Home » Beef Jerky Recipes » Dragon Fire Beef Jerky

Dragon Fire Beef Jerky

A jerky made with Habanero Peppers is bound for greatness! The spicy kick of the peppers and the saltiness of the Sea Salt really makes this a top jerky recipe. It jumped up into my wife’s top 3 beef jerky recipes.

Habanero beef jerky in a paper bag with habaneros around bag

Using fresh Habaneros is what makes this recipe so good! They can easily be found at your local grocery store.

Dragon Flame Beef Jerky Blender

Smelling this marinade made me say “Oh Wow!” after blending these habanero peppers you see in the picture above. It was a STRONG smelling of fire, heat, and pain! Ha. I tasted the marinade and it instantly had me sweating from the heat. I knew this was going to be a good recipe!

Dragon Flame Beef Jerky Marinade

Beef Top Round was the cut I decided to use when putting this recipe together. A great cut of meat that has little marbling, which is great for jerky. I sliced the strips against the grain for a little less chewy jerky this time.

Dragon Flame Beef Jerky Marinated

The beef marinated for a total of 18 hours before I dried them in my Excalibur Dehydrator for a total of 3 hours at 165°F and 1 hour at 145°F. How did it turn out?! AWESOME!!! I was surprised that the jerky wasn’t as hot as the marinade smelled and tasted at first, but it is still HOT! If you like extremely hot jerky, add a third habanero to the marinade.

Dragon Breath Beef Jerky Complete

So make yourself a batch of Dragon Fire Jerky and enjoy the heat!

Cook’s Tips:

  • Use fresh habaneros for the best flavor, and cut the stem off each pepper
  • Use a blender to blend the peppers into the rest of the marinade for more spice
  • Use gloves when handling spicy peppers

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

Learn how to make Beef Jerky in a dehydrator. It's easy, fast, and delicious! | Jerkyholic.comLearn how to make beef jerky in a smoker. Great tasting and better than store bought jerky! | Jerkyholic.comHow to Make Beef Jerky in an Oven

Dragon Flame Beef Jerky is a spicy habanero based meat snack that will clear your sinus! | Jerkyholic
4.5 from 20 votes

Dragon Fire Beef Jerky

A jerky made with Habanero Peppers is bound for greatness! The spicy kick of the peppers and the saltiness of the Sea Salt really makes this a top jerky recipe. It jumped up into my wife's top 3 beef jerky recipes.
Course Snack
Cuisine Beef Jerky
Keyword beef jerky, Habaneros, Jerky
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours
Servings 5
Calories 184 kcal
Author Will


Lean Meat

  • 1 lb Beef Top Round or Venison


  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 whole habaneros 3 if extra hot is wanted
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 tsp curing salt optional


  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 peppers have been chopped into very small pieces. Place in 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.
  4. Add sliced beef to the mixture in the ziplock bag or bowl and marinate for 8-24 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and strain excess marinade in a colander and pat dry 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

Cook's Tips:

  • Use fresh habaneros for the best flavor, and cut the stem off each pepper
  • Use a blender to blend the peppers into the rest of the marinade for more spice
  • Use gloves when handling spicy peppers
Nutrition Facts
Dragon Fire Beef Jerky
Amount Per Serving (0.15 lb)
Calories 184 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 70mg 23%
Sodium 683mg 28%
Potassium 268mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 4g 1%
Sugars 2g
Protein 24g 48%
Vitamin A 0.8%
Vitamin C 8%
Calcium 1.3%
Iron 14.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. Michael Huss says:

    Followed to the t, used 3 habenaro(quartered them to expose the seeds to the marinade, in hope of more spice). Used venison instead of beef and was quite excited to smoke this. Pretty disappointed, going to try again minus the sugar and double the habanaro, maybe triple. Also think I’m going to skip the c water. I’ll update after next try, feel like this could be awesome with a little tweaking!

    • Will says:

      Hey Michael, sorry to hear it didn’t turn out great. I noticed you mentioned that you cut the peppers in quarters. I went back to check the recipe and noticed that I talked about blending the peppers in the recipe post, but NOT on the actual recipe card. I updated that information. This is probably why it wasn’t that spicy. Blending the peppers and other ingredients in a blender really brought out the spice and allowed all the small pieces to stick to the meat real well. Sorry about that man. I really liked this jerky, try blending it and let me know how it turns out.

    • Jimmy A. James says:

      I was needing to talk to the Jerky King. I also make jerky and live in CO. Maybe we can link up and chat sometime.

  2. Jeff says:

    I’m about to try this recipe out, but I’m making about 5 lbs. should I just multiply everything in your ingredients by 5 or or should I go a little extra on them? Can’t wait to try it!

    • Will says:

      I would just multiply everything and it should turn out good. The only thing I’m not sure about are the habaneros. I don’t know if you are going to need 10 of them, maybe… It seems a little overkill. I would make the marinade with 6 and taste it. I did notice that the jerky didn’t turn out as hot as the marinade was when I tasted it, so I would make the marinade to where you want it and then add a couple more habaneros. So if 6 habaneros tastes hot enough, use 8 of them. Make sure you blend all the ingredients in a blender to get the heat from the peppers. Let me know how it turns out and how many habaneros you used!

  3. Jasmine says:


    Do you have a recipe for a sweet and spicy jerky? My family asked for mango habanero, but I have no idea how to go about incorporating mango. Thanks for the help!

    • Will says:

      I would make this recipe and add a mango to it. You also might be able to find some mango juice and add that to the recipe. Just make sure to blend all the ingredients in a blender well. Let me know how it turns out!

  4. Josh says:

    Made this once, used five habaneros. It was spicy, real spicy. But not spicy enough. I have a second batch marinating now, with five habaneros, habanero powder, scotch bonnet pepper sauce, crushed red pepper, and fresh garlic in addition to the powder. Trying to kick the heat up! Fantastic recipe, everyone loves this stuff.

    • Will says:

      Yep, just leave out the water or only put in a couple Tbsp to help the meat bind together. The other thing to remember when making ground jerky is that all of those habaneros are going to be in the meat where as when making a marinade for whole muscle jerky, a lot of them are left in the bag when draining the pieces of jerky meat. So…. it might be VERY spicy with 2 blended up habaneros in 1 pound of ground meat. BTW, I love this recipe!

      • Garrett says:

        I thought about either reducing the habanero for that reason and also possibly trying to strain out the extra bit of habanero to prevent getting a blast of heat while eating it. Sounds great and also thinking of trying with a bit of mango too! Thanks for feedback!

      • Garrett says:

        I am also thinking to reduce the salt since I am mixing in the ground meat. I think using curing salt and ~1/2 tsp of salt would be enough. Dont want it to be too salty tasting

  5. Truong says:

    Hey Jerky man! Just wanted to say I just made a batch of this and I am in love with it. I made a small modification and substituted the water for mango nectar and it complemented the spiciness from the peppers perfectly! Thank you for doing this page. I look forward to trying more of your recipes!

    • Will says:

      This is one of my favorites too! Great flavor. I used some mango nectar in a recipe the other day and really liked the flavor it gave. Not real strong, but just enough.

  6. Sondre Berg says:

    I’m trying out this reciepe later today. I’ve been searching around the web and finally found something that looks delicious. If I’m reading this right I don’t need liquid smoke, right? It’s a hazzle locating LS in Norway.

    • Will says:

      It looks like I am probably too late and you have already made this recipe, but LS is not necessary. Let me know how it turns out! I love this recipe.

  7. Keith says:

    Hey bro,
    Once again thank you for a awesome recipe! I have been making jerky for years and have books, how to’s, websites, manuals etc etc. Finally someone is sharing recipes they have actually made and ate 🙂 Your other fans suggested mango and no water. I tried both and the mango was supreme. Also it wasn’t a sticky jerk either(don’t like that). Yes and Yes on the blender. Say no to liquid smoke on this recipe or really any other!! Let everyone know when your gonna publish a book because I will be the first to buy it 🙂 Make it a hardback so I can put it on my coffee table!

  8. Alisa Cianciolo says:

    I bought a dehydrator and this was my first recipe of making my own beef jerky. It was awesome, it came out perfect and the heat was incredible. I will be trying more of your recipes!

  9. Brad S says:

    Wow! Finally a recipe with some heat to it!

    I actually doubled the recipe and doubled the habaneros . That was probably a mistake. Next time I will have to just use two or three. Great recipe though.


  10. Billy says:

    Hi Will. Haven’t been on your site or made any jerky in some time. I see more new recipes. I was going to make your Habanero Tabasco but when I saw your Dragon Fire I changed my mind. Sounds very interesting. My question is, if I use liquid Habanero sauce in place of the whole peppers how much would you say I should use to maintain the heat? Keep the receipes comming, I’m running out of paper wrighting them down.

    • Will says:

      You can’t go wrong with either of those recipes. I love them both! I am not sure what the ratio of habaneros to the liquid would be. I would recommend putting in a tsp and then taste. If it’s not that hot, add some more… I’ll keep making them as long as you guys keep trying them!

  11. Kerry Delaney says:

    Guys at work keep telling me we want hotter jerkey. So I figured this would be a good one to try. Starting with 3 peppers per pound and after just a taste of the marinade I needed two cups of milk. Will update when done.

    • Will says:

      Ha! Let me know how it turns out. I remember the marinade being SUPER hot but the jerky turning out a little less spicy than the marinade. I am interested to see how yours tastes!

      • Kerry Delaney says:

        Thanks Will came out fantastic I sold the 3 4 Oz bags I had within 5 minutes of giving samples out and have ordesigned for more. It was hot but as you said it did cool off a bit from the taste test before.

  12. Tj says:

    Seems like an awesome recipe. I have 2.5 lbs marinating right now. I’m going to try it on the smoker. Any suggestion on wood chips or would you say no wood chips?

  13. Cody lott says:

    Hi Will, question for you, if I wanted to cook this recipe but my dehydrator only goes to 160, do you still recommend the same dehydrate time? Or would I need to adjust it? Thanks!

    • Will says:

      Every dehydrator is different, so the time will vary on each one. You can totally leave it at 160F, just start checking it at about 4 hours to see if it’s done. Some dehydrators will say only 160F but actually heat up hotter than that. I have a dehydrator that goes to 165F and one to 160F. ***Update*** I see you mentioned that you are using the Nesco in another comment. The cook time is dependent on how thick you slice the meat, so as mentioned before… start checking at 4 hours..

      • Cody Lott says:

        would you recommend changing temperature at hour 3 as in the recipe , or just do 160 for 4 hours then check to make sure its cooked through? The meat is 1/4″ thick. thanks so much for your help.

          • Cody says:

            What do you recommended for the first 3 hours then the last hour? Sorry for all the questions, just don’t want to mess up my first batch! Thanks again!

          • Will says:

            No problem. Have it up at 160F for the first 3 hours and then you can turn it down to 145F for the remaining time (might be an hour, might be longer…). Check it after 3.5hrs total (it might take less than 4 hours) to see if it is done. Take a piece out, let it cool for 5 minutes, and bend it. It should bend and crack but not break in half. If it’s not finished, put it back in with the others and keep drying for another 1/2 hour. Just keep checking every 1/2 hour to hour until it’s finished. It should turn out good. I love this recipe!

  14. Ray says:

    Don’t usually leave feedback on recipes, but man this was excellent.

    Followed the recipe almost exactly, made using 3lb bottom round, tripled the marinade, used 9 habenero peppers, subbed mango nectar for the water, blended marinade, let sit 24 hours in the marinade, smoked with peach wood.

    Couldn’t be happier with the results. Perfect level of spice for me and just the slightest hint of mango flavor. Not fruity or sweet at all.

    Thank you very much for the recipe.

  15. Paul says:

    Worst recipe I’ve tried. the taste is horrible. The heat is fine. Should have probably just did the Alton Brown recipe and blended in a couple hobanaros. I will be giving this batch away. Hopefully someone will like it.

      • Paul Rogers says:

        I have tried other recipes you posted. And I do like them a lot. I am a big jalapeño fan but habanero has a flavor I have decided I don’t like. Thanks for replying.

  16. Chris J says:

    I’m used to using a recipe with heavy amounts of soy sauce and worcestershire. I was a little bit skeptical when I smelled the marinaded meat on this recipe, since it didn’t have that strong, salty smell that I’m used to. After drying, it turned out fantastic–easily in my top 5 jerky recipes. All that flavor without a boatload of sodium is a good thing. Planning on subbing at least 1/2 of the water with mango nectar soon to see how the mango habanero version tastes, since it seems to have rave reviews in the comments.

    • Will says:

      Glad you liked it Chris! This is one of my favorites as well! Let me know how it turns out with the mango nectar, I’m interested to hear your results.

  17. Mike says:

    Hi Will, Making this recipe now with mango instead of the water. Cant wait to try it. Only 4 hours to go. Hey Will, what does the cure stuff do ? Thanks Mike.

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