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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- ½ cup cold water
- 1 ½ teaspoon pickling salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon coriander (ground)
- ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Prague Powder #1 (curing salt)
- 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.
- Dry with either a Dehydrator, Smoker, or oven. An oven was used with this recipe and dried for 7 hours at 170 degrees.
- 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!
Thank you so much for this site. I can't wait to try some of these recipes. So many of them look good!
This one looks like I good one to try for my wife. She cannot handle anything spicey though. Is this one still pretty good minus the cayenne?
Yep! If she doesn't like spice, just leave the cayenne out.
For anyone who is wondering this recipe also works really well for ground beef jerky.
I found this to be too mild in flavor. It was good, don't get me wrong but it was just very mild. Should I make it again I'd alter the recipe a bit to give it more punch.
Sounds great. I have been making jerky for over 10 years, and have fallen into a rut in not trying new recipes. My neighbor recently shared some Elk Jerky that had a brown sugar and ground pepper coating. Tasted great. I'm going jerky a very large and lean Top Sirloin roast that was on sale recently. I'll use most of your ingredients and save the brown sugar and pepper for the last step before putting into the dehydrator. And IMO, it's not real Jerky unless one uses Yoshida's Sweet Teriyaki.
Let me know how it turns out. I'll have to try that Yoshida's Sweet Teriyaki!
Came out great. Best ever. Neighbors agree. I am going to start in on another Top Sirloin Roast, and will again marinate with Yoshida's Teriyaki. My rub was 1) brown sugar+ground pepper+granulated onion salt and 2) brown sugar+ground pepper+garlic powder. The rub was completely absorbed but the flavor is strongly evident.
What I found interesting in your recipe was the use of curing salts. I use #2 CS when making salami, and rarely used #1 CS on other meat recipes, but use as directed. This is the first time I had seen it being spelled out for jerky. Makes good sense to me, and I had wondered why CS weren't used with jerky recipes.
Sounds like a good recipe! Yeah, #2 is for salami and such, #1 is for jerky. You should get some and give it a try.
Lisa Bach says
What is a serving size?
Hey Lisa. There are 5 servings per 1 pound pre-dehydrated beef. The weight will be less when the meat has been dehydrated, so 1/5 of the final product is a serving. Hopefully that wasn't too confusing... Haha.
I had about 25 lb of wild boar meat from a 300 lb hog. Followed your recipe but used a bit of soya sauce and apple cider vinegar.. added savoury oregano and some honey... Throw a couple chili peppers in and boom, some kick ass jerky! The best jerky is the experimental jerky! Throw in smoker use white birch shavings that's what we use in Canada, or maple! Cheers
Sounds good! Can't beat some jerky made out of wild boar or deer!
Matt Quince says
I have made this 4 times. The whole family LOVES it. Thanks.
Awesome to hear!!!
I've made this recipe a few times now, and everyone loves it. I use a bradly smoker for it at about 275° for 5 hours
Thanks for the recipe!!!!!
No problem man!
Kevin krause says
I just made 5lbs of this recipe and it’s HORRIBLE! No flavor at all! I took the recipe and multiplied everything by 5, but it seems like that was the wrong thing to do? It’s as though the very little spices, sugar and salt were diluted in too much water. What can I do to salvage this rather expensive debacle? Can I soak in another brine?
That's terrible! I remember this recipe being quite good. It must have been diluted too much. I have never tried to rehydrate a recipe that didn't turn out well, but I have had comments on this blog from readers who have and it turned out okay. So I would give it a shot. Marinade in another recipe for 6 hours or so and dry again. Let me know how it turns out.
Have you tried any other liquid besides water in this recipe? Like some kind of vinegar? Maybe half and half? Any suggestions?
You could definitely use some white vinegar with this recipe. I can't think of any other liquids I would use instead of water off the top of my head.
Could I use this as a ground jerky recipe? If so should I change anything like the water? Thank you!
Yep! Like you said, just omit the water. Most of the recipes on the site can be used for ground jerky, just choose ones that have very little liquid ingredients...
Brian Navea says
I am doing double the batch Ingredients for 2 l/b
just seems to me that it is not that much marinate for all the meat?
Most are in tsp amounts?
Yeah, not too many spices or liquid ingredients. I don't like having a ton of marinade for a little bit of meat, I try to make just enough. Use a ziplock bag to marinate, it helps get all the meat submerged. Let me know how it turns out!
Hey Will, can the brown sugar jerky strips be layer down on my dehydrator racks instead of hanging vertical in an oven?
By the way, thanks for the great recipes.
Definitely. Using the oven is just one option when making jerky. Any of these recipes can be made in an oven, dehydrator, or a smoker. Let me know how it turns out!
If using a dehydrator over an oven, will it change the cooking time?
Hey Sean, thanks for stopping by! A lot of things will affect the dehydrating time. A dehydrator will be different from an oven, but it depends on what dehydrator you have. The thickness of the meat will also affect the dehydrating time. My dehydrator (Nesco) will take about 4 hours to dry 1/4" jerky. My oven takes about 5 hours, and my smoker averages about 7 hours. Just make sure you start checking on the jerky at about the 3.5hr time. Hope that helps!
I've only made beef jerky a few times but am wanting to try a recipe with sweetness in it. I've happened upon your site and am interested in possibly trying your recipe with brown sugar in it. What I am wondering is, do I have to use an oven for it? I have an Excalibur. Would you recommend the oven above the Excalibur? If so, why?
There is no reason to use your oven over your Excalibur Dehydrator. The Excalibur heats the jerky to 160F and makes great jerky! I would use your dehydrator. Hope it turns out great Pam!