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Habanero Tabasco Jerky

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Watch out, this Habanero Tabasco jerky is spicy! I love spicy jerky and this recipe just jumped to the top of my favorite recipe list. You NEED to try this jerky!

Habanero Tabasco beef jerky on white plate

Original Post Date: April 30th, 2015  *Recipe updated with more pictures and step by step instructions*

Before we get into the recipe, I want to wish everyone a Happy Jerky Day! June 12th is National Jerky Day, a perfect time to make some great tasting jerky. This is a great recipe to make too! So Good….

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 make beef jerky with 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.

Westin Jerky Slicer

Not sure what way the grain runs? Need more information on slicing meat for jerky? I have put together a page on Slicing Meat for Jerky where you can find EVERYTHING you need to know when slicing meat for jerky.

Making The Marinade

I wasn’t sure how I would like this recipe as I very rarely use Tabasco on anything I eat. Don’t get me wrong, I love hot sauce, just not Tabasco. I understand that Tabasco has been around forever and has many fans of it’s taste; I’m just not one of them. The only reason I tried a recipe with Tabasco is because I have never tasted their Habanero sauce until now…..and it’s GOOD!

Ingredients for habanero beef jerky on table

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl or ziplock bag and mix well. Since this recipe does not have any whole peppers, blending in a blender is not needed. If you can’t find the Tabasco at your local grocery store, you can pick it up here on Amazon.

Habanero Tabasco beef jerky marinade in bowl

Related Page: Dozens of Great Tasting Jerky Recipes – Click Here

Add the earlier sliced meat strips to the marinade and mix around so all the strips are evenly covered. Allow the strips to marinate for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator. The longer the better! Do NOT marinate the meat at room temperature, always marinate in the fridge to prevent the meat from spoiling.

Habanero Tabasco beef jerky strips marinating in ziplock bag

Drying The Jerky

Once the meat has finished marinating, strain any excess marinade in a colander. I marinated this beef for a total of 23 hours before straining. The longer the marinade process, the more intense flavor the jerky will have! This recipe has a lot of intense flavors, so make sure you give yourself enough time and marinate it over night!

Habanero Tabasco beef jerky straining in colander

Before adding the meat to your dehydrator, oven, or smoker; lay out paper towels placing the meat strips on top. Pat dry the strips to remove even more of the excess marinade. This step will help speed up the drying process and prevent the meat from being ‘sticky’ after it has finished drying. 

Habanero tabasco jerky pat dry on paper towels

Place the strips on your dehydrator trays, oven trays, or smoker rack to dehydrate/dry the jerky. For more in depth instructions on drying your jerky, check out my Jerky Making Methods Page.

Jerky on dehydrator tray

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. You can also pre-heat the meat in an oven before drying if your dehydrator does not heat up to 160°F. Check out my page on jerky safety for more information on this process.

Related Page: Dehydrator Reviews – Click Here

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.

Habanero Tabasco jerky on plate with Tabasco bottle

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.

When I taste the lime in this jerky, I picture myself sitting on a beach in Mexico sipping on a Corona or a Dos Equis. Sand between my toes while slowly turning my beer upside down allowing the lime wedge to float throughout the beer giving it that little extra kick. In reality, I am normally in the middle of hot Texas without a beach in sight! It’s still nice to day dream…

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:

  • Trim all fat from the meat before marinating for longer lasting jerky once it’s finished drying
  • Use curing salt or celery juice powder to extend the life of the jerky
  • Marinate closer to 24 hours for the most intense flavor
  • Using smoked paprika instead of regular paprika really gives this jerky a smokey flavor

Instagram Request Box

For more in depth directions on how to dry your 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

Habanero Tabasco jerky on plate with Tabasco bottle
4.28 from 18 votes

Habanero Tabasco Jerky

Watch out, this Habanero Tabasco jerky is spicy! I love spicy jerky and this recipe just jumped to the top of my favorite recipe list. You NEED to try this jerky!

Course Beef Jerky, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword beef jerky, Habaneros
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 181 kcal
Author Jerkyholic


Lean Beef


  • 3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco Habanero Sauce



  1. Pick a lean cut of beef and trim all visible fat. After trimming the fat, place the meat in the freezer for an hour or two to partially freeze. If purchasing already sliced beef, skip steps 1 & 3.
  2. While the meat is in the freezer, combine and mix the worcestershire sauce, water, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and tabasco in a medium size bowl or ziplock bag.
  3. Remove meat from the freezer and slice against the grain between ⅛" - ¼" in thickness.

  4. Add sliced beef to the mixture and marinate for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and pat dry with paper towels.
  6. Dry with your favorite jerky making method. A dehydrator was used when making this recipe. The slices were placed on dehydrator racks so they were not overlapping or touching. Dried for 3 hours at 160 degrees and 1 hour at 140 degrees.
  7. Jerky will be finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half. Allow to cool for several hours before storing in air tight containers.

Recipe Notes

Old Pro Tips:

  • Trim all fat from the meat before marinating for longer lasting jerky once it’s finished drying
  • Use curing salt or celery juice powder to extend the life of the jerky
  • Marinate closer to 24 hours for the most intense flavor
  • Using smoked paprika instead of regular paprika really gives this jerky a smokey flavor
Nutrition Facts
Habanero Tabasco Jerky
Amount Per Serving (70 g)
Calories 181 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 70mg23%
Sodium 668mg29%
Potassium 308mg9%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 395IU8%
Vitamin C 3.3mg4%
Calcium 16mg2%
Iron 2.9mg16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

You Might Also Like:

Best Cuts of Beef for Jerky

How to Make Beef Jerky with a Dehydrator

The Best Dehydrator for Making Beef Jerky

Slicing Meat for Beef Jerky

Habanero Tabasco Jerky


  1. Casey says:

    5 stars
    First of all thank you for making this site. It has become by favorite reference thus far. I’m planning on giving this recipe a try. I would like to gain the safety of using the prague powder #1, so I can give some away and not worry about how it is stored. Can I simply replace some of the salt with the recommended amount of curing salt? Should anything else be modified? I will probably want to include the cure in all the recipes I make, just for convenience of storage/shipping.

    • Will says:

      You have it absolutely right. Just replace some of the salt with the curing salt. This recipe calls for 1 tsp of salt per pound of jerky. If using the Prague Powder #1, add 1/4tsp Prague Powder #1 & 3/4tsp of table salt. I LOVE this recipe. I just made it this past week and ate it on my hunting trip. Helped me put down a 10 point! Enjoy!

  2. Tim says:

    Hi, Will,
    Really enjoying your website and trying out your recipes. Dos Peppers being my favorite so far. Trying Habanero Tabasco today. If I use 3lbs of meat should I triple the ingredients or will that water it down too much?

    Keep up the good work!


    you live in one of my favorite cities!

    • Will says:

      Thanks Tim! With this recipe I would go ahead and triple the ingredients. Maybe start with 2 tsp of salt and then add more to taste. There isn’t a lot of liquid ingredients in this recipe, so I wouldn’t worry about it watering it down. Dos Pepper is one of my favorites too! Austin is cool man. I love this city and have had A LOT of fun here. However, I am picking up next month and moving just outside Denver. Ready to check out Colorado and do some serious hiking!

      • Tim says:

        Another one of my favorite cities! I’m a touring musician and we go there quite often. Make sure you check out Red Rocks! My favorite venue I’ve ever played.

        • Will says:

          Nice! Yeah, we already have some tickets to go see the Avett Brothers at the Red Rocks. One of the many things my wife and I can’t wait to do in Colorado!

  3. Roland says:

    5 stars
    Awesome recipe Will! Thank you for putting this up, I replaced the Tabasco with Dave’s Insanity sauce. The heat creeps on you but it’s so addictive!

  4. DCP says:

    The appearance of a Michigan hat indicates that this is going to be a superb jerky; I’ll post back with what I’m assuming are excellent results

  5. Julie-Anne Treasure says:

    Hi from Australia!
    I’m about to try your Habanero Tabasco recipe. Love your recipe site and hope to try a few more of them in the future, can’t wait to put this in the dehydrator tomorrow.
    Thanks Julie-Anne from Perth WA .

  6. Paul Ternahan says:

    5 stars
    Trying it out with ground beef today, backed off a bit on the liquid ingredients we’ll see how it turns out

  7. Paul Ternahan says:

    5 stars
    Got some Worcestershire powder, gonna try that out on this batch. Incredible flavor on this recipe, added a little Scorpion Pepper Tabasco for a little more kick!

  8. Jon says:

    This is the by far best recipe I’ve found so far. I use it as a base and I now tweak it by adding Frank’s Red Hot in addition to the habanero hot sauce. Also some Dave’s insanity to bring the heat level up. Fresh ground dried smoked ghost pepper flake from Trader Joe’s and a little liquid smoke in addition to the smoked paprika. I’ve found you can sub out the hot sauce with other brands and it still turns out delicious. Thanks for the great recipe, which is also fantastic without altering it like I do. I just crave the extra heat.

  9. Penelope says:

    5 stars
    I just made a yummy Pineapple cilantro habanero hot sauce and want this to be the main flavor so can I leave our the worcestershire sauce? Anything else I need to tweak? Thank you..love your site, just signed up to get your e-mails 🙂

    • Will says:

      Sounds tasty Penelope! You can tweak the recipe to your liking, so yes you can leave out the Worcestershire sauce. However, I haven’t found that the worcestershire sauce overpowers this recipe. I would split your meat and make half with the Worcestershire sauce in it and the other half without and see which one you like better! Let me know how it turns out!

  10. Nathan says:

    5 stars
    I scaled this up by 3x and used 2 tbsp of Carolina reaper puree instead of Tabasco, and used liquid smoke instead of paprika. By far my favorite tasting jerky I’ve made. Definitely a spicy one! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  11. Nathan says:

    Hey Will, thanks for the reply. I actually saw that elk recipe of yours but decided to follow this one with some tweaks. I got this great tasting puree off Amazon from a company called Magic Plant Farms. Some of the reviews say it came to them spoiled/already opened, which sucks but that wasn’t my experience. The jar is pretty big and it’s the best bang for your buck that I could find. Just three ingredients (Carolina reaper, salt, and citric acid) and it smells and tastes DELICIOUS!! I’d never tried anything hotter than habanero before trying this so I was pretty apprehensive, but in small doses it’s totally manageable. Especially in a marinade rather than straight up. Typically if my mouth can handle it, my insides are agreeable. But oh man, this stuff knocked me on my butt. I had about 1 tsp of it straight with some home fries I made and I ended up with cold sweats and vomiting. Won’t be trying they again. But in the marinade it tastes amazing.

    I’m marinating my second batch of this recipe (with my tweaks) now and cut my beef a bit thicker because my jerky has been coming out pretty thin and dry. I was thinking about buying that jerky cutter you’ve linked to, but I’ve gotten pretty good at cutting uniformly after I freeze the beef for a bit. I also wasn’t using curing salt before so I was a bit nervous of undercooking it, but now I’m using curing salt so I’m a bit less worried about that. I’ve got the Nesco FD-1040 which goes up to 160 °F but when I check the meat with a digital thermometer it never seemed to reach that temperature. So the curing salt gives me peace of mind. Hopefully this batch will produce good results!

    If you’re into spicy stuff, I highly recommend that puree I got. It really added to the flavor and heat.

    Thanks for all the great recipes (dos pepper is another one of my favorites). Keep it up and I look forward to more of your recipes and techniques 🙂

  12. Munch says:

    Great disclaimer on this. I don’t like Tabasco either so I was going to opt out on this recipe. Reading that you feel the same has changed my mind. I’ll definitely give this a try!
    Any advice on what kind of wood to use when smoking this jerky?

  13. Rick Georges says:

    I just bought a couple of dehydrators and got started with experimenting with different cuts of beef and lean ground beef. I was surprised at how good the lean ground beef is. As far as the seasoning, I’ve tried the pre-packaged spices and homemade concoctions and have been pleased and amazed with both. I like to experiment with all different things, like if I want sweet jerky, I add honey and brown sugar, if I want hot jerky, I add crushed red peppers, if I want sweet and spicy, I add all of that. I’ve been using soy sauce, worchestshire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, smoked flavoring, Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, different seasoned pepper, including zesty lemon pepper, both mixed in the beef and sprinkled on top. I like to experiment and I never seem to make the exact batch more than once, which is fine with me. I can’t wait to try your Tabasco habanero recipe as that is my favorite hot sauce. I also want to try your other recipes too! Thanks for a great site!

    • Will says:

      Experimenting is the best way to make jerky! Write down your recipes in a book and keep track of them, that way when you make a really good one you can recall what you put in it! Haha. The Habanero Tabasco is one of my favorites, let me know how you like it.

  14. Jarkko Honkanen says:

    4 stars
    I have one batch in the dehydrator. I dry mine with much lower temperature..I use only 122F . I have always used low temperatures. 165F means you are cooking your meat not dehydrating 🙂

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