Do you need a dehydrator or a smoker to make beef jerky? No, so don't go running out and buying expensive appliances. Start with an appliance everyone already has, an oven!
This is the no dehydrator beef jerky recipe! Using the oven to make beef jerky is a very easy, simple, and cost effective way to make great tasting jerky.
🥩 Choosing and slicing the meat
1 - Start by buying a lean piece of meat, I am using flank steak for this recipe. Flank steak is not my favorite cut of meat to use, mainly because it produces less tender jerky. The flank steak I have access to here in Austin has a little more marbling than I like and is also about twice as expensive as my favorite cut; beef eye of round.
2 - Trim any visible fat from the meat. Fat will make your jerky spoil, so cut off as much as possible.
3 - Wrap the meat in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 1-2 hours to partially freeze. Freezing is not mandatory, but does make slicing the meat at a consistent width easier. Slice against the grain at around ⅛″-¼″ thick. When using flank steak, I have found that wider slices allow the jerky pieces to stay together better and produce better jerky.
You can also skip the freezing stage and slice your jerky using a jerky slicer. I use a Weston Jerky Slicer. It makes sure all your strips are the same width which allows them to dry evenly. Having a slicer is great when making a lot of jerky.
🧂 Marinating the meat
4 - Place the slices of beef to the side and assemble your jerky marinade. As I mentioned earlier, I am using my Chili Lime recipe for this batch, but you can find dozens of jerky marinades on my beef jerky recipe page.
Once you have made your marinade, place the beef slices in your marinade and make sure they are covered evenly. Marinate the jerky in the refrigerator for 6-24 hours.
5 - Cover the bottom rack of the oven with aluminum foil to avoid drippings during the drying process. It will make a mess if you do not put a layer of protection down. If you are like me, the last thing you want to do is spend an hour cleaning your oven because you skipped a 30 second step in the process!
⏲️ Drying the jerky
6 - Dry the strips on paper towels to soak up any excess marinade and either lay the jerky pieces across the metal rack or use toothpicks and hang the strips. I have decided to use toothpicks to hang my strips. After drying the strips with paper towels, I slide one toothpick through one of the ends of each piece of jerky.
7 - Take the metal rack out of the oven and pre-heat the oven between 170° to 200°F. Hang the strips on the metal rack while its outside the oven. You can also place the strips laying flat on a baking/cooling rack and leave the ovens metal rack in the oven while pre-heating.
8 - Once pre-heated, put the oven rack of jerky in the oven on the highest rack position, being careful not to allow the strips to fall. When making beef jerky without a dehydrator and in an oven, make sure to prop the door open with a wooden spoon to allow moisture to escape and air to circulate during the drying process.
🌡️ How to determine when it's finished drying
9 - It should take between 3-8 hours to dry in the oven depending on the thickness of the jerky. Check after 3 hours, and continue as needed. The jerky will be done when it bends and cracks but does not break in half. It took 4 hours to dry this jerky to my liking.
10. Allow the jerky to cool for an hour or so to room temperature and then store in air tight containers in the refrigerator or a dark cool place. Learn more about how long jerky stays good and how to store it on my storing beef jerky page.
That's all there is to making great tasting beef jerky in an oven. It's a great way to get started in making jerky without having to buy any fancy and expensive equipment.
Let me know if you have any questions or share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!
Yes, ground jerky can be made by extruding jerky from a jerky gun onto a cooling rack, then placed in the oven.
Yes! Still make sure to prop the door open with a spoon to let the moisture escape.
Between 170°F to 200°F is the best temperature to make beef jerky.
👨🏻🍳 Old Pro Tips
- Line any baking pan with aluminum foil to make clean up easier. Then lay the jerky strips on cooling racks on top of the pan.
- Use a wooden spoon to prop the oven door open. This allows moisture to escape and helps dry out the jerky.
- Using liquid smoke will give jerky that is made in an oven that smoky flavor.
- 1 lb eye of round
- 1 tsp mesquite liquid smoke (Don't add if using a smoker)
- 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp lime juice
- 1 zest of lime
- ¼ tsp Curing Salt (Prague Powder #1)
- Pick you favorite type of beef and trim all visible fat. Place the meat in the freezer for 1-2 hours to partially freeze. This allows for easier slicing and more consistent widths.
- Mix all above ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid. Whisk marinade until all brown sugar is dissolved.
- Remove beef from the freezer and slice against the grain between ⅛"-¼" thick.
- Add sliced beef to the container of marinade and shake well to evenly coat the meat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6-24 hours.
- After marinating, remove and pat dry the strips with paper towels. Either hang from toothpicks or lay the jerky on a cooling rack and place in a 170°F - 200°F preheated oven.
- Prop the door of the oven open with a wooden spoon and bake the jerky for 3-6 hours. Begin checking for doneness at 3 hours.
- The beef jerky will be finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half. Allow to cool for several hours before storing in an air tight container.