The best homemade beef jerky recipe made with Habanero Peppers is the last and only recipe you will ever make from now on! Learn how to make great tasting beef jerky with this easy to make recipe.
The spicy kick of the peppers and the saltiness of the Sea Salt really makes this the top jerky recipe ever!
📋 Why this recipe works
This is a great tasting jerky because of the original flavor it has beneath the heat from the habaneros. The sugar and worcestershire help with that original flavor and also balance the heat of the peppers. I love spicy jerky, and I really love the flavor of habanero peppers, and this beef jerky recipe checks both of those boxes!
🔪 Slicing the meat
Start with a great cut of beef when making this jerky. Making sure to choose a lean cut of meat is important, the cuts below have little fat and are great for jerky.
Best meat to use
- Beef Eye of Round Roast
- Top & Bottom Round Roast
- Flank Steak
- Sirloin Tip
- Ground Beef (10% fat or less)
I used Beef Eye of Round, but you can find a complete list of the best cuts of meat to dry beef jerky 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.
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 beef jerky.
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.
🧂 Making the marinade
This beef jerky recipe has some great ingredients including: garlic powder, sugar, fresh cracked black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and of course some fresh Habaneros! To make the marinade, just combine all the ingredients that are listed on the recipe card below in a blender and add the fresh Habaneros.
Readers Tip: Substitue ⅓ cup of the water for ⅓ cup of soy sauce for a more salty intense flavor.
Blend until the peppers are fully incorporated into the marinade. 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 goodness! Ha.
Combine the jerky slices and marinade in a bowl or ziplock bag and marinate for 6-24 hours. I like using a ziplock bag as it seems to allow the marinade to fully coat the meat. Mix the bag up a couple times during the marinading process to also make sure each piece gets an even amount of these great tasting spices!
After marinading, strain the jerky strips in a colander to remove any excess marinade. Place the strips on a paper towel and pat dry to remove even more of the excess marinade that is sitting on the surface. Doing this will help speed up the drying process.
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. Make sure the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F to kill any potential bacteria. The 3 hours at 165°F in the dehydrator does the trick.
🌡️ Testing for when it's finished drying
The jerky will be finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half. You will also see white fibers within the meat when bent. Make sure to check the beef jerky when it is room temperature, bending when warm will appear to be unfinished and result in over drying.
🥡 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 beef jerky have an extended shelf life. Check it out!
Yes you can! Choose a ground meat that is 10% fat or less and simply omit the water. Keep everything else the same.
No, you can substitute any pepper or decide to leave the peppers out totally and have more of an original flavored jerky. Feel free to change things up!
No, curing salt does help extend the life of the finished jerky and prevents bacteria but it is not needed. Just make sure the finished beef jerky is heated to an internal temperature of 160°F. Curing salt does give the jerky that classic red color and a distinct taste, so if you decide not to use it, the finished jerky will look and taste different.
👨🏽🍳 Old Pro Tips:
- Trim all fat from the meat for longer lasting jerky
- Use fresh Habaneros for the best flavor, and cut the stem off each pepper. Use 0 peppers for no spice, 1 pepper for mild spice, 2 for medium, and 3 for HOT!
- Use a blender to blend the peppers into the rest of the marinade for more spice and even flavor.
- Use gloves when handling spicy peppers.
📖 Learn more about making jerky
- 1 lb Eye of round
- 1 ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 whole habaneros (3 if extra hot is wanted)
- 2 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- ¾ cup cold water
- ¼ teaspoon curing salt (optional)
- 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 marinade ingredients in a blender and blend until the peppers have been chopped into very small pieces. Place in a bowl or ziplock bag.
- 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.
- Add sliced beef to the mixture in the ziplock bag or bowl and marinate for 8-24 hours in the refrigerator.
- After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and strain excess marinade in a colander and pat dry with paper towels.
- Load dehydrator trays with jerky strips leaving room for air to circulate I used my Excalibur Dehydrator and dried for 3 hours at 165°F and 1 hour at 145°F
- The jerky is finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half.
- Omit Habaneros if you don't want a spicy jerky
- Wash hands before handling meat
- Make Sure to use a blender to incorporate ingredients
- Adjust the amount of peppers to your liking