more detail.
Making the marinade
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl or Ziplock bag and add the meat strips. Make sure to mix the bag around to make sure the meat is evenly covered with marinade, this allows the finished oven beef jerky to have a consistent flavor.
After marinating for 22 hours, the meat strips were strained in a colander and then dried further with paper towels to remove any excess marinade on the outside of the meat.
Allow at least 6 hours minimum for marinating to get a great flavor on the beef jerky.
Dehydrating / Baking
Pierce one end of each strip with a toothpick if you want to hang the jerky from the oven grates. Another technique is to lay the strips on top of a cooling rack placed on an oven tray.
Each method churns out great flavored oven beef jerky, I chose to hang the jerky. I placed a sheet of aluminum foil under the jerky to catch any marinade that runs off the meat making clean up easier.
This jerky baked for 7 hours to completely dry with my oven set at the lowest setting, 170F. Setting the temp between 170° - 200°F will yield the best results when baking beef jerky in the oven. Make sure to place a wooden spoon in the door of the oven propping it open while dehydrating allowing the moisture to escape.
Testing for when it's finished
While drying the oven beef jerky, you want to start testing to see if it has finished at about the 3-4 hour mark. Take a piece of your newly made brown sugar beef jerky out of the dehydrator, oven, or smoker and allow it to cool for 5 minutes to room temperature.
Bend the jerky in half; it should bend and crack but not break in half. You will also see white fibers in the meat. The fibers are really visible when a piece is ripped or bent in half.
To make the jerky last as long as possible, curing salt will really help along with keeping in air tight containers. I have put together a page on storing beef jerky and steps you can take to make your jerky have an extended shelf life.
Not a fan of curing salts? Not to worry, you can leave out this ingredient if you choose. Many of the recipes I make do NOT call for curing salt. Just make sure that you heat the meat to 160° to prevent the growth of any bacteria.
*Leaving the curing salt out of the recipe will alter the look and flavor of this recipe.
Old pro tips
- Using curing salt will allow the jerky to last several weeks outside the fridge
- Choosing a lean cut of meat will help the finished jerky last longer as well
- If using cooling racks, spray with Pam spray to prevent sticking
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- Trim all visible fat from the beef and place in freezer for an hour or two to partially freeze.
- While the meat is in the freezer, combine the pickling salt, Prague Powder #1, cayenne pepper, coriander, liquid smoke, white pepper, dry mustard powder, brown sugar, and cold water in a medium size bowl or ziplock bag. Mix well.
- Remove the meat from the freezer and slice ¼" strips with the grain. Cut against the grain for a less chewy jerky. Or skip the freezing phase and use a Jerky Slicer for evenly sliced strips.
- Tenderize the beef strips with a tenderizing mallet to prevent the jerky from being too tough.
- Add sliced beef to the mixture and marinate for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator.
- After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and pat dry with paper towels.
- Use beef broth instead of water for a more intense flavor
- Using curing salt with extend the shelf life of the jerky
- Make sure to use a wooden spoon to keep the oven door open
- Making oven jerky in the winter is a great way to help keep the house warm!