Home » How to Make Beef Jerky in the Oven

 

How to make Beef Jerky in the Oven

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! Using the oven to make beef jerky is a very easy, simple, and cost affective way to make great tasting jerky.

The recipe I will be using to show you how to make jerky in an oven is my Chili Lime Jerky.

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, but it does work just fine. 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; eye of round.

2 – Trim any visible fat from the meat. Fat will make your jerky spoil, so cut off as much as possible.

FlankTrimmed

3 – Wrap the meat in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 1-2 hours to partially freeze. This step is not mandatory, but does make slicing the meat at a consistent width easier. Slice against the grain at around 1/8″-1/4″ thick. When using flank steak, I have found that wider slices allow the jerky pieces to stay together better and produce better jerky.

FlankSlicedLime

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. 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.

ChiliLimeIngredients

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!

Dry the strips on paper towels to remove any excess marinade.

6 – You can either lay your jerky pieces across the metal rack or you can use toothpicks and hang your 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.

FlankwToothpicks

7 – Place the top metal rack on the highest slot in your oven, and hang your strips.

FlankHangingOven

8 – Turn your oven on to 160° or as low as it will go. My oven will only go as low as 170°. Prop the door open with a wooden spoon to allow moisture to escape and air to circulate during the drying process.

SpoonOven

9 – It should take between 3-8 hours 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.

ChiliLimeFinished

10 – Enjoy!

31 comments

  1. Mike says:

    Hi Will, Going to try the oven method, just wondering if using the convection option would be too fast or would it help
    dry more consistently, would I still have to vent the oven? Thanks Mike.

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Mike! I have personally never used a convection oven when making beef jerky but think that it would be a great option. Convection ovens move air around inside the oven as well as vent the air out for a dryer atmosphere inside the oven. You would not have to keep the door open when using a convection oven and your jerky would more than likely dry a little faster. So make sure to check on it a little sooner than you would in a regular oven. Let me know how it works!

  2. Matt F says:

    I just found your site and have my first batch in the oven. However, I am worried about the fat in my strips. I purchased a Flank Steak and while I was cutting it I found fat running in the middle. There is a lot of marbling and I am worried if this could ruin the jerky.

    • Will
      Will says:

      Cutting out the fat allows the jerky to have a longer shelf life because fat spoils quicker. It’s okay if it has some fat, just eat it within a couple of days. Also, keeping it in the fridge will help it last longer as well. It should still taste fantastic!

  3. Andree says:

    Hi, I just found your site, very nice! I wanted to know if the marinade is necessary. I’d like to make “meat flavored” jerky, is that possible? Thanks.

    • Will
      Will says:

      You can keep the marinade to a minimum if you are looking for that “meat flavor”. I have never made jerky without ANY flavor, not sure how great that would taste. I would add at least some salt and pepper to the meat before drying.

  4. John Paul Morris says:

    If you go the ground beef route the LEM gun is the only way to go. Been using one for more than 10 years and it still works good as new. Drove 90 miles to the Bass Pro Shop in Shreveport to buy one and it was well worth the trip. I use the oven, dehydrator, and smoker, but the oven always turns out the best Jeremy. I squeeze out 12″ strips from the gun and lay them across a grill rack on top of an aluminum backing tray.

    • Will
      Will says:

      The LEM Jerky Cannon is very well built. That’s why I bought one as well. When looking to buy a jerky gun, there are several on the market. Most have a lot of plastic and have reviews of them breaking after several uses. The LEM Cannon though has lasted me several years and is still going strong. Thanks for the comment John!

  5. Lonnie says:

    I found your site while looking for a recipe to make steak style jerky. I will be trying some of your recipes while I continue looking for the steak style. I may just try cooking them a lot less time.

    • Will
      Will says:

      There are several recipes on here that do not have liquid smoke. But don’t be afraid to alter any of the recipes you find on the site. If you do not like liquid smoke, just omit it from the ingredients. It of course will change the taste a little, but most recipes will still taste great.

  6. RB says:

    The oven method is great. Popping some in this afternoon. Also freeze it for future beach snacks. Experiment with marinades and make it anything you like. Thanks for sharing your tips.

  7. Jennifer van Aerle says:

    Hello Will .
    I live in Holland Europe, and I’m gone give this a try. We love Beef Jerky but its not easy to get hear in The Netherlands. Thanks for the recepy.

    Jennifer.

  8. Stephen Brown says:

    Thanks for the oven recipe. Tried it and afraid I didn’t marinate the meat long enough
    used Eye of Round and meat is bland tasting. Any ideas to spice it up or is it too late?

    • Will
      Will says:

      Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do after the jerky has dried. I am surprised it didn’t have much flavor. How long did you marinate it for?

  9. Pam Kermeen says:

    I have my meat cut in strips and marinating. Can the marinade be frozen to re-use or should it be tossed?
    This is my first batch. I am not much on measuring so I just threw in some soy sauce, Worcester sauce, steak sauce and a blend of spices with a small amount of liquid fire. Going to dry after work tomorrow.

    • Will
      Will says:

      I do not recommend freezing or reusing a marinade once you have already soaked your meat in it. It is just not recommended from a safety stand point. Discard your marinade and start fresh the next batch. Marinades tend to be pretty inexpensive anyway. Let me know how you first batch turns out!

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Brian! Liquid smoke is a liquid that can be added to your marinade which will make the jerky have a smokey flavor as if it was dried in a smoker. There are many different flavors, here is a link to a hickory and mesquite flavored liquid smoke on amazon. These are pretty common here in the States, I am not sure about Australia… but you might find it in your local grocery store. Cheers!

  10. Nancy says:

    So glad you have this site. Beef jerky is so expensive. I am going to try some of your recipes. What type of beef would you recommend to use?

  11. Marc says:

    Just found this website. I am getting super excited about making some jerky now! I will be using my oven when I finally get to making some and will let you know how it turns out! Thanks for all of the wonderful information. Keep it all coming! Marc

  12. n says:

    i want to try this, but my oven is such that i can’t leave the door propped open (it will beep at me incessantly and i can’t handle that for 3 hours!)…is it going to be a problem if i keep the oven door closed? will it change the baking time or will it change the end product greatly?? thanks…

    • Will
      Will says:

      It will change the product by not allowing the moisture to escape the oven. Unless you have a convection oven that sucks the air out, then it will probably end up alright. Otherwise, I would recommend buying an inexpensive dehydrator.

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