Home » FAQ’s

Why do dehydration times vary so drastically? 

Drying times vary due to several factors. The thicker the cut of beef the longer it is going to take to reach the desired result. Different methods of drying also vary the time. A dehydrator that circulates the air will work faster than an oven that does not. Different brands of dehydrators or smokers will also vary in performance which will affect drying time.

Do I need to buy a dehydrator to make jerky?

No. There are several different ways to make jerky. If you are just starting out, using the oven is a great way to start. You can also make jerky with a smoker. If you do want to buy a dehydrator, start with my reviews here on the Best Dehydrator for Making Beef Jerky.

Why is some jerky really tough and others tender?

This depends on how you prepare and slice your meat before making jerky. Visit my Slicing Meat for Beef Jerky page to learn more.

How long will jerky last before going bad?

It varies, anywhere from one week to several months. I have covered this in more depth in this post titled: How Long Does Beef Jerky Stay Good?

Can all of your recipes be used when making ground meat jerky?

Not every one, but a lot of them! I would use a recipe that does NOT have much liquid ingredients (soy sauce, worcestershire, vinegar…) Dos Pepper Jerky would be a good one to try. If the recipe calls for water, omit the water since you are using ground beef. I would also recommend using cure when making ground jerky since it will be handled more than whole muscle jerky (mixing the spices in by hand). Lastly, ground beef jerky sometimes requires more spices than whole meat jerky since you are mixing the spices into the meat instead of on the outside. If your first batch doesn’t have a really strong taste, increase the amount of spice for the second batch!
I also have more info on my How to Make Ground Beef Jerky page.

Can I substitute deer instead of beef on the beef jerky recipes?

Definitely! Deer would work great on these recipes. Feel free to switch out the beef for venison on any of them!

Why do some recipes have curing salt and others don’t?

I do about half my recipes with curing salt and half without to show that you do not NEED curing salt to make any jerky recipe. Cure makes the jerky last longer, gives it that red color, and also gives it that common “jerky flavor”. If you choose not to use cure, make sure that you heat the jerky to a temperature of 160F to kill any bacteria and eat the jerky within a couple of days. With that said, I do recommend using cure when making ground meat jerky because the meat has been handled and processed making it more susceptible to having bacteria. So in short… No jerky recipe NEEDS cure as long as the meat is heated to 160F. But it is another line of defense to kill bacteria and allows your jerky to last longer. You can read more information on my Jerky Safety Page.

If using curing salt, how much table salt do I add to a recipe?

If the recipe includes curing salt, make the recipe as stated. If the recipe does NOT include curing salt and you WANT to use curing salt; subtract the amount of curing salt used from the amount of regular salt listed. Example: If a 1 pound jerky recipe calls for 1tsp of table salt and NO curing salt but you want to ADD Prague Powder #1 curing salt. (1/4tsp Prague Powder #1 per 1 pound of meat). Use 1/4tsp of Prague Powder #1 & 3/4tsp of table salt.

I want to make low sodium jerky, do I have to use salt or can I leave it out?

You can leave it out. The salt does add to the flavor, helps prevent bacteria growth, which in turn helps the jerky last longer after it is finished drying; but is not NEEDED. If you leave sea salt or curing salt out of your recipe, make sure to eat the jerky within a couple of days. Also make sure to heat the jerky to an internal temperature of 160°F to kill any bacteria. Storing in the fridge would also help it last longer. I have found that spicy jerky still tastes great without salt.

Should the jerky meat be cooked before drying?

This depends. For jerky to be safe, it should be heated to 160°F for beef and 165°F for turkey jerky. This is best to do at the beginning of the drying process in an oven, not after it is finished drying. If you have a dehydrator that will heat jerky to this temperature, you can bypass this initial heating stage. I have tested dehydrators and list which ones were able to get beef jerky strips to 160°F, you can check it out here. If your dehydrator does not get to 160°F, pre-heat the meat in an oven. I always pre-heat any turkey jerky I make as well as use curing salt to make sure it is safe to eat. I like being as safe as possible when using fowl.

I have found that to pre-heat 1/4″ slices of beef to 160°F, it takes about 10-12 minutes in a 300°F oven. To pre-heat 1/4″ slices of turkey to 165F, about 8 minutes at 300°F does the job. This time can vary if you are heating the strips directly on a baking sheet (will heat faster) than if heated while on a rack or hanging in the oven (will take longer). I have also seen that it takes longer at my house in Colorado than it does when I make jerky at work in Oklahoma. I recommend folding a strip of meat around an oven thermometer while heating so that you can take it out exactly when it reaches the correct temperature.

Why do you pat dry the jerky strips before drying?

It comes down to personal preference with patting down the jerky. On most recipes, I pat the jerky strips dry as long as it won’t rub off most of the ingredients. The reason I pat it dry is because I hate having jerky that is sticky and messy. I don’t want to have to lick my fingers or have a napkin near by after taking a piece of jerky. It also cuts down on the drying time by having less liquid to dry on the surface of the jerky strips.

Can I use one of your photo’s on my website or blog?

Sure! The only thing I ask is that you credit the photo with two links. One linking back to the recipe post and one linking back to Jerkyholic.com

113 comments

  1. Jeff says:

    Hi Will,
    I found your site and love it, great job. My problem is I’ve tried to join and it doesn’t seem to be working, any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks
    Jeff

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Jeff. You mean you are trying to sign up for the e-mail list? I just tried it and it seems to be working. I would try it again. If it still isn’t working, let me know and I will try to figure it out!

  2. Michele Chronister says:

    Hi Will, my husband eats a lot of beef jerky!! a lot, and it is not cheap (as I am sure you know), so I got him a dehydrator for Christmas this year. So I cannot sign up on your blog for now. I have your information written down so my husband will be able to after Christmas. We share the same home email, so that is why, for now I just put my work email down to ask you a question.

    Can you use a meat slicer to to cut the meats? If so, do you recommend using one, instead of using a sharp knife?

    • Will
      Will says:

      Meat slicers are great for getting consistent slices and helps when making a lot of jerky. If he is just starting off making jerky, a sharp knife would be a lot easier and less expensive. I make A LOT of jerky and use a knife to cut my meat. You can also ask your local butcher to slice it for you. I would wait on the meat slicer, and if he starts making a lot of jerky…. That’s a great Birthday present!

  3. Max says:

    Hello Will! Absolutely love the site and thanks for all the recipes.

    I was just wondering I was going through your recipes and noticed that most of them use soy sauce or worcestershire sauce. If I were to not add them to my jerky marinade (for less sodium intake) would it affect how long the jerky lasts since I believe the soy sauce and worcestershire sauce helps with the curing due to the salt.

    Correct me if I am wrong.

    Thanks
    Max

    • Will
      Will says:

      Salt definitely helps the jerky last longer so leaving out ingredients that contain salt will make the jerky spoil faster. You can keep it in the fridge as well as vacuum seal it to help it last longer. Or you can make small batches and just eat it quickly! I normally make jerky in 1-2lb batches and eat it pretty quick!

  4. Scott C says:

    I’m trying my first batch of jerky. Heated for an hour and a half at 160 on my Master built smoker, increased temp to 190 and added some applewood chips for 1 hour, turned temp back down to 160 for 3 more hours and it seems pretty dry. Any way to increase the moistness after its already been on the smoker for 6 hours?

    • Will
      Will says:

      I have never tried to re-hydrate jerky before. Possibly adding a little water to the water tray and keeping it at a low temp could give it back some moisture. Let me know how it works, I’m interested….

      • Munch says:

        Obviously the goal is to not over dry the jerky in the first place but I have successfully rehydrated jerky. It wasn’t too overdone but overdone enough to give it a try. We just soaked it in a tub of water and tested over time. It didn’t take all that long if I remember correctly. Some of the smoke and marinade seemed to “leak” out of it so the flavor wasn’t as intense but it was still there and was better than crispy jerky.

  5. Cliff says:

    My strips of venison fall apart. What am I doing wrong. The piece do taste good though. I take frozen venison from freezer to refrigerator over night. The venison is still “icy” but cuts easily. While mixing I end of with pieces and very few strips. Thanks

    • Will
      Will says:

      I am not sure, I have not had that problem to a big extent. I like using the round from the hind leg, I find that to be the best meat for jerky. I am not sure how you are slicing your meat, but try slicing the meat with the grain at about 1/4″ thick. Slicing with the grain should prevent it from falling apart. I didn’t make any venison jerky last year due to not harvesting a deer, but next week I will be making some with a buck I shot a couple of weeks ago. I’ll pay close attention to see if I have any of the same problems. If I do, I will try to figure out what is happening and comment back on this post. At least your jerky tastes good!!!

      • Cliff says:

        Operator error. Still being partially frozen, didn’t notice already cut in thick strips. Genius me cut again and made thick chunks and pieces. Problem solved. Just didn’t notice processor had already cut in strips. Thankfully it’s much easier now.

  6. Ryan says:

    Have you ever made pork jerky? If I was to grind my own beef, what cut would you use? With ground beef, should I cook it first and get it up to 160 or is my cabelas dehydrator set at 160 good enough?

    • Will
      Will says:

      I have never made pork jerky. Sometime here soon though I feel I should get a couple recipes going for some pork. If you are going to grind your own beef, I would just pick any inexpensive lean cut such as the roasts. Really the same cuts you would use for whole muscle jerky… Bottom round, top round, eye of round… Check out my page on Best Cuts of Beef for Jerky. I have never used or tested the Cabelas dehydrator, so I am not sure if it actually heats the meat to 160F. With that said, I would recommend heating it in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes first, then dehydrating. Ground meat is more susceptible to bacteria and requires more safety precautions. Hope this helps!

  7. David Rudometkin says:

    My dehydrator only goes to 155 degrees. Do you think its safe to just use curing salt and set to 155? Or do I need to put in the regular oven initially to get it to 160? Thank you sir.

    • Will
      Will says:

      I don’t know what dehydrator you are using, but it sounds like it won’t heat the meat to 160F. I would heat it in the oven for 10 minutes at 325F to bring it to 160F, then dry it in the dehydrator. Even when using cure, it’s good practice to heat the meat to 160F.

  8. Paul Singh says:

    Hey Will, just found your page. I’m in the military and will be coming home to San Antonio in about 10 months. In South Korea right now but I also love homemade beef Jerky. I have my Dehydrator with me and will be trying out your recipes. Maybe I can find some unique Korean spices to make Jerky!

    • Will
      Will says:

      Nice man! Enjoy your time overseas, but I’m sure you are ready to get back to Texas! I bet there are some amazing flavors over there for jerky!!!

  9. Erika says:

    Hi – love your site! Great recipe ideas. One question, I’ve been using the oven set to about 170 and putting the jerky on a mesh cooling rack over a cookie sheet. Have had some good flavor, but how do you get it to come out with more of the chewy texture that most of the commercial jerky has? Depending on cooking time, mine is either brittle or seems underdone. Does curing salt help? I have some on order but haven’t gotten it yet. Thanks!

    • Will
      Will says:

      Curing salt does help a little. There are a couple big jerky brands that I enjoy their “tender” jerky and have wanted to know how they get that texture. Unfortunately, they do not make their jerky making process public. I have been trying a couple things to try and figure out how it’s done. As soon as I figure it out, I’ll let you know!

  10. Mike says:

    Going to try making my own jerky tomorrow. The recipie I chose (Cajun Beef) calls for seasoning salt. Is this something you make or buy?

    • Will
      Will says:

      Seasoning salt is something you buy at your local grocery store. It will be in the same aisle that they sell all the other seasonings. (garlic powder, pepper…)

      • Mike says:

        Thanks Will. Made my first batch, flavor was good, but too dry. Next time I’ll make the slices of meat thicker and watch it closer after the first few hours dehydrating. Even witht he errors, it disappeared pretty quickly… ; )

  11. Aaron says:

    Hello. Great site just started making beef jerky. Got tired of paying twelve plus dollars. Anywho was curious if you have used Tajin for seasoning? I’m thinking for two pounds of meat will need two tablespoons Tajin an 1/2 cup water. What do you think?

  12. Mark says:

    Just signed up and really loving the info. I’ve seen recipes using an oven but haven’t seen any comments with regards to convection ovens. Most of the recipes say to crack the door which shuts the fan down on a convection oven. Ever tried a convection oven? How about propping the door open and at the same time keeping the switch depressed with a wine Cork to keep the air circulation going?

    • Will
      Will says:

      I don’t have a convection oven and so have not made jerky in one. I would think they would be great for making jerky. The circulation of air is the reason the door is left open. This way fresh air can come in and moisture can exit. A convection oven vents the air already, so you probably don’t need to leave the door open. With the door closed it will blow air around and vent it keeping the moisture level down. Please let me know how it works, I’m interested in how it turns out!

      • Mark says:

        I cooked the jerky at 200° for a half an hour with the door closed to get the temperature up quickly and try and inhibit any bacterial growth. Then I used a wine cork to keep the switch depressed that keeps the convection fan running, lowered the temperature to 170°, (lowest setting) and cooked it for another three and a half hours. The moisture content seems to be about right and I think it did an awesome job. The oven is gas and cracking the door allowed the convection fan to remove the moisture instead of just circulating air around it.

  13. Brett Casey says:

    Prague Powder isn’t available here locally in Medford Oregon so I tried Morton’s TenderQuick. It seems to work great & it’s cheap!

  14. Linda says:

    I just made my first jerky, using your recipe for Simply Sweet Jerky, turned out fantastic. Can’t wait for Cherry season to start to make Cherry Jerky.
    Question, do you have any recipes using Chicken?

    • Will
      Will says:

      Glad you liked it! I have not made any jerky with chicken. Mostly beef and venison. I will try and put some salmon recipes up sometime soon. When making any type of fowl jerky, you need to make sure you are extra safe due to the risk of salmonella poisoning. At some point I will venture into turkey and chicken jerky, just not sure when.

  15. Chad says:

    Made jerky this weekend with 80/20 Turkey. I baked in the oven for 10 minutes to take out some of the excess juice and then into my commercial sized dehydrator. I had it in there for less than 5 hours but it came out with great flavor but the meat is literally like powder. It just falls apart. Is there anything I can do to salvage the batch I made? Is there anything to modify for my next round of making jerky so it doesn’t happen again?

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Chad! I have not made ground turkey jerky before so I am not positive how to fix this. I would say that at this point, there is probably nothing you can do to fix the already made batch. Other than that, I would try to incorporate a binding agent when making ground jerky. A good binding agent would be Corn Syrup Solids. I use this when making ground beef jerky and it works well. 1/2 tsp per 1lb of ground meat seems to do the trick.

  16. bill stockton says:

    enjoy your site.have been making jerky in smokers for years and decided to try dehydrator. used your cajun receipe and my own apple juice/cayenne receipe. for some reason it is not very spicey.marinated about 22 hours. i have two questions if i may. first: why do you say to pat with paper towels before dehydrating? spices were on meat but it stuck to paper towels when patting.and second: i like tapato hot sauce. nice taste and fire not unbearable. i would like to use it for my maranade in my next batch but i don’t know what to thin it with.should i use vinegar, wine, water or something else? thank you for the info.

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Bill! So some jerky recipes I dry with paper towels and other I don’t due to what you are saying. I would rather pat dry to prevent having excess marinade on the outside of the jerky making it “sticky” when I eat it. I don’t like eating jerky and having marinade all over my fingers afterwards. This step is not necessary, you can just strain it and place in the dehydrator. To answer your other question, I cut all spices with cold water. I feel like it doesn’t affect the flavor of the sauce I’m cutting down. Just mix and taste until it reaches your ideal spice level. O yeah, if one of my recipes doesn’t have enough spice for you, just add some more! Make it how you like it. I always recommend tasting the marinade before adding the meat. Thanks for stopping by man!

  17. bill stockton says:

    thanks for the reply, i’m going to make a batch friday with tapato marinade. being new to using a dehydrator i was glad to find your tip on using oven at 300 for ten mins. take meds for high bp and avoid salt. also stay away from worcester and soy sauce which i used all the time before. in the same boat as richard oct.25,2016 having diabetes. wonder if i could get by using brown sugar in receipes. thanks again.

  18. Rob says:

    Hi Will.
    I just prepared a batch of Jerky Lovers…
    I know it’s too late now but did you really mean 5 whole tbsp of liquid smoke???

    Rob

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Rob! I made this recipe as is from All Recipes. This is not one of my own recipes. From what I recall, this was enough marinade to make about 5lbs of beef jerky. So the 5 tbsp didn’t hurt the recipe. Most of my recipes have just enough marinade for 1lb of jerky, making the amount of liquid smoke a lot less. Also, if you are using a liquid smoke that has vinegar and other ingredients (not just smoke flavor), you can get away with using a little more. Let me know how your batch turns out.

  19. bill stockton says:

    hi will. me again. made two batches last friday, tapatio marinade (heat lasts about 15 min) and your first light. i like the combanation of spice flavors and the rea pepper/cayene sneeks up on you. i strained and did not pat. turned out great. do you have any advise on doing fish? i smoked whiting a few years in my brinkman.first two batches i was told to soak in brine and another in teriocy sauce. nasty! threw both out. did it my way and was ok. not using cure does the fish have to go in the oven same as beef? any recipes for maranade? any type fish better than others? any help would appreaitiated!
    can’t wait to try more of your jerky receipes but i have four types in the fridge now. thanks.

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Bill. Glad it turned out tasty. I wish I had more information on fish. I was trying to smoke some jerky out of Salmon I caught in Alaska last year, but never got a chance. Sadly I don’t have any first hand information for you. I do want to get into making fish jerky. When I was in Alaska on that fishing trip I bought a lot of salmon jerky and tried to get as much information as possible. My understanding is that most of the salmon jerky I bought was marinaded in a brine then smoked; or sat in a brine overnight and was brushed with a glaze before smoking. All were very salty, but tasted great! I am not sure if fish needs to be heated to 160F. Hopefully here in the near future I will get into making fish jerky, do my homework, and have a plethora of information for you guys!

      • Daisy Petunia says:

        When you get around to doing your homework on making a fish jerky, definitely check out recipes like carpaccio, ceviche, gravlax and similar first to get an understanding of them: from all I’ve read, it sounds like fish jerky recipes start off with one of these traditional no-cook cure strategies (acid, salt, sugar, etc) to make it safe to eat, and then afterward add a drying step via dehydration or smoking to turn it into jerky.

        Just so you know, 160F will cook your fish, and not just dry it; I don’t know if that’s something you’d want or not.

        But whatever you do, hard freeze your fish — −20C/−4F — for at least a week before you thaw and use it, because freezing kills the parasites.

        Never made jerky before, but I am a cook — in fact I’m here because my partner loves jerky and I want to make some for him. Great site! Thanks for all the work you’ve put into it!

        • Will
          Will says:

          Thanks for the info Daisy. I have made A LOT of ceviche in my day while living on the coast in Texas. I LOVE ceviche! I have yet to make a lot of fish jerky, but most of the salmon jerky starts with a salt/sugar brine and then smoke. Hopefully soon I will be able to get some good fish recipes on the site!

  20. bill stockton says:

    will, thanks anyway, i guess i will try some and see how it turns out. now i’m paranoid about drying at low temp’s and the bacteria. i’m leary of putting in the oven like the beef and cooking too much. if i try it i’ll let you know. happy jerking.

  21. Keith Williams says:

    Greetings Will, Found your site today, and I live in Aurora, CO. What part are you in? I made a couple of Ground beef batches in my Green Mountain Daniel Boone Pellet grill. I smoked them for 2 hours at 190 deg, then about 4 1/2 hours at 170. Must have been good because all my friends and family jumped on it like Ducks on a June Bug. So, now I’m going to make about 2 or 3 lbs more with Ground Beef and want a Garlic, Black Peppery Jerky. I want to make my own seasonings because I hate MSG and so many of the purchased mixes have the MSG. You’ve convinced me that the curing salt is necessary. I welcome any input you might have. I will say I have made other Jerky with my Dehydrator, but LOVE the Pellet Grill. Great Smoke and set and forget.
    I’ve looked through your recipes and will probably make one up from them unless you have something else to add.
    Best Regards,

    EKW

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Keith, thanks for stopping by! I recently moved to Broomfield and have been loving it. A lot cooler than Austin, TX! You are right, smoked jerky is just great. The real smoke flavor really ads to the jerky! I would say browse the site and find recipes that have little liquid ingredients. I really love the Dos Pepper Jerky. I have yet to make it with ground meat, but it should work great as it has no liquid (if you omit the water, which is there just to help marinade whole muscle jerky strips). It doesn’t have a big garlic flavor to it, but you could easily add more garlic if that’s what you are looking for. Keep in mind that when taking a recipe that was written for whole muscle jerky that you plan on making ground jerky with, you normally have to add a little extra of each spice to achieve the same final jerky flavor. Let me know which one you end up trying and how it turns out!

      • Keith says:

        Thanks Will. I’ll sure let you know. Is it a fair statement that when using ground meat, you can skip the “overnight in the Fridge?” Just mix and go?
        Thanks,
        Keith

          • Keith says:

            Well, like all great Scientistific experiments, (ha ha), the Jerky was not a total success. It is ok and will all be eaten, but I put way too much ground Pepper on the strips and ended up brushing it off after drying, at least all I could. The Jerky was not salty enough so next time I’ll add some Himalayan Salt to the mix. It was more crumbly than the last batch and I’m not sure why. Anyway, on to the next batch. I’m even thinking of trying some Sliced, across the grain lean muscle meat. Like an old Dog, I need something easier to chew. But I do love my Jerky. Love your site, keep up the good work.
            Keith

          • Will
            Will says:

            Well I am sorry to hear it didn’t turn out all that great. Slicing across the grain and tenderizing with a meat mallet before marinating also helps make the jerky a little less chewy.

  22. bill stockton says:

    good morning. i just got off the usda site ,ask karen,about jerking fish. their info is geared more towards meat and poultry. going by the info i got, it seems the same thing goes for fish. not using cure salt i’m going to put it in the oven first. if i find any more info i’ll let you know.

  23. DR1VEN says:

    I bought 4 lbs of top Round and didn’t have time to get to it right away. I started the marinade the day of expiration and it sat counter top about 2-1/2 hours before marinade and refrigeration for about 18 additional hours after date of exp…cooking to 160 in oven before smoking and then will finish with a 4-5 hr smoke(Until done obviously)…I’m going for it….What do you think?

    • Will
      Will says:

      I would go with the saying: “When in doubt, throw it out”. If it was only marinating it on its expiration date, I wouldn’t be too worried. These dates are not an exact date where the meat will go bad. I am concerned however about it sitting out for 2.5 hrs on the counter. The meat should never sit out like that. If you slice it and the marinades aren’t ready, put it back in the fridge until they are. It’s up to you, but I don’t gamble with my health. Just make another batch and make sure you are healthy!

  24. dan f. says:

    hey will,

    great site! question for you – what is the rule for using oil in marinades? e.g. olive oil, sesame oil, etc. i know, like fat, oil doesn’t dry out, so i’m trying to figure out how this impacts the beef jerky, other than reducing the overall shelf-life.

    thanks,
    -dan

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Dan. I try not to use too much oil in my recipes. It seems like most of the oil I use is when I am making some sort of Asian recipe. I used a very little amount of sesame oil in my Teriyaki II recipe. I didn’t notice any negative affects like it being oily or greasy. I also used some vegetable oil in my Vietnamese Jerky recipe. I used oil because I didn’t feel like water would work as well binding the ingredients together and allowing it to stick to the jerky. I also didn’t notice anything negative in this recipe. It might make the shelf life a little shorter, but I haven’t had this be a problem since I eat my jerky fairly quickly. Haha. So when it comes to oil, just keep it to a minimum and it shouldn’t have a negative impact on the jerky.

  25. Mike says:

    I like the content of your website but hate all those ads! One more thing, I tried printing two of your recipe on ground beef and all I got was a blank page. I have not had any problems else where.

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Mike, thanks for stopping by. Right now I am away from the house (and printer) until next week so I can’t check to see why those recipes aren’t printing right now. I will check it out when I get home though and let you know. I am guessing you were checking the site on a desktop… About a month ago I changed my ad frequency settings from ‘normal’ to ‘low’, but apparently that was only for mobile. I changed the desktop to ‘low’ as well now. So hopefully from now on there won’t be as many ads. Hope you are enjoying the site otherwise!

  26. George H says:

    Hi Will, I hadn’t made jerky for about 10 years. So I decided to “bone up” a little before making a batch.

    I am very pleased that while checking the internet, I came across jerkyholics. For the past few weeks, I have made AT LEAST one batch a week. After I made 3 batches using my original recipe, I started trying some of your recipes. First, I tried Dr Pepper Jerky, followed closely by Slap Ya Mama Jerky.

    When I share the jerky with a good friend, his, (and mine), new favorite is the latest one that I made!

    Now, I have a “great idea”. We like the Dr Pepper and the Slap Ya Mama, I thought why not try the Dr Pepper for the liquid, and Slap Ya Mama for the seasoning.

    I am also planning ub naking a number of your other recopies

    Thanks for this website Will. I am really enjoying it.

    • Will
      Will says:

      Great to hear George! Glad you are liking and enjoying the site. I love hearing about people mixing and matching and trying new recipes. There is nothing better than finding a new favorite recipe!

  27. Matt says:

    Hey Will!

    Just found your site and purchased a nesco dehydrator through it this morning. Thanks for the reviews. I’ve been doing jerky on my Traeger smoker for the past few years and my friends and family all love it! I’m usually around 180/190 degrees for 3 to 4 hours. I try to pat down the meat with a paper towel before going on the grill but after a few hours ( and once I’ve let it cool) the meat still seems to have a wetness to the touch. The flavor is spot on but I hate having to constantly wipe my hands. This is why I decided to get the dehydrator cause I want to take more moisture out of the meat. Would you recommend 90 minutes or so and then the dehydrator to finish it off?

    Thanks!

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Matt! Congrats on the new dehydrator, I’m glad I could help! I also hate sticky and wet jerky, so I feel your pain on that one. You have have it spot on though, smoke then dehydrate. Dehydrating should help prevent that sticky feel on the outside. Also, make sure you are using a real lean meat with almost no fat because a fatty meat will also make it very wet to the touch no matter whether you smoke or dehydrate. I would use the smoker just long enough to give it the amount of smoke flavor that you like (60-90 minutes usually does it), then move it to the dehydrator and finish it off on the 160F setting. Let me know how it turns out!

  28. David says:

    Hi Will
    I just finished my first batch- with the lime and habaneros marinade in a kamado style cooker. Thanks for your helpful web site

    Any suggestions on how to reduce the smoky flavour next time? It’s just an bit too bitter, and overpowers the marinade. We’re using a some kind of hardwood lump charcoal , and a small handful (3 small pieces) of apple wood chunks at the ‘smoking’ phase

    Thanks!

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey David. I have never used one of those grills before so I am not sure if it’s the charcoal or the apple wood chunks that is making it bitter. Make sure you keep the smoking phase with the wood chunks to only about an hour. If you are already doing this, then I would try a different type of charcoal when making your next batch. I really wish I could help more. Let me know if you figure out what the problem was, I’m interested in knowing if it’s the charcoal.

  29. Dave says:

    i thought i’d pass this tip along.
    Drying Ginger. Buy 2 or 3 ginger roots, no need to peel, slice it with a mandolin, dry for 2 – 3 hours, check after 2, at 150 degrees, grind it in a coffe grinder, then run it through a sieve.
    Garlic takes 10 – 11 hours at 130. Onion takes about the same time and temp, but dehydrate outside.
    Make your own brown sugar. 1 cup of white sugar, 2 – 4 Tblsp of Molasses (depending on how dark you want it). Mix until molasses is mixed throughly. Hint, doing this by hand takes a long time.

  30. Gary Mills says:

    Helluva job big man , great site, Cajun beef jerky was spot on first batch but I amped up the horseradish and red pepper flakes second batch , Omg, it’s to die for, can’t make enough , lol , buddy’s wanting to buy it but nope she is all daddy’s, but did turn them on to your site , lmao, here’s to you , Captain Morgan, 7 up and Cajunderstand beef, I can now die peaceful, Good work ,your a treasure in the captains journeys

  31. Dave says:

    Will,
    I was giving some Teriyaki jerky to a friend to taste, and he mentioned to add a dash or two of bitters. Have you ever heard of bitters? I did a google search “bitters” and came up with at least three if not four on Amazon. Fee Brothers Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters, The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters, Angostura Aromatic Bitters, Peychaud’s Bitters, Hella Bitter Five Flavor Bar Bitters Set.
    I read that it is used for alcohol drinks as a mix. What do you think for the Teriyaki II Recipe, how much would I use per pound?
    I am leaning towards the Peychaud’s, or the five flavor set.

  32. Benjamin says:

    Hi Will, already loving your site. I’m pretty new making jerky, but I’ve done a lot of research. Bought an Ezidri ultra fd1000 with 1000w and it only reach 150F. Is it safe if I only use curing salt?. I’m a little skeptical about putting the meat on the oven, does this process affect the quality (tenderness) of the jerky?
    Thanks!

    • Will
      Will says:

      I always recommend heating the meat to 160F, even with curing salt. It will feel a little different after heating in the oven, but not much. I don’t feel like it makes it tougher.

      • Benjamin says:

        Hi Will sorry to bother you again.. I followed your instructions to kill the bacteria, but after I pre-heated the meat (1/4″ slices) on the oven for 20 min at 300F, the meat looked cooked, like it was fried in a pan. And the result after the dehydrator was a Jerky that cracked pretty easy. Maybe the preheating process in the oven was too aggressive?

        Thanks!

        • Will
          Will says:

          Hey Ben. It should only take about 12-15 minutes at 300F to bring the beef strips to 160F. It will cook the meat, but should not be over cooked. Just enough to reach 160F and no higher. I am guessing the meat was over cooked and that’s why it was brittle. I am not sure why, but the venison I’ve heated seems to take 20 minutes at 350F, especially after I moved to Colorado (high altitude).

  33. Ken says:

    Sir….

    Just received ur Cajun beef recipe. You talked about an instant Marinator. Never dreamed they made something like that. How much meat does the container hold in order to marinade the beef? Can you use ground beef with this device?
    Thanks for your time and assist!

    vr

    Ken

    • Will
      Will says:

      I know, the stuff they come out with is amazing! A lot of the big jerky companies use these marinators (not this one of course, but huge commercial ones). I have not used ground beef in it, but break up the ground meat before putting it in and it should work the same magic. It holds about 5 pounds of meat with enough space to spin and mix up the marinade well.

      • Leroy Terry says:

        Hello Will,

        Read with interest the use of a vacuum marinator. I am wondering if you could put the meat and marinate in a large vacuum sealer bag and then use the vacuum sealer to vacuum out the air and infuse the marinate. It would not rotate and turn the meat, but if the meat was well saturated, looks like it might work.

        Thanks for the great recipes,
        Leroy

  34. Darryl Godfrey says:

    Great site, Will – you’ve got me dreaming about my first batch – probably the Mexican Heat.

    If making, say a 2lb batch and the recipe, is it ok to just double the ingredients? It may seem like a dumb question, but I’ve noticed in the past that it isn’t always as simple as that.

    Thanks for any advice you have.
    -darryl

  35. Recoil Rob says:

    Thought this may be of interest.
    I’ve made venison jerky for many years using the oven method. Recently I was given a NESCO FD-37 a friend wasn’t using so I gave it a try.

    I used moose rump I had from a hunt, trimmed and cut it, marinated half in a Southwest style using hot sauce and dried chili powder, the other half was done Asian style with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, etc.

    I did the Asian in my oven at 160-170, the Southwest in the NESCO, which also got to 170.

    The Asian is delicious, just the right amount of give, turns white when bent but very chewable

    The Southwestern from the NESCO however, looks great, also white when bent, but is tough as nails, jaw gets tired chewing. Can’t be the meat, all from the same batch. Might be the marinade but I’m thinking the drying process has something to do with it.

    Your thoughts?

    • Will
      Will says:

      Using different drying methods can change the texture. I have found when I smoke jerky it is a little tougher, but haven’t found the dehydrator to make it more tough than the oven. Maybe over dried a little bit?

  36. John says:

    Will,
    I’m going to start making jerky in a smoker and was wondering if you had any insights as to a good smoker? I’m leaning towards the Masterbuilt sportsmen elite 40″ right now. Thanks in advance

    • Will
      Will says:

      I only own a masterbuilt, smaller than the 40, but like it I like the electric smokers because they’re less hassle. I don’t really have anything to compare it too though. I get a lot of comments about guys using their pellet grills, but they’re expensive!

  37. Ann says:

    Have several large beef briskets in my deep freeze. How are they for making jerky?
    My son eats a LOT of jerky so looking into making my own

  38. Gail Scheller says:

    My family loves Old Bay. Can I make beef jerky uding just Old Bay seasoning?
    Thank you for your site. I’m excited to try some recipes.
    Great information. Thank you.

    • Will
      Will says:

      You can make jerky with any flavor! I would add some water or vinegar to help make a wet marinade. Could also add some liquid smoke for a smokey flavor if you wanted. Sounds like a good jerky, I also love the stuff!

  39. Stephen C says:

    Hey Will,
    I found your website a few weeks ago, Great site with lots of great information! I have always wanted to make my own jerky, just didn’t know how to go about it, and just thought it would be too complicated. You have change my mind about that. I read your reviews on the dehydrators, and decide to order the Nesco Snackmaster Pro, it arrived yesterday. By tracking it, I knew when it would arrive, so I already had the Gold Buckle Brisket Beef Jerky Recipe ready to go, made it last night. First, the Dehydrator is awesome, quiet and easy to use and not too bad to clean up either. Second, the jerky turned out fantastic with great taste. Took some to work today and everyone loved it, such an easy recipe to start with. Going to try Teriyaki II Beef Jerky tonight, can’t wait! Thank you so much.
    Steve C

    • Will
      Will says:

      I love hearing about people getting into making jerky. Welcome to the club Stephen! Your friends are going to start hounding you for more now…

      • Stephen says:

        Having a great time making Jerky, but hate cutting it with a knife. Can you recommend an electric meat slicer, don’t want to spend a fortune, but do want a good one? I bought one and sent it right back, just flimsy right out the box and didn’t even use it.
        Thanks!

        • Will
          Will says:

          I hear you Stephen. Cutting with a knife can be a pain if you have a lot of meat or just getting even pieces in general. I have not used any electric slicers because I have heard terrible things about them trying to slice fresh meat or anything that is not hard like turkey breast or salami. I do use a Weston Manual Jerky Slicer and really like it. It is made very sturdy (no plastic) and is extremely smooth and effortless when operating. I use it when I make a lot of jerky. If I am only making 2 pounds or so, I normally slice by hand because by the time I take out the slicer and put it together I could have already finished slicing it by hand. It is dishwasher safe which is nice because trying to clean in between the blades would be a huge pain in the ass. You do have to slice the roast into 1 1/4″ slabs in order for it to fit into the slicer. It’s the best one that I have found for slicing jerky so far and it’s not too expensive. Hope that helps man. If you do end up getting an electric slicer, let me know how it works out!

  40. mark maguire says:

    just started to get into jerky making, I have used the high mountain brand kits but I am now going to try other recipes and I always make batches of 5 lbs or more do you have a basic table to change the measurements from the 1 lb listed to this higher amount. don’t want to over salt or add to much and ruin a hole batch, and is the measurement for prague powder and mortons tender quick the same?

    • Will
      Will says:

      When it comes to the original ingredients, just multiply by the increase in meat. You can always start with a little less salt and add more if needed by tasting the marinade before adding your meat. Prague powder and TQ are NOT the same amounts. Prague Powder is 1 tsp per 5lbs of meat and TQ is 5 tbsp per 5lb of meat (always double check with the brand you are using). If you use TQ, do not use any other type of salt in the recipe as it might turn out too salty. You can still use other salt when using Prague Powder.

    • Will
      Will says:

      I always have smoked jerky that was made with recipes marinated in a wet marinade. Since the jerky was so moist, there was no need for the water pan. There was enough humidity from the strips at the beginning of the heating process. If you are using a dry rub, leave the pan with water or vinegar in for about 2 hours then remove the pan and finish drying the jerky.

  41. David Ellsworth says:

    I saw your dale’s jerky recipe and wanted to provide a tip. I’ve been making dale’s jerky for nearly a year now and I would suggest adding some fresh ground black pepper to this. I share a lot of jerky at work and most people prefer it with at least a little.

    Dales is super salty and it helps to counter it. I add some when I marinade and then sometimes I will add more after drying it with paper towls I rub a *small* bit of fresh ground black pepper onto the strips of meat, just be careful not to overdo it and overpower the dales flavor.

  42. Mike Pashia says:

    I have a lot and I mean a lot of left over deer. Can I use this for the recipes instead of the beef? I know deer is lean but can it replace the beef in all of the recipes?

    • Will
      Will says:

      Definitely Mike. Deer is great for jerky, because it is so lean, and these recipes would work fantastic with venison. Feel free to switch up the meat on any of them.

  43. Joe Breunig says:

    Hey Will! I have been making the dales jerky for some time now. A friend I work with got me started 9 years ago on regular dales by itself. Now I use the Dale’s low sodium, liquid smoke, and honey! Makes a great jerky! Also A1 Cajun makes for a good marinade, but leaves it saucy. So don’t make to much at once and refrigerate it. You need a Facebook page for this.

  44. Leroy Terry says:

    Hi Will,

    Tried the Dales’s steak marinade jerky using eye of round in my smoker and it turned out very good.
    A couple of tips.
    I added a couple of tablespoons of dark brown sugar to the recipe along with some red pepper flakes. This not only killed a little of the saltiness, but also gave it a little kick.
    I also purchased a bag of the little oxygen absorbers that you see in the store bought bags of jerky. A bag of 50 sells on Amazon for just a few dollars. I drop one in each ziplock bag of my jerky.
    Keep the recipes coming and I hope you and yours have a Very Merry Christmas!

  45. Dennis Stewart says:

    I got the butcher to slice the meat and most of it came out too thick so now i just hit the 4 hr mark and about 75% of the pieces feel like they are still too soft and not done yet… when i bend them the outside cracks but the inside is still so soft the pieces wont even rip apart. Should i just keep cooking them? How much longer? Will this ruin them?
    Thanks, Dennis

    • Will
      Will says:

      I’m not sure how thick the butcher cut them, so 4 hours might not be long enough. Keep drying until the jerky is done to your liking. Make sure to take it out of the dehydrator and let it cool off for about 5 minutes before you check to see if it is done.

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