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Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky

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The great taste of Dr. Pepper mixed with Beef? What’s not to love?! 

My best friend Kyle and I drank Dr. Pepper like it was water when we were growing up. That was of course before we realized how bad a six pack of Dr. Pepper a day was for our health. I only on a rare occasion drink soft drinks anymore, but this seemed like a great time to pop a top and incorporate this sugary deliciousness into some beef jerky.

Beef jerky on a cutting board with a can and glass of Dr. Pepper

Ingredients were kept to a minimum for this recipe. It only has curing salt, sea salt, pepper, & of course Dr. Pepper. That’s it! I used my favorite cut of beef when making this recipe, Beef eye of round.

Slicing The Meat

Start with a great cut of beef when making this jerky. I used Beef Eye of Round, but you can find a complete list of the best cuts of meat to dry beef jerky 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.
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

Sliced with the grain, a little tenderizing with a meat mallet helped take some of the chew out of it.  Tenderize the meat before adding to the marinade. If my beef jerky is too chewy, my teeth feel like they are going to fall out. Can’t have that…

Making The Marinade

Combine all of the ingredients in a ziplock bag or bowl and mix well. Add the jerky strips to the marinade and marinate in the refrigerator. Make sure to marinate for at least 6 hours. I let this marinade for a total of 18 hours to help get as much flavor from the Dr. Pepper as I could. The longer the better!

Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky Sliced

Drying The Jerky

After marinating, strain the jerky in a colander to remove any excess marinade. Then place the strips on paper towels and pat dry. This step helps speed up the drying process and prevents the jerky from having a sticky surface.

Place the jerky on your dehydrator trays and start drying that jerky! I dried this jerky with my Excalibur dehydrator for a total of 5 hours at 160° F. You can also make the jerky in an oven or smoker if you like.

Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky Dehydrator

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.

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.

 

Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky Finished

 

I was surprised that this jerky did not have as much of a Dr. Pepper taste that I would have liked. Don’t get me wrong, it was good and I really enjoyed it! I guess I was expecting more of a Dr. Pepper flavor to shine through. Will I make this jerky again? Hell yeah, it’s Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky!

Not a big fan of Dr. Pepper? Just switch this out with your cola of choice… Try making a batch and let me know how you guys like it.

**You better believe I drank that glass as soon as I was done taking this picture. Haha**

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!

Old Pro Tips:

  • Tenderize with a meat mallet and/or cut against the grain for a more tender jerky
  • Marinate for at least 6 hours for a great flavor. 24 hours is recommended for the best flavor.
  • Allow jerky to cool before testing if it’s done by bending a piece. It should bend and crack, but not break in half when finished
  • Visit my Jerky Making Methods page for more detailed instructions on how to make the perfect jerky

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

3.53 from 21 votes
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Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky

Need a little Dr. Pepper in your life? This jerky combines great jerky with a great soda, what else could you want?

Course Beef Jerky
Cuisine American
Keyword beef jerky, Jerky
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 6 hours
Servings 5
Calories 210 kcal
Author Will

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1 can of Dr. Pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Prague Powder #1 curing salt

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 the Dr. Pepper, sea salt, pepper, and prague powder #1 in a medium bowl or ziplock bag and mix well.
  3. Remove the meat from the freezer and slice ¼" strips with the grain. Cut against the grain for an easier chew. Or skip the freezing phase and use a Jerky Slicer for evenly sliced strips.
  4. Add sliced beef to the mixture and marinate for 8-24 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and strain excess marinade.
  6. Dry with your favorite jerky making method. I used my dehydrator and dried for 5 hours at 160 degrees.
  7. The jerky is finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half.

Recipe Notes

Cook's Tips:

  • Tenderize with a meat mallet and/or cut against the grain for a more tender jerky
  • Marinate for at least 6 hours for a great flavor. 24 hours is recommended for the best flavor.
  • Allow jerky to cool before testing if it's done by bending a piece. It should bend and crack, but not break in half when finished
  • Visit my Jerky Making Methods page for more detailed instructions on how to make the perfect jerky
Nutrition Facts
Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky
Amount Per Serving (70 g)
Calories 210 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 70mg23%
Sodium 500mg22%
Potassium 216mg6%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 24g48%
Calcium 15mg2%
Iron 2.3mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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

Need a little Dr. Pepper in your life? This jerky combines great jerky with a great soda, what else could you want?

33 comments

  1. Marc says:

    I tried this with eye of round in my nesco but with a can of Mug root beer. It has no flavor at all. Some of the outside has a root beer flavor but none of it penetrated the meat. I’ll have to try a different soda but wanted to note that root beer doesn’t work

  2. Mike M says:

    5 stars
    I use an old Brine/Marinade recipe, of water, salt pepper, dark brown sugar, garlic salt or powder, onion powder Liquid Smoke. I use my oven & hang the jerky on an oven rack with toothpicks from top of oven. On low 150° to 170°… I use London Broil. Brine 12 hrs hang in oven 12 hrs.

  3. ronald zaiontz says:

    Marinating meat right now, gonna make one mild but another with Chile pequin powder for a nice punch of flavor!

  4. Chris Brulet says:

    If you’re having problems with liquid flavor being faint, add some brown sugar. The brown sugar will absorb the liquid better and than sticks to the jerky. I do this with my maple bacon recipe and it works wonders.

  5. Chris Gagne says:

    4 stars
    Will def be trying this one in the near future as well as a Dr pepper Jalapeno recipe that was sent to me on facebook. Later this week i will be trying a mix of the two above using a pre made jalapeno spice kit i got from a local store. The part that i am not fully understanding is how to make the liquid marinade itself though?

  6. ray says:

    I tried the Doctor Pepper. and taste was faint. Chris says add brown suger. How much did you add to your mix? I am also thinking of adding some freshly made ground cayenne.

    • Will says:

      I am going to add brown sugar to this recipe as it does need a little something else. A 1/4 cup of brown sugar should do it. Let me know how the cayenne flavor works out!

  7. GraceGirl says:

    I use three cans of Dr Pepper, 1/2 c brown sugar, 2 tea garlic powder, 2 tea onion powder, 4T kosher salt, 2 tea or so of cracked black pepper, 2T worsteshire & 4 sliced jalapeños. Heat to simmer and reduce marinade by half. The reduction really makes a difference as well as the extra brown sugar. I’ve marinaded overnight and also 24 hours. The 24 hour batch has way more kick

    Smoked in my Coockshack pellet grill at 180 for 2-3 hours until it reaches my level of doneness.

    New to making jerky but this is awesome . I’ve had no desire to try anything new yet but I’m sure I will later

    I’m new to jerky but I’ve been cooking for years…so I just wanted to encourage people to make sure you reduce the marinade for the most flavor from your Dr Pepper

    • GraceGirl says:

      Oh..I forgot. I got the recipe from heygrillhey.com
      Don’t want to not give credit where it’s due, it’s a wonderful recipe!

      And that batch is a double recipe for about 4-5 lbs of meat.

      • Rachel says:

        Hi Shane

        Just mix all ingredients in a med-large saucepan (Dr Pepper foams up when you add the salt). Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until it cooks down by half the original volume. Cool completely before adding to sliced jerky meat.

        The added sugar and longer marinade will make it sweet with a bite of heat.

    • Will says:

      Hey Brittany, I just checked the links and both of them sent me to #1. Not sure what is happening on your end. #1 is the one used when making beef jerky. #2 is more for making sausage.

      • Brittany says:

        Thanks, Will! Not sure what happened on my end! Tried the recipe after getting some Prague #1- does it sound like I’ve over dried my jerky? I marinated for 24 hours then put it in the oven to get to 160 (I think this is where I may have went wrong, my oven cooks hot) and dried for 4 hours. The pieces are breaking in half and when I try to peel it in half it just cracks into smaller pieces.

        • Will says:

          It should only take about 10 minutes at 300F to get it to 160. If it is cracking, it sounds like it is definitely over dried. Always start checking the jerky early and make sure you take a piece out and let it cool for 5 minutes before checking if it’s done.

          • Blaine says:

            I’m a jerky making newbie. I was wondering though, since Brittney is using Prague powder #1, does she even need to put it in the oven? Aren’t the use of curing salt & heating the jerky to 160 both just different ways to kill any bacteria that may be in the meat?

          • Will says:

            They are both used to kill bacteria, yes. More than likely if you use Prague Powder your jerky will be safe without heating it. I just like to be on the safe side and heat my jerky as well.

  8. Ron says:

    My neighbor just gave me some Venison and I really want to try this recipe. I have a Green Mountain Grill that I would like to use. Can you recommend temperature and time? I also have a dehydrator that I could use, but I really want to use the smoker. Thanks in advance

  9. Ron says:

    4 stars
    Made a batch today on the smoker. Really like the taste. 165 degrees for 4 hours. Even my wife likes even know it is Elk. Thanks for the recipe!!

  10. Chris says:

    4 stars
    If you take three cans of dr pepper and reduce it on a stove in a saucepan till it thickens. It makes a more concentrated flavor. I add brown sugar and powdered red pepper.

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