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Cherry Bomb Beef Jerky

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This jerky is SPICY and PACKED full of flavor from the soy sauce, cumin, honey and those great looking cherry popper peppers! YUM YUM YUM!!!

Cherry bomb beef jerky on cutting board with peppers

Who didn’t LOVE lighting and throwing cherry bomb’s, the fire crackers, when they were kids?! I loved blowing things up, pretty much every male from 8-20 years old loves playing with explosives.

Well when I came across peppers that were called cherry poppers, It reminded me of my childhood and I knew I had to use them in a jerky recipe! They did not disappoint either, this jerky is incredibly good! Enough talk, let’s get started…

Slicing The Meat

Choose a lean cut of beef, I used beef eye of round when making this spicy jerky. You can find a complete list of the best cuts of meat to make beef jerky with by clicking here!

The first step of slicing meat for jerky is to trim the cut of meat of all visible fat. You can see the white fat in the picture below, just trim that off BEFORE you start slicing the meat. Fat spoils faster than meat, so the more you get off now, the longer your jerky will be shelf stable.

Eye of Round Roast on cutting board

Slice the meat with a very sharp knife either with the grain for a more chewy jerky or against the grain for a more tender jerky. a 1/4″ in thickness is just right. 

Eye of round beef roast being sliced in cutting board

Slice even strips so they will dry evenly and be finished at the same time. You can wrap the roast in plastic wrap and partially freeze for 1-2 hours to make slicing easier.

I didn’t use it on this recipe, but a jerky slicer is a FANTASTIC piece of equipment to help get even strips when slicing jerky.

Beef Jerky slicer slicing beef for jerky onto a cutting board with knife

Not sure what way the grain runs? Need more information on slicing meat for jerky? I have put together a page on Slicing Meat for Jerky where you can find EVERYTHING you need to know when slicing meat for jerky.

Making The Marinade

This recipe revolves around those amazingly spicy cherry popper peppers. I found these at my local Whole Foods Market.

Since I am using whole peppers in this recipe, using a blender is the best way to fully incorporate them into the marinade. The cherry bomb pepper was added whole (do not remove seeds, only stem) to the other marinade ingredients inside my Vitamix blender to make sure this jerky keeps that amazingly spicy flavor.

cherry bomb pepper in blender

Blend until the pepper and the other ingredients are fully sliced thin and incorporated together. Look at those great looking seeds!

Mixed jerky marinade

Pour the marinade into a ziplock bag and add the previously sliced beef. Mix the strips around really well to make sure they are all evenly coated with the marinade.

Jerky marinating in bag

Marinate in the refrigerator for 6-24 hours mixing the bag up several times to further make sure the strips are evenly coated. This makes sure the every piece of finished jerky has a consistent flavor.

If you are in a rush, these vacuum marinating machines do work pretty well. About 1/2 an hour and your jerky will turn out like it marinated for 12 hours. Not bad!

Vacuum Marinator

RELATED PAGE: DOZENS OF GREAT TASTING JERKY RECIPES – CLICK HERE

Drying The Jerky

Once the meat has finished marinating, strain any excess marinade in a colander. I marinated this beef for a total of 21 hours before straining. The longer the marinade process, the more intense flavor the jerky will have! 

beef jerky strained in colander

Before adding the meat to your dehydrator, oven, or smoker; lay out paper towels placing the meat strips on top. Pat dry the strips to remove even more of the excess marinade. This step will help speed up the drying process and prevent the meat from being ‘sticky’ after it has finished drying.

Patting dry jerky strips on paper towels

Place the strips on your dehydrator trays, oven trays, or smoker rack to dehydrate/dry the jerky. 

Jerky on dehydrator tray

I used my Excalibur Dehydrator when making this jerky. I love how easy it is to use a dehydrator, so that’s what I use to make most of my jerky.

If you want to try drying with a different method however, you can see more information on drying on the jerky making methods page. This page will also have even more in depth directions on using a dehydrator.

Finished jerky being bent

These were dehydrated for 4 hours at 160F and came out just perfect. Make sure the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F to kill any potential bacteria. The 4 hours at 160°F in this dehydrator does the trick.

Related Page: Dehydrator Reviews – Click Here

Testing For When The Jerky Is Finished

While drying the jerky, you want to start testing to see if it has finished at about the 3-4 hour mark. Take a piece of 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 in half.

Beef jerky bent in half showing white fibers

If the jerky is not finished, continue drying for another hour and repeat the same process until the jerky is finished. 90% of the jerky I make is finished within 4-6 hours when using a dehydrator or oven and 6-9 hours when using a smoker. If pre-heating the meat in the oven, drying time can be as little as 2.5 hours.

Storing Jerky

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 jerky and steps you can take to make your jerky have an extended shelf life. Check it out!

So, how was it? They turned out great! It had the perfect amount of spice for my liking and a great chew. So get some beef and give this Mexican heat beef jerky a try!

Old Pro Tips:

  • Use a blender to chop the peppers and incorporate them into the marinade for maximum flavor
  • Taste the marinade after blending and decide if you want to add more pepper if you really want a SPICY jerky
  • Use Prague Powder #1 to increase the shelf life of the jerky and help kill any bacteria
  • Slice strips at 1/4″ thickness for a good jerky feel

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For more in depth directions on how to dry your beef jerky, visit my page Jerky Making Methods

Cherry bomb beef jerky on cutting board with peppers
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Cherry Bomb Beef Jerky

This jerky is SPICY and PACKED full of flavor from the soy sauce, cumin, honey and those great looking cherry popper peppers! YUM!

Course Snack
Cuisine American, Beef Jerky
Keyword banana peppers, beef jerky, cherry bomb, Jerky, spicy
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 6 hours
Servings 5
Calories 30 kcal
Author Will

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1 cherry popper pepper whole
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup beef broth

Optional

Instructions

  1. Trim all visible fat from the beef and place in freezer for an hour or two to partially freeze.
  2. While the meat is in the freezer, combine marinade ingredients in a blender and blend until the ingredients are fully mixed. Transfer to a bowl or ziplock bag. 

  3. Remove the meat from the freezer and slice ¼" strips against the grain for an easy chew. Cut with the grain for a more chewy jerky. Visit my page on slicing jerky for more information. You can also use a Weston Jerky Slicer when making this recipe.

  4. Add sliced beef to the mixture in a ziplock bag or bowl and marinate for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator.

  5. After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and strain excess marinade and pat dry the beef strips with paper towels
  6. Dry with your favorite jerky making method. I used my Excalibur Dehydrator and dried for 4 hours at 165F.

  7. The jerky is finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half.

Recipe Notes

Old Pro Tips:

  • Use a blender to chop the peppers and incorporate them into the marinade for maximum flavor
  • Taste the marinade after blending and decide if you want to add more pepper if you really want a SPICY jerky
  • Use Prague Powder #1 to increase the shelf life of the jerky and help kill any bacteria
  • Slice strips at 1/4" thickness for a good jerky feel
Nutrition Facts
Cherry Bomb Beef Jerky
Amount Per Serving
Calories 30 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 1390mg60%
Potassium 78mg2%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 86IU2%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 3mg0%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Cherry Bomb Beef Jerky