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Jerkyholic’s Original Ground Beef Jerky

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This original ground beef jerky recipe is rich and flavorful as well as easy and quick to make! No marinating required. Everyone will love these meaty protein snacks.

A rich and flavorful ground meat beef jerky that is easy and quick to make! No marinading required. Everyone will love these meaty protein snacks. | Jerkyholic.com

I have had several questions lately about making beef jerky out of ground meat. There will soon be a page on here dedicated to making ground meat jerky (How to Make Ground Beef Jerky); but in the meantime I thought I would share a great, quick, and easy recipe that you can whip up anytime.

Jerkyholic Original Beef Jerky made with an LEM Jerky Gun


Most of the ingredients are ones that you will have hanging out in your pantry. The only ingredient that you might not have and can see in the picture above, is curing salt (It’s the pink salt in the white 1/4 tsp).

If you decide not to use curing salt, substitute with 1/2 tsp of table salt and make sure to heat your jerky to 160°F to kill any potential bacteria.

When making ground beef jerky, liquid ingredients have to be kept to a minimum. I did add a tiny amount of soy sauce and worcestershire sauce to round out the taste of this jerky, but most ground jerky recipes will have 1oz of liquid ingredients per 1lb of meat. (1oz of liquid ingredients = 2 tbsp)

I used my super fantastic LEM Jerky Cannon to squeeze out and form my jerky strips for this recipe . I REALLY love this jerky gun. I feel like everything we buy now a days is made completely of plastic and lasts for about 3 uses before it breaks and finds its way to the trash.

Well, not this jerky gun. This baby is made to last and I love it for that. Super easy to use and comes apart easily too, making clean up a breeze.

Jerky Gun Being Filled

Mix all the ingredients into one pound of lean ground beef, at least 90% lean. I used 96% lean 4% fat ground beef when making this jerky.

Mix well and refrigerate for 4-24 hours to help the meat bind together. Take out of the fridge and pack into the jerky gun making sure there are no air pockets.

Shoot strips of jerky onto your dehydrator trays or on baking sheets if using an oven.

Shooting strips of jerky on dehydrator tray

Dehydrate for about 3 1/2 to 5 hours at your dehydrators highest setting until beef jerky has reached 160°F and has dried. I used my Excalibur Dehydrator which took me only 3 1/2 hours to dry this batch.

If using an oven, heat the strips for 10 minutes at 300°F with the oven door closed. Then turn the temperature down to the oven lowest setting (normally about 170°F), crack the door and “cook” until it has dried.

The ground jerky will be a lot easier to chew and has a totally different texture than whole muscle jerky. The only way to see whether you like ground jerky is to make a batch and eat it! Let me know how it turns out.. Enjoy!!!

Jerkyholic Original Ground Beef Jerky Finished

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

How to make Beef Jerky in the OvenLearn how to make Beef Jerky in a dehydrator. It's easy, fast, and delicious! | Jerkyholic.com

3.89 from 118 votes

Jerkyholic's Original Ground Beef Jerky

This original ground beef jerky recipe is rich and flavorful as well as easy and quick to make! No marinating required. Everyone will love these meaty protein snacks.
Course Snack
Cuisine Beef Jerky
Keyword ground beef jerky
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 134 kcal
Author Will


Lean Beef

  • 1 lb Lean ground beef 10% fat or less


  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp curing salt prague powder #1
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp curry powder red
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder


  1. In a bowl, combine the 1lb of ground beef with the other ingredients
  2. Mix the ground beef and seasonings thoroughly
  3. If using a jerky gun, load the gun with the ground beef mixture & shoot 4-5" long strips onto a dehydrator tray or on a baking sheet
  4. If not using a jerky gun, spread the ground meat on a baking sheet, cover with wax paper, and roll with a rolling pin until meat is 1/4" thick
  5. Slice the pan of beef into jerky strips 4-5" long and 1" thick
  6. Dry with your favorite jerky making method. I used a dehydrator at 160F for 3 1/2 hours
  7. Ground jerky is finished when it first starts becoming dry to the touch. It should bend without breaking in half. If it cracks in half when bent a little bit, it was over dried
Nutrition Facts
Jerkyholic's Original Ground Beef Jerky
Amount Per Serving (70 g)
Calories 134 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 56mg19%
Sodium 295mg13%
Potassium 348mg10%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Protein 20g40%
Vitamin C 0.6mg1%
Calcium 12mg1%
Iron 2.6mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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

Jerkyholic\'s Original Ground Beef Jerky


  1. Brandon Marceaux says:

    5 stars
    My dehydrator and gun are coming in today! After i get the hang of it we can talk jerky over a beer. I’ll even buy you one for helping me get started using your recipes my fellow Austinite! Our wives can talk about shopping or something…lol

    • Will says:

      Nice man! You are going to love making jerky. It’s an addiction for sure. A beer and jerky talk sounds right up my alley.

      • Terry says:

        I used high mountain seasoning and cure but it came out like plastic lol think it must of been the cure said it also acts like a binding agent any sugestions

        • Will says:

          Hey Terry. Not too familiar with the High Mountain Seasoning. I would make sure that you are using the correct amount of cure per the weight of your meat. I am guessing they sell their seasoning packages for 5lb or 20lb. So make sure to use the right amount of seasoning for the amount of meat you are marinating. I have not had any jerky turn out like plastic…

      • Debra says:

        You said it. I just started making jerky and it doesn’t last. My daughter is over the moon. I am asking the family who knows about the jerky to keep the news quiet. I don’t want to be declining requests for jerky. It’s delicious.

    • Matt says:

      5 stars
      Question: Can I substitute ground turkey for the ground beef and still get the same results?
      I appreciate your help.

      • Will says:

        You can totally do that Matt. Just make sure that the internal temperature of the turkey strips reach 165F, unlike 160F for beef, when pre-heating in the oven. (It is best to pre-heat turkey in the oven to avoid any potential bacteria.)

  2. Scott says:

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I’ve been looking for ground beef jerky recipes that doesn’t have a packaged spice mix. I’ve found a few but the ratios of meat to liquid were off. Today my son and I will be making a batch of your bourbon jerky and a batch of my jerky recipe but I can’t wait to try your ground beef recipe! I will also post my review about the bourbon in a couple of days. Thanks again.

  3. Maurice says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe!!! I just got an Excalibur like yours and it puts my old Harvest Maid to shame (you do at times get what you pay for)! The best thing is that because I can now dehydrate at 160F I can use regular sea salt instead of curing salt. So much better than the two part mystery mixtures I’ve been using over the years. I now know what it is going in it.

    My wife even likes it and she’s always stuck her nose up to jerky.

  4. Bill Gotschika says:

    5 stars
    I am glad I found your directions. My daughter has Ciliacs disease (do not know how to spell it) and cannot have wheat products and almost ALL store bought products contain wheat. Now I can use your recipe minus the soy sauce and do some experimenting with different recipes.

    • Will says:

      I’m glad I could help. If it is only wheat that she can’t have, you can buy Tamari. Tamari is a Japanese soy sauce that is made out of 100% Soy Beans (some have a tiny amount of wheat, so check the label). My wife buys a brand called San-J, it is 100% soy, 0% wheat & gluten free. Here is a link to purchase San-J Tamari on Amazon, but you should be able to find it at your local grocery store.

    • Lindsey says:

      Tamari sauce can be really salty. I like to use coconut aminos to replace soy sauce. It’s still salty like low sodium soy sauce but has a sweetness to it. I can find it either online or at Kroger.

  5. Mike says:

    4 stars
    Howdy! First post…thanks for the site. Have made lots of jerky over the years, particularly from deer. It’s been a while, your site inspired me to fire up the dehydrator. I’ve never made ground beef jerky so I decided to try this recipe. I didn’t have, nor could get curing salt locally (will order some) so I used Creole seasoning instead (high in salt) and latex gloves. I also minced up one large jalapeno and added it to the mixture. I love spicy…when I’m sweating and my nose is running I’m in heaven! 😉 Anyway, just gave a fresh batch the taste test. Hmmm. Wonderful flavor. But the texture is really weird. When I bend it it just barely wants to crack, so I know it’s done. But I just can’t get accustomed to it. So I’ve put it back in the oven for a bit. I’ll see how it turns out. I have a second batch of Tabasco Habanero marinating until tomorrow. We’ll see how that turns out. Again, thanks a million. Made your chili lime recipe with eye of round…the bomb!! Mama liked it a lot!

  6. Benedict Gomez says:

    Why not mix the cure with the wet ingredients first so it dissolves? Wouldn’t it distribute the cure more evently to the meat?

    • Will says:

      You could totally do that Benedict. I have never had a problem mixing it straight in the bowl with the ground meat, but mixing the cure with the liquid ingredients before adding to the beef is a great way to distribute the cure evenly. Thanks for the heads up and stopping by the site!

  7. Joe E.S. says:

    3 stars
    Hi Guys !!! Im smoky Joe I smoke fish but mainly do deer I use the lean muscle from shoulders and hams. Loins Well !!!… Their breakfast steaks I just butterfly cut sauté with a little butter and salt n pepper. Mmmm. Now about ground jerky well I must admit I have never tried it YET !! but I have ordered the Lem gun since you are a fanatic and I believe you. I also make slim jims with venison the variety of flavors is in your imagination. Where I get my seasoning is on the internet there are several places that sell every ingredient. the guys I work with love my tar-e-o-key. Dam I cant spell. grilled steak caygen sweet pepper. I use apple wood with a chipotle for smoke cheery too if I can get it. im talking right out of the orchard. Well you im getting hungry.LOL talk to you guys later. Keep up the good work its always a treat when its good to eat.

  8. Katie says:

    Do you refrigerate the meat and seasonings before dehydrating? and Do you place in the oven for a bit before or after the drying? I am VERY new to this jerky making idea… Thanks for the recipe! super excited to try it soon!

    • Will says:

      Welcome to the world of making jerky Katie! You always keep the meat refrigerated before you use it. But when making ground beef jerky, you do not need to marinate the meat like you would with whole muscle jerky (sliced meat jerky). So when you are ready to make your jerky, pull the meat out of the fridge, mix with the seasonings, and immediately start making your jerky. I would place it in the oven BEFORE drying. Bacteria can become more heat resistant during the drying process, so heating it to an internal temp of 160F BEFORE (or towards the beginning if your dehydrator heats to 160F) of drying is key.

  9. Chris says:

    Hi There, I found your site while searching for dry cure recipes for ground meat jerky. I have always made muscle meat jerky using marinades, but I got a jerky gun for Christmas and found it far easier to prep and get consistent size pices. What I didn’t care for was the saltiness of the commercial seasoning and/or cure that I used. So I started my quest for alternatives. My question is regarding the amount of Prague powder you use in this recipe. By all accounts the use of Prague power as a preservative in meat should be on the order of 1 tsp per 5lbs of meat. While close, your 1/4 tsp per 1lb of meat seems a little high. Can you tell me how it worksed? I am assuming the taste was good. In terms of curing, how did you store the finished product and how did it hold up/last?

    • Will says:

      It is true that it is 1 tsp per 1lb of meat. For easy measurement purposes, these companies say to use 1/4 tsp per 1lb. Technically, you could use a little less than 1/4tsp per 1lb and be fine. I do not find the Prague Powder #1 to be that salty. I DO like salty jerky though, so my taste and yours might be totally different. The Prague Powder is very effective in preserving the jerky for longer than if it was not used. Also, when making ground meat jerky there is more handling of the meat than whole muscle jerky, for this reason there is more chance of bacteria to be introduced into the meat. The cure helps kill these bacteria and make the jerky safer. The jerky would last about 10-14 days, though my jerky doesn’t ever last that long…

  10. Christopher Cooper says:

    5 stars
    Just wanted to say thank you for the reply. I made this recipe with ground buffalo and a few minor substitutions based on the spices I had in my pantry. I did the math on the curing salts and using my kitchen scale used .04oz of curing salts. I am very happy with the finished product! Just to be safe I am keeping the finished product in the refrigerator.

      • Keegan says:

        If I am making ground jerky using the Presto dehydrator, should I bake the strips before or after in the oven to make sure they reach a high enough temperature? Also, what temperature would you bake it at and for how long? Thanks for the site and all the great recipes and tips!

    • Debra Wendt says:

      5 stars
      I worked out the cure/prussian/pink salt by converting it to grams. For 100 pounds of meat 4 ounces/113 grams. 50 pounds of meat 2 ounces/56 g. 10 pounds 11.3 grams, 5 pounds 5.7 grams, 1 pound of meat, 1 gram. I have an electronic kitchen scale so it is easy for me to weigh this out. I’m making my first batch tonight. Unpacking the Nesco and the Sigval Gun. I am using 4 pounds of meat. Two buffalo and 2 ground beef. Thank you for the website and recipes!

  11. Jenn says:

    Hi Will…
    I’m about to attempt making ground beef jerky. I’ve purchased the jerky gun and my beef. I have a Nesco dehydrator with I believe four trays. How many lbs of ground beef will I need to fill up my trays. I don’t want to defrost more than I can use at a time. Also, by about how much does a lb of beef shrink to?

    Your site is awesome and contains so much valuable information. Thanks for putting this all out there!!!

    • Will says:

      Hey Jenn! I wouldn’t defrost more than 3lbs of meat. I would expect to get about 3lbs of ground beef on 4 trays. Also expect to lose about 50%-70% weight loss when making jerky! You will lose a lot of weight, but that’s still a good amount of jerky. Good luck, and let me know how it turns out!

  12. Drew says:

    5 stars
    Hey Will, great site and great recipes. I’ve been making Jerky for a while, pretty experimenting along the way. I am following a Paleo program so many of these recipes are perfect- with a few minor adjustments. For those who don’t want soy sauce, you can get an alternative called Coconut Aminos (Amazon and Trader Joe’s have them… different than liquid aminos!). I bought a Chef’s Choice slicer 615 model- very happy with it. it’s just great for making sure the slices are cut uniformly. The biggest thing to remember: freeze the meet for 2-4 hours and then when slicing you should rotate the meat every couple of slices as it tends to get caught it up if you don’t. Any way, I’ve got my beef marinating in the fridge and look forward to smoking it in a day or two. Thanks for the recipes (I make a ground turkey and ground chicken jurkey… a little onion powder, frank’s red hot and celery salt… “Buffalo Jerky” without the wing-mess).

    • Will says:

      Hey Drew, thanks for stopping by. My wife uses Coconut Aminos instead of soy sauce in her cooking all the time. It’s pretty good! Thanks for the information about the meat slicer. I have been staying away from them because of of so many people stating that the meat gets caught and won’t slice. I might get a couple and give them a try pretty soon though. I’ll have to check out the Chef’s Choice 615 and try the rotating method. Thanks!

    • Will says:

      Hey Joan! Dehydrate for about 3 1/2 to 5 hours at your dehydrators highest setting until beef jerky has reached 160°F and has dried. If using an oven, heat the strips for 10 minutes at 300°F for 10 minutes with the oven door closed. Then turn the temperature down to the oven lowest setting (normally about 170°F), crack the door and “cook” until it has dried. Hope that helps!

  13. Dale Mance says:

    Will, your grnd beef recipe sounds great. Have been making jerky with my dehydrator off and on for years using london broil/top round cuts. They’re pretty much through the roof price wise and have been looking for recipes for grond beef. Can’t wait to try yours!!
    I hope to start backpacking some “long trails” and the jerky will be a main staple on the 1-3 nighters. Question for you regarding this plan…should I plan to vacuum seal the jerky and open as I consume them while on the trail? Is the vacuum sealing overkill for this or are zippys ok? If these turn out as good as the reviews, i plan to make quite a bit per batch and am wondering again if I should vacuum seal then then freeze, refrigerate, or can I just keep then at room temp? Any estimate how long these keep once dried (in freezer/fridge. at room temp?

    Appreciate your input.


    • Will says:

      Hey Dale, thanks for stopping by the site! If you are making jerky and taking it on a 1-3 night hike, ziplock bags would be fine. If you are making more of it and wanting to store it for future hikes, I would vacuum seal it and refrigerate up to 1-2 months, and freeze up to 6 months. You can check out my page on storing jerky to read a little more. Hope that helps!

  14. Merv says:

    5 stars
    I make bologna from various cuts of meat (ground). Usually as lean as possible, though the fat is interesting if I’m hanging it over a flame to smoke it. Fat makes good tasting smoke 🙂

    The water ratio is 1/3C per pound, much wetter than you’re using for jerky, but homemade bologna is much more emulsified than the homemade ground jerky I’ve seen. So I’m wondering, could you put the bologna mixture in a jelly or wort bag and let it drip in the fridge ’till it’s about right to make jerky? Especially with a jerky gun.

    LOL I think I just described my next project!

    BTW, I have a feeling I wont get away without leaving a basic bologna recipe 🙂

    3 pounds chuck roast (or ground beef if you don’t have a meat grinder)
    1 cup ice cold water
    1 tablespoon sea salt OR 1½ tsp. Tender Quick
    1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
    1 teaspoon all-natural liquid smoke flavor
    ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    ½ teaspoon onion powder

    Grind meat in food processor with spices.
    Add ice water and process for 30 seconds.
    Chill meat in freezer 10-20 minutes before proceeding.
    Divide meat mixture in half.
    With damp hands, form each mixture into a log, compressing with hands as you work.
    Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap. Like rolling a smoke
    Refrigerate for 24 hours.
    Preheat oven to 300 F.
    Remove plastic wrap from meat.
    Cook meat on a baking rack propped over a rimmed baking sheet for 30 minutes at 300 F, turning halfway through.
    Reduce heat to 250 F and cook an additional 2½ hours.
    Refrigerate up to 3 days. May be frozen for longer storage.

    Use plenty of liquid, it needs to be really smooth before making log of it. I’ve started using bread pans to cook it. And a mixer with dough hooks to blend it. The liquid cooks out. Note, Liquid is not necessarily water 🙂

    • Will says:

      Man, thanks for the recipe! I have never made bologna before, but I should definitely try it. I would think that if you let it drip until it’s dry enough, you should be able to make jerky out of it. I am not sure though. Let me know how it turns out!

  15. Duane Rasmussen says:

    In this recipe is the ginger fresh or powder and is the curry red or yellow? Really want to try this out. Everything else is so salty and I already have Prague powder from making kielbasa.

    • Will says:

      I used ginger powder and the curry was red. Thanks for the question, I updated the recipe to reflect this. Let me know how it turns out Duane!

      • Duane Rasmussen says:

        Cool. Thanks. How do you think using teriyaki instead of the soy would be. Would it have to be in addition to and omit the worcestershire?

        • Will says:

          Teriyaki could taste great. I would recommend putting teriyaki instead of soy with all the other powder ingredients. Then taste it and see if it needs something else. Add the worcestershire sauce if you think it needs a little bit more flavor. I have not made that recipe with teriyaki instead of soy, so I am not sure how it would taste. It sounds interesting though! Let me know how it turns out!

  16. Rose says:

    I mixed up a large batch of ground beef and pork with seasoning and cure to be dehydrated. I had a pretty good bit left over and wondered if I could freeze it to be used later?

    • Will says:

      Hey Rose! I have never frozen marinated meat for a while before dehydrating. I’m not sure if it’s 100% safe. I would freeze it and just inspect it very well before dehydrating after thawed.

      • Jason says:


        If I mix more than intended then I keep making it until it’s all gone. Currently have 2 dehydrators and my oven working on batches now. 15 pounds of jerky is a tiring task. Oh well! My kids, wife and I usually share just as much as we eat. Pretty sad it will be gone this time tomorrow.

  17. Bill says:

    4 stars
    Hello Scott,

    Great web site. Have you used this recipe for venison? Do you always use the pink salt? What are your thoughts omitting this?


  18. Sherman D Brown says:

    Looking to get into making my own jerky. Thought I’d start off experimenting with ground beef then work on up to beef strips.

    There’s an Obertos store just down the road from me, but the prices are way to high. Got an old(er) Nesco dehydrator & thought I’d put it to use.

    Great, great site you’ve got. Signed up for emails & looking foward to trying some of your recipes. Thanks.

    • Will says:

      Awesome to hear Sherman. I am sure you will be hooked and move to whole muscle jerky pretty quick. Once you start making your own jerky, it’s hard to go back to paying the high prices for the store bought stuff!

  19. Josh says:

    I started drying in the dehydrator five hours ago. I didn’t cook it beforehand to 160. It’s been at 130 for about two hours now. Is it going to make it up to temp or do I just pull it and throw it in the oven?

    • Will says:

      Sorry I wasn’t able to respond right away Josh. If the meat hasn’t reached 160F in 3 hours, it’s not going to reach 160F. Even if it did reach 160F, you really want it to get to that temperature towards the beginning of the drying process. It is better to heat the jerky strips at the beginning, but heating it at the end is better than nothing.

  20. New to jerky says:

    4 stars
    Does the cure still work if you mix everything up and put it in right away without letting it sit in the fridge? Like let’s say I mix all ingredients and pop it into my jerky gun and put it into the dehydrator within 20 mins.

    • Will says:

      If you are using Prague Powder #1 (curing salt #1) it will work if used right away as you mentioned. PP#1 does NOT require a sit time to work, curing salt #2 does. So make sure to buy PP#1.

  21. Will, thanks for the site, I have learned a lot about making jerky from it. It helped inspire me to get started. I have done 4 batches with various jerky seasoning packs (hi mountain and backwoods) with pretty good results. I tried my first batch using a recipe similar to yours and had odd results. The mixed meat seamed less sticky when mixing, and didn’t hold together as well when shooting. Previously I could get long segments with ease, this stuff falls apart when shooting. The dehydrated results are really crumbly, and not very chewy. Any troubleshooting suggestions?

  22. Lori and Mike says:

    Will,great site. Very informative. Thank you for that.
    Here is our issue. We have been making roast beef jerky with a soya sauce brown sugar and liquid smoke marinade for over 20 years. We recently upgraded to the Cabelas electric dehydrator and jerky blaster to make ground beef jerky. We purchased the Nesco mixes. We found them too salty and had to throw all our dehydrated meat in the garbage. Yesterday we tried the kikoman teriyaki marinade added spice and 1/2 tsp cure from the Nesco package for 2 lbs of ground beef. For the other 2lbs of ground beef we used the Nesco package of original seasoning and only 2tsps of the package cure that came with it. Much better delicious in fact. So now did we put enough cure in it? And why was the Meat with the Nesco pkg slightly red inside when you bite into it? Any thoughts?

    • Will says:

      Hey guys, thanks! I am not sure what type of cure Nesco uses in their packets. If they are using prague powder #1 (cure #1), there should be 1 tsp per 5lbs of meat. It should have the correct amount of cure in the package for the amount of meat it states. How big of a packet was the seasoning for? 5lb, 10lb, or 25lb of meat? You used 1/2 tsp on 2lbs of teriyaki and 2 tsp on the 2lbs of nesco original?

  23. Lori and Mike says:

    Thanks for the quick reply.. the ingredients for the cure are salt sodium nitrite (0.62%). We measured out the cure from the package and there was mor than 1 tbsp of cure for 2lbs of meat. This seems like to much and was too salty.
    So reading your recipes the ratio seems to be 1/4tsp per 1lb of meat.
    When we made our own adjustments (above post) we put a little more cure for meat that we just used dry seasoning and less for the meat that have kikkoman merinade as that contains salt too.
    I guess our main concern is safety of the meat.
    Do you know why the meat that had more cure in it was red inside when you bite into it. I should mention we dehydrated for 8.5 hr at 160 f
    Anymore thoughts?

    • Will says:

      The packet that is included is not a common cure #1. Cure #1 is 6.25% Sodium Nitrite and 93.75% regular table salt and you only use 1/4tsp per 1lb. So it sounds like the cure packet that you have is probably about the same amount of total sodium nitrite but with A LOT more regular table salt. That is why it is so salty. So when you only used 1/2 tsp of their cure packet on the 2 pounds of teriyaki, there was not enough cure to correctly cure the meat. (but as long as you heat the jerky to 160F it will be safe to eat) This is why I like using the cure #1, because there is not much salt filler along with the sodium nitrite allowing me to add extra salt if I want or only add the 1/4 tsp. The reason the jerky you made with the 2 tsp of jerky turned red is because the Sodium Nitrite makes the meat red and gives it that common cured taste. This is normal. If you use the correct amount of cure, the meat will be red.

  24. Lori and Mike says:

    Wow….thanks Will for all that information that’s awesome!
    So I still don’t feel totally confident with this batch either since the cure we used isn’t the common cure #1. But I would hate to throw this batch out too. Mike just purchased the Prague Powder #1 online as we can’t find any locally where we live.
    We will wait to try another batch until it arrives. Do you just sprinkle this cure onto the meat or mix with water or a liquid? Thanks again you sure know a lot about beef jerky! Great job!

  25. Perri says:

    This recipe looks great. We would like to mix the dry ingredients (less cure) ahead of time in a larger quantity. If we do this and assuming it is well mixed, any suggestions for how much of the “mix” we should add to 1 lb ground beef? Has anyone figured out a ratio?

    • Will says:

      I would just add up the amount of dried ingredients in the recipe, 5 1/4 tsp, and add that. As long as it is mixed well it should be the right amount.

  26. Mark K says:

    Hey Will, my name is Mark. I am completely new to this. I am buying a jerky gun and dehydrator tonight. I am getting married in 6 months so I am on a protein diet. I am unable to have any carbs/sugars. I am only eating meat and green vegetables. Are there any teriyaki sauces or recipes I can use to make ground meat jerky that’s are completely carb and sugar free. That includes sugar from fruits. Thanks for the help.


    • Will says:

      I would assume all teriyaki sauces have sugar in them, but you can find recipes that don’t have sugar. More of the spicy recipes don’t have any sugar and most don’t have carbs. Just look around on my Recipe Page for ones you like.

  27. 5 stars
    Mines about half-way there as I write this.
    I did a batch of sliced roast with your original recipe and it was delicious!
    My local Butcher Shop is running a buy 2 pounds, get a 3rd pound free. So I got 3 lean pounds.
    I messed up my first batch using a different recipe, so I came here to get another good one from you, Will. But the “wrecked” batch supplements my little buddies dog food, he loves it!
    I’m watching this run close.
    If I can get consistent, good tasting ground meat Jerky, I may abandon long muscle.
    I like things I can use two ways. A store of ground beef can be used dozens of ways.
    So if I was to pilfer a pound here and there for jerky…. ;^)
    I sure appreciate that you make your recipes printable, Thank You!
    I got a dehydrator as a present at Christmas. Goodby oven!
    Tell Linda that Grandpa Sonny sez Hi! You two enjoy the mountains while you’re young. I sure did at your ages.
    Now I’m just an old fart taking pictures of the stars, smokin meat, and making Jerky.
    Retired. I was tired yesterday, and I’m re-tired today.
    Thanks Will!

    Waiting up for the batch to be done,
    Grandpa Sonny

    • Will says:

      Linda said Hi! Just got back from snowboarding Breckenridge yesterday and heading up to Rocky Mountain NP for some winter hiking today. Smoking meat, watching the stars, and making jerky….. Sounds like retirement ain’t half bad!

  28. 5 stars
    Woo-Hoo! That’s good!
    I pulled my batch at about the best time, still soft, but done. Delicious!

    I substituted Cyan Pepper for the Curry. Sorry, didn’t have curry in the spice drawers.
    And I added Smoked Paprika, Red Pepper Flakes, and some Celery Seed.

    Man, that’s so good! We need more stars.

    Thanks Will!

    Grandpa Sonny

  29. Laura says:

    Hey, just found your sight right AFTER making my first batch of jerky (1 lb ground beef); I used liquid smoke, garlic powder, dried chili pepper, and SeaSalt as recommended from a recipe; I had it on med/high on the dial for most of the 7 hours, highest being 160… im afraid now to eat it because of bacteria? The thicker pieces are chewy better than the crispy thinner pieces… chewy is good? Thanks for any help!

    • Will says:

      Hey Laura, sorry for the late response. There are guys that make jerky and don’t heat it to 160F and don’t get sick. I have had food poisoning before and don’t leave anything to chance. Especially when dealing with ground meat, I make sure my dehydrator dial is on 160F from the beginning of drying. It’s up to you… I would just make another batch and eat that one. Chewy jerky is good, it shouldn’t be over dried and brittle.

      • Laura says:

        Thanks so much for the reply; I have iron intestines and have been eating it…lol… I eat a ketogenic diet and always looking for good ways to flavor my jerky without sugar or carbs… I will check out your sight…thanks!

  30. Jeremy says:

    hi Will,

    if I used Kosher salt instead of Cure( and eaten within a few days) it should be fine right?
    if so, how much salt do i substitute for cure?

    • Will says:

      It will be fine. Just substitute the curing salt for kosher salt, so 1/4tsp on top of any salt that is already listed on any recipe. Since this recipe already has soy sauce which is really salty, you can just omit that curing salt and not even use kosher salt.

  31. Waylon Wilsonoff says:

    I was curious if you’ve ever had a problem with fat being on your final product. I’ve read other ground beef jerky recipes and they mention to blot the jerky throughout the dehydration time to remove any excess fat.

    I was recently gifted a Nesco FD-37 dehydrator. Flipping through it’s manual, I saw their jerky gun and picked one up. It came with cure and seasoning packets, so I decided to use those first. I used one pound of 4% fat ground beef. I used the gun to put eight 4″ pieces on each of the four dehydrator trays. About six hours later everything was done and tasted great.

    Last weekend I picked up two additional trays and decided to dehydrate two pounds of beef, still using 4% fat and the cure/seasoning packets that came with the gun. This time around I had 12 4″ pieces on each of the six trays. I figured this batch would take longer given the two extra trays as well as more jerky per tray, but assumed the final product would turn out roughly the same. When it was done, the jerky, for lack of better words, was glistening with fat. I set them on paper towels to try and absorb it, but in the end most of my pieces have some fatty white spots on them.

    My apologies for the long post, but I was curious what I can do in the future to avoid this. Any tips are greatly appreciated!

    • Will says:

      I have had problems with fatty whole muscle jerky, but not with ground beef jerky. Patting dry while dehydrating definitely helps soak up some of the fat as it rises to the surface, but is normally only done on whole muscle jerky. I am surprised you have white spots of fat on your ground beef jerky. I have had white spots of salt come to the surface (almost looks like mold), but not fat. You shouldn’t have “greasy” jerky when using a 96/4 ground meat, I’m surprised that happened. I’m really not sure what to think…. Maybe one of the packages of meat wasn’t really 4% fat and was much higher… Not sure… Sorry Waylon.

  32. Michelle says:

    I purchased a jerky gun at Cabelas and it says to add a half cup of water per pound of meat to assist using the gun. Will this dilute the taste any?

    • Will says:

      If you are using this recipe, I would not add any water. If the Cabelas gun came with a jerky packet, you might need to add water to their packet to activate certain powdered spices. They might have something like soy sauce powder in the packet that needs water. 1/2 cup sounds like a lot anyway. I normally don’t add more than 1/4 cup of liquid to my ground jerky. If you add 1/2 cup of water to my Original Ground recipe, it will dilute the flavor.

  33. Clark Ehrhardt says:

    Love the site! Thanks for all your hard work. I’m just starting to try ground beef jerky. I was looking for recipes on line. One thing I noticed is no other site mentions curing salt. If I use one of these other recipes would I substitute regular salt (if in the receipt) for curing salt? And if no salt is in the recipe, would I just add the curing salt as recommended pet pound?

    • Will says:

      I like using curing salt when making ground jerky. You can pre-heat the meat and omit the curing salt though if you don’t want to use it or don’t have it. Check out my Jerky Safety page and FAQ for other good information on curing salt.

  34. SP says:

    Thank you for your site, recipes and advice. I just made a batch of ground jerky using one of your recipes and didn’t use the cure. Is that an issue? Also, I have an Excalibur with 9 trays. I set it to 160 and started it before I started to get the jerky made. I didn’t not put the ground jerky before putting it into the dehydrator. Is that an issue?

    • Will says:

      I like to pre-heat or use curing salt when making ground jerky. The Excalibur is pretty good at heating the jerky to 160F and you shouldn’t have any problems. But to be extra safe, I would recommend using cure or pre-heat the meat before dehydrating.

  35. Pam says:

    5 stars
    i love your site, have tried a couple of your recipes and they were great. in fact I’m using them for some jerky I am making for a fundraiser so far it looks like I’m going to be busy! LOL for some folks who can’t have beef I’m going to try a ground chicken jerky and I was hoping you would have a recipe for that. I’m thinking lime and an Asian sesame type of dressing for that, what do you think? I also think you should try doing YouTube videos unless you already have them and if you do hook me up! One more question, I’m so new to this LOL I just got a dehydrator not long ago, I was wondering if I needed to do anything different to deer meat to maybe take out the wild flavor or anything special. And can you use meat tenderizer for whole muscle jerky! Thanks for your help

    • Will says:

      Glad to hear it. That sounds like a good recipe for chicken, just make sure to preheat the meat first before drying when making chicken jerky. Be extra careful when drying fowl to kill any bacteria. I need to put some videos up on YouTube, soon…. I haven’t had any problems with my venison being gamey, so I would say no. You can totally use meat tenderizer.

  36. John says:

    5 stars
    I found that if you run your ground meat through a food processor it not only distributes the spices evenly but also leads to a denser chewier end product.

  37. Barbara says:

    Fixed my 1st batch of hamburger jerky. I used the Gardenmaster Nesco to make at 160 degrees. 1st part I cooked for 12 hours and after putting in fridge it would break but kind of chewy. 2nd batch I left on for only 8 hours and it tends to me more rubbery like when you bend it. I am not sure how long I need to leave it in the machine to make sure its done and won’t make my family sick. I also used the Fem gun to make strips about 4 to 6 inches long. The jerky comes out with a red tint to it so is this ok. Or how do you know for sure when its cooked properly. Ive read several different ways and none are the same.

    • Will says:

      I like to use curing salt to help kill bacteria when making ground jerky. I test my machines to see how long they take to heat the meat to an internal temperature of 160F. If you are making ground meat jerky, just take a little bit and put a thermometer in the middle of it. See how long it takes to reach 160F. Once it reaches that internal temperature, the jerky is safe to eat. From there you continue to dehydrate to achieve the desired consistency. My jerky normally takes between 4-6 hours to finish.

    • Will says:

      Hey Robert! I actually have not ever added any cheese to my ground jerky. I’ve never even thought about doing it because I would expect the cheese to go bad very quickly. However, if you dehydrate the jerky and then keep it refrigerated, I don’t see why it wouldn’t last. Just make sure to keep it refrigerated! Let me know how it turns out if you decide to make some. I’m really interested!

  38. Jen says:

    Ok, so I have a question.. I have a cheap Nesco dehydrator..bought the packs of cure and seasoning..used it with extra lean beef…dried it for about 7 hours waiting for it to reach 160..which it never did ( got up to about 140 or so) . so now its very tough and even crispy on the edges. I’m pretty sure I over cooked it…but still edible. My question is , after reading about using the cure, does it need to reach 160 to be safe? if not, how do I know I cooked it long enough? I prefer it softer..so knock it back to about 4 hours and it will be safe? or do I need to heat it in oven before or after the drying ? thanks for any info!

    • Will says:

      Many people use curing salt only and do not heat. I however do not like tempting fate when it comes to food poisoning and always make sure to heat the jerky to an internal temp of 160F. The FDA still recommends heating the meat to 160F even when using curing salt as well. I would pop it in the oven to pre-heat to 160F before you dehydrate it and start checking it after dehydrating for 3 hours, it sounds like the 7 hours was way too much. If you don’t like the consistency of the meat after pre-heating, I would consider getting a new dehydrator that will heat the meat to 160F.

  39. Zac Frampton says:

    5 stars
    This is a great recipe, I have made a few dozen batches and it gets inhaled as soon as the grandkids show up.
    I’ve modified the recipe slightly using some non-fat dry milk since I couldn’t find any corn syrup solids locally, and I just used whatever curry we had in the cupboard. I have also made a few hot batches by sprinkling some red pepper flakes on it before I smoke it.
    Oh, and I deleted the liquid smoke since I always do it on my pellet smoker. Low smoke for about 4 hours makes it delicious.
    Finally, I don’t get the 160 minimum IT thing. There is no way any of those fancy burgers on the Food Network are 160. They are more like a 140 med rare. I don’t worry much about it, I just set the smoker to low smoke (about 160) and let er rip.

  40. Jeff dakota says:

    Hi Will. I’m also a “Jerkyholic”, as well. I cleaned out my freezer the other day and came across a 2 lb vacuum sealed package of hot teriyaki raw ground venison and a 3 lb package of spicy hickory smoked (High Country dry mixed). I processed the deer from a hunt 4-5 years ago. The packages have been completely air tight and froze since. I thawed them out in the fridge a couple of days ago and shot strips of them through my Lem jerky cannon onto my dusty Excaliber dehydrater . The meat smells great. Very aromatic. Only thing is, the texture of the ground meat is kind of rubbery, almost like the “glue” is gone. Not dried out, by any means. It’s not staying together like the fresher jerky I’ve made in the past has. I got it drying as of this typing at 155 degrees for 5-6 hours. Have you ever used pre mixed and seasoned ground meat ( or ever heard or had) good tasting jerky that has been frozen this ” aged” ? I’ll probably find out before I get a reply back, seeing that it’ll be done in around three more beers, or two hours. Whichever comes first!
    Awesome site. Thanks! Jd.

    • Will says:

      You are braver than I am Jeff, I don’t know if I would use 5 year old meat. Ha. I have never used something that old and am not sure if it would change the texture. I am also not sure how those curing packets would hold up over that long of a period (what ingredients are in them and how fresh they are after 5 years). That’s a question for the manufacturer, they might be able to tell you. I’m interested though, how did it taste?!?!

      • Jeff says:

        The hot hickory and hot teriyaki came out very tasty, as it was fresh (almost seems tastier) .The hickory smoke and the teriyaki are really pronounced. Like how week old chili gets with the flavors completely melned together.I had originally planned on giving it away to my “test guinea pig” buddies, buy after tasting them, I won’t be sharing any now!
        It appears that jerky seems to age like a fine wine! (lol).

  41. Andrea says:

    I have a dehydrator and am prepping to make a batch of jerky from ground venison. I see you recommend preheating the meat first. Is this also why the drying process seems shorter, compared to recipes I’ve seen that are 12 hours or so? Also, the seasoning I have right now is a jerky brine mix, but for ground meat do I need to add water to the mix or just add the dry stuff to the meat and go from there? Thanks for any help!

    • Will says:

      When you pre-heat the jerky does take less time to dry. I have never had to dry meat in the dehydrator for 12 hours though. My smoker takes a lot longer, but 12 hours is a long time to dry using a dehydrator. I would add a little bit of water to the dry ingredients when making ground jerky. It shouldn’t be more than about 1/4 cup or less per 1lb of jerky.

  42. Phil Parodayco says:

    I’ve been making jerky for years with both strips and ground meats and game. about two years ago during some bad winter weather I decided to use the convection oven at the club. I set the temp between 180 and 190 deg.f and it only takes 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours to finish the jerky and it’s dry on top and bottom. The guys at the club love it.

    • Will says:

      I bet they do! I have not used a convection oven but have heard that they work great from several readers of the website. Making jerky, you are probably a popular guy at the club!

  43. Paige Gearhart says:

    How long should I cook ground beef jerky in the oven? I don’t have a dehydrator or a jerky rack. Planning on using a baking sheet with parchment paper on it. Suggestions?

  44. John Christian says:

    Back in the 1960s my friend gave me some Moose Jerky to try, as this was about 55 years ago. If I am correct, this Jerky was dried to about a 1/4″ sq. and maybe 8″ in length. Either his Father, whom had a cabin on a small Fly In only lake or Brother who worked for Jonas Brothers Fur Co. had shot the Moose and brought it back from Alaska.
    The best Jerky I have ever had and can not get any more as Moose meat can not be send via Mail

  45. Dawn says:

    Can I use something other then curing salt? And what does curing salt do? This will be my first time making Ground Beef Jerky.

    • Will says:

      You don’t have to use curing salt. You can just use regular salt and leave out the curing salt. Curing salt helps prevent and kill bacteria, making the jerky last longer. Let me know how your jerky turns out!

    • Steve T says:

      4 stars
      The purpose of curing salt is to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus, specifically Clostridium Botulinum (botulism). Prague Powder #1 is 6.25% sodium nitrite and 93.75% sodium chloride. Normally I am not a big fan of chemicals in my food but botulism is a real risk and I’ll accept whatever risk there is in sodium nitrite vs dying… If you don’t use curing salt the jerky needs to be refrigerated!

  46. Bob Gallucci says:

    I’m not new to making smoked muscle meat Jerky or smoked salmon using electric smokers, Weber BBQ, or in the oven. But I just got a Weston Jerky Gun that came with a sample packet of Jerky Spices and a packet of Cure. I’ve made my 1st. batch of ground beef jerky using the Weston spice & cure and it went very well and tasted pretty good. I had no problems.
    I do a lot of cooking and I like to make my own spice mixes for everything I cook.
    I don’t like to buy pre-made store bought spice mixes because they cost way too much for what you get, and what you get is usually just a lot of salt and not much spice.
    I read somewhere on your web site that you thought that the spice and cure for your DOS PEPPER JERKY RECIPE would be a choice for ground meat jerky using my new JERKY SHOOTER. Since DOS PEPPER is 1 of your top 3 favorite recipes I’d like to try it on my next batch. I have 3 questions to ask you first. I believe you said that ground meat does not require very much moisture, no more than 2TBS. per pound. I think DOS PEPPER said 1/2 cup of water which sounds like too much for ground meat. I’d rather not use any water at all so, what should I use to replace the water? and how much liquid should I use per pound of ground meat?
    Also I used 96% lean beef on my 1st batch. It tasted really good but I thought it was too chewy so I thought I’d try mixing 1lb. of 93% ground beef and 1lb.of 93% lean ground turkey or pork to make it a little softer. What do you think?

    • Will says:

      Hey Bob! The water is in the recipe to help coat whole muscle jerky, just omit the water if you are making ground jerky. I have never tried mixing beef with turkey or pork. I mix my deer meet with pork, but have never made ground jerky out of it. Not sure why, it should turn out just fine! A lot of beef sticks (slim jims) are made of a mixture. I guess I’m going to have to give that a shot after this upcoming hunting season. Let me know how the beef/pork jerky turns out. I am not too sure about mixing beef and turkey, almost seems like there is something wrong with doing that. Haha. I’m not sure how that would taste. If you try it, let me know how it turns out. I’m really interested…

  47. Ed says:

    1 star
    Came out completely tasteless. Zero flavor whatsoever. Dont understand the good reviews.
    Going to re-introduce the batch to marinade to salvage it if not will toss 2 lbs of tasteless dry meat.

    • Ed says:

      Not sure how flavor would come from such a recipe. You have to add sodium to it for the lack of it in the low liquid content. 2 T just isnt enough.
      After re-introducing the tasteless dried ground jerky into a marinade for a few hrs then back into the dehydrator it is salvagable and edible. I am so glad I didnt throw it away.
      Will never use original recipe again.

    • Debra says:

      5 stars
      It’s delicious. How could it not be? The recipe ingredients are full of flavor. Are your seasonings expired? We can’t even keep it around it goes so fast.

      • Ed says:

        1 star
        LOL, you must be a friend of his. This is clearly a very weak recipe. My spices are fine. They seem to work well on ALL my other recipes. There is no real sodium in “the original” recipe. I should have perused the site more prior to using this one. Although the sight mostly covers strip meat there is at least 1 more recipe of ground beef and that one does have “salt” in the ingredients. Sooooooo, yeah, this particular one is WEAK. If you like it, well, enjoy.

  48. Debra says:

    5 stars
    I don’t know him 🙂 Still, from our experience, for a pound of meat, the salt was sufficient from the soy sauce and the Worcestershire sauce. As those two salty sauces dehydrate, they are enough for a pound of meat for us. The other spices result in a delicious jerky. So far, this is the only recipe I have used and I cannot keep it around. It disappears. I could always add more salt if I wanted it more salty. In any case, you say tomato, a say tomahto. Vive la différence.

    • Ed says:

      1 star
      Yeah, every other ground beef recipe I have found on other sites also add additional sodium and more soy and worch then just 2 little tablespoons. I have run into the issue with way too much liquid in ground meat so I understand but 2 little tablespoons is far too little cupcake. Perhaps you and yours have hypersensitive tastebuds since it “disappears” like magic. Continue to use it as is so it continues to “disappear” but I prefer flavor and it never disappears here due to lack of it. Viva more flavor.

  49. Ed says:

    1 star
    I will say though a majority of the recipes forsake the liquid all together for salt instead (roughly 1.25 tsp per lb) and far more liquid smoke. Perhaps that is the road I should have taken.

  50. Scott McLaughlin says:

    Thanks for this web site. This original recipe for ground beef was a huge hit in my house. I’ll be making this in the future. But I’m wondering how the recipe would be adjusted for a whole muscle batch. I’m assuming more (say 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup) of soy and worcestershire sauce but would that dilute the dry ingredients shown in the recipe? What would you do to make this recipe for a whole muscle cut of beef? Thanks

    • Will says:

      1/2 cup on both soy and worcestershire , the dry ingredients should be fine as is. You can add just a tad more than what is called in the current recipe. Ground jerky tends to require more dry ingredients than whole muscle jerky, so shouldn’t need more. Glad your family is liking the jerky!

  51. Lance Petersen says:

    I just bought a SIGVAL jerky gun and plan on making a few batches this weekend in my PitBoss pellet smoker. I was wondering if you have a good recipe for teriyaki flavored jerky and if you have ever made your jerky in a pellet smoker and if so whats your choice of pellet species.

    • Will says:

      Sorry Lance, been moving the last week and might be a little too late. I do have a good teriyaki recipe, try my Teriyaki II recipe. I REALLY like this one! I have not used a pellet grill as of yet. Looking at getting one though. Let me know what pellets you go with and how they turned out.

  52. Jeremy says:

    5 stars
    Awesome website and thank you for all your information.
    What are your thoughts on liquid smoke? Add to the initial mix or brush on during the dehydration? Amount? Thank you

    • Will says:

      Thanks for checking out the site Jeremy! I like adding it to the marinade. The amount really depends on which one you buy. Some are diluted and require more, others are more pure and require less. It will say on the bottle.

  53. Steve T says:

    4 stars
    I used your recipe as a base, but made some modifications. Not a fan of curry or coriander… I use zero liquid:

    2.25 lbs Ground Beef (93/7) (Standard Walmart Pre-pack)

    1 Tbsp Soy Sauce Powder (Amazon)
    1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce Powder (Amazon)
    1 Tbsp Hickory Smoke Powder (Amazon)
    1 Tbsp Swerve* Brown (or Brown Sugar). *Erthyritol Sweetener
    2 Tsp Kosher Salt
    2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
    1 Tsp Ground Ginger
    1 Tsp Garlic Powder
    1 Tsp Onion Powder
    1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
    1 Tsp Meat Tenderizer
    1/2 Tsp Prague Powder #1

    I use a simple Presto no frills dehydrator (no settings), a LEM gun and dehydrate for 4-4.5 hours. To say it is good, well that is a serious understatement. After spending over $100 a month to make jerky for about half the county; I now deny I know anything about making beef jerky…

    • Will says:

      Haha, that will happen. You have to be carefully who you tell and who you give jerky too. You can always start charging for it…. Thanks for the updated recipe Steve!

    • Steve T says:

      I left a couple of things out that I thought needed a comment:

      When you use powder versus liquid (soy sauce, smoke flavoring, worcestershire sauce) use half the amount of the liquid version (1:2) called for in the recipe. I originally got them to reduce the amount of liquid in my ground beef jerky and now use them in a lot of different recipes. Very handy to have around.

      Why meat tenderizer? It seems to do two things in ground beef jerky – it binds together much better and it remains pliable after dehydration.

      I mix all ingredients together in a large bowl (with a hand mixer), cover it completely with plastic wrap and then into the fridge for 24 hour to let the flavors marry. If you don’t use the mixer you will get spots of flavor and spots of bland in the finished product. Plus the mixer seems to loosen the muscle strands, making for a smoother and more consistent jerky.

    • Will says:

      I have never had an oven with a dehydrate option, but I would assume it will heat air and then blow it out of the oven keeping the air moving. I would hang the jerky from toothpicks (if using a roast) or place on cookie sheets (with tin foil underneath in case there is any dripping from the meat, which there will be). I’m interested to see how it works! Come back and let me know…

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