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Fireman’s Beef Jerky

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When naming a beef jerky recipe after Firemen, you have to make it hot enough to set your mouth on FIRE! This jerky recipe does just that, so get a glass of milk to keep your mouth cool and let’s get to making some Spicy Hot Jerky!

Beef jerky with habanero peppers on wood table

Slicing Meat for Jerky

The first step to making beef jerky is choosing a lean cut of beef. This beef jerky recipe utilizes the great flavored beef bottom round. You can find a complete list of the best cuts of meat for making beef jerky by clicking here!

Beef Bottom Round

The second step of slicing meat for jerky is to trim the cut of meat of all visible fat.

Beef Bottom Round Trimmed of Fat Cap on Cutting board

That white fat is called the fat cap. 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.

Slicing Beef Bottom Round for jerky on cutting board

Slice the meat in 1/4″ thick pieces. If you wrap the roast in plastic and put in the freezer for an hour or two, slicing even strips is easier. If you don’t want to freeze the meat to firm it up a bit, make sure to have a REALLY sharp knife.

Slicing bottom round roast for jerky on cutting board

Then slice the meat in strips to your liking. I went with skinny strips with the grain for this jerky recipe. Slicing with the grain gives the jerky a little more chew. If you slice it against the grain it would make the jerky a little more tender and easier to chew. This is a personal preference on how chewy of a jerky you like, so slice it the way you like it!

If you need more information on slicing meat for jerky, check out my slicing jerky page, it explains EVERYTHING.

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

Reader Comment: “Invest in a Weston Jerky Slicer….Been using this unit for years. Makes great 1/4″ thick slices that look like nice thick bacon strips.” – Dan

Making the Jerky Marinade

Thirdly, put together a well balanced and great tasting marinade. Fireman’s Beef Jerky is made with two types of hot peppers and liquid smoke to finish off the FIRE flavor!

I first made this marinade with only poblano peppers, but the heat wasn’t enough. That’s why I added several habaneros to really make this jerky HOT.

poblano peppers for jerky on cutting board with marinade in bowl

Start by mixing all the ingredients, minus the peppers in a bowl or blender. Since I am using whole peppers in this recipe, using a blender is the best way to fully incorporate them into the marinade. 

beef jerky marinade and peppers in blender

The poblano and habanero peppers can be added whole or sliced (do not remove seeds, only stem) to the other marinade ingredients inside a Vitamix blender. Blending the peppers REALLY makes the jerky so much more flavorful and spicy!

jerky marinade blended in blender

After tasting the marinade with only the Poblano pepper it was realized that it needed to be kicked up a notch. Adding some habaneros remedied this giving it some real spice.

jerky strips marinating in bag

Place the previously sliced beef in a ziplock bag and pour the blended marinade over the strips. 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!

Meat 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 and pat the strips dry on paper towels. This beef was marinated for a total of 20 hours before straining. The longer the marinade process, the more intense flavor the jerky will have! 

jerky strips strained and laying on paper towels to dry

Patting the meat with paper towels removes any excess marinade which speeds up the drying process and also prevents a “sticky” feel when the jerky is finished dehydrating.

Nesco Gardenmaster Dehydrator was used when making this beef jerky recipe. I LOVE the Nesco dehydrators. They work great, are reasonably priced, and they last a long time!

beef jerky on dehydrator trays

Leave space between the jerky so air can flow freely drying each jerky strip evenly.

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. The jerky will harden slightly once it has cooled down, so not allowing a piece to cool before testing can result in over drying the jerky.

Testing jerky by bending with wood spoon holding habaneros

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 or bent in half.

This jerky took 5 hours to be 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 Beef 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 beef jerky and steps you can take to make your jerky have an extended shelf life.

This Fireman’s Beef Jerky recipe has a spicy kick but a great strong beef flavor brought out by great ingredients and fresh peppers. The liquid smoke adds to the Fireman’s hot, spicy, smokey flavor I was going for with this recipe. If smoking your jerky, you can omit the liquid smoke.

Firemans beef jerky with spoon of habaneros

Old Pro Tips:

  • Adding habaneros to this recipe really kicks of the spice flavor. Only add 1 if you don’t want REALLY spicy jerky
  • Use liquid smoke that does not include filler ingredients, such as Wright’s Liquid Smoke
  • When finished, jerky will bend and crack but not break in half. Test for doneness after a piece has cooled for 5 minutes, not while warm.
  • Store in ziplock bags or vacuum seal for longer storage. Check out my page on Storing Jerky for more information.

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

Beef jerky with habanero peppers on wood table
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FIreman's Beef Jerky

When naming a jerky after Firemen, you have to make it hot enough to set your mouth on FIRE! This beef jerky recipe does just that, so get a glass of milk to keep your mouth cool and let's get to making some Spicy Jerky!

Course Snack
Cuisine American, Beef Jerky
Keyword beef jerky, Habaneros, Jerky, poblano peppers, spicy
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 6 hours
Servings 5
Calories 17 kcal
Author Will

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 2 Habanero stem removed
  • 1 Poblano Pepper stem removed
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke hickory

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 Nesco Dehydrator and dried for 5 hours at 165F.

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

Recipe Notes

Old Pro Tips:

  • Adding habaneros to this recipe really kicks of the spice flavor. Only add 1 if you don't want REALLY spicy jerky
  • Use liquid smoke that does not include filler ingredients, such as Wright’s Liquid Smoke
  • When finished, jerky will bend and crack but not break in half. Test for doneness after a piece has cooled for 5 minutes, not while warm.
  • Store in ziplock bags or vacuum seal for longer storage. Check out my page on Storing Jerky for more information.
Nutrition Facts
FIreman's Beef Jerky
Amount Per Serving
Calories 17 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 1001mg44%
Potassium 97mg3%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 185IU4%
Vitamin C 25mg30%
Calcium 5mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Fireman\'s Beef Jerky