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Kentucky Bourbon Beef Jerky

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Looking for a rough and tough beef jerky made for a REAL man? You just found it. Bourbon + Beef Jerky = A Super Manly Beef Snack!

When I think of Beef Jerky, I think of a meat snack that is made for the rough and tough man. I eat most of my jerky while working on a drilling rig in South Texas. It just feels right tearing into a dried tough piece of meat in order to give you enough protein to make it through the day.

Looking for a rough and tough beef jerky made for a REAL man? You just found it. Bourbon + Jerky = Manly | Jerkyholic.com

I don’t know about you, but what is more manly than making your beef jerky with bourbon? Nothing, that is the obvious answer to this question.

I was contacted by Skillset Magazine and now have this recipe featured in one of their publications. This magazine is about guys, guns, fighting, and everything else a real man needs to know about living an Alpha lifestyle; like making great jerky!

Kentucky Whisky Beef Jerky Sliced

This recipe has a little bit of everything to make a sweet and strong tasting jerky. Go ahead and bust out the blender to really get the brown sugar and molasses mixed well.

Kentucky Whisky Beef Jerky Pour

I used beef top round cut with the grain and tenderized with a meat mallet for this recipe. It’s a manly jerky, you have to go with the grain to make it tough!

Kentucky Whisky Beef Jerky Draining

Make sure to drain the meat after marinating it for 6-24hrs. Do not pat these dry with a paper towel as you might see in other recipes. Let them drip dry and dehydrate them however you want. I used my dehydrator for this recipe, but check out the page on jerky making and pick your favorite method.

If you like bourbon and meat, you will LOVE this Kentucky Bourbon Beef Jerky!

So grab your favorite bottle of bourbon and get to work.

Kentucky Whisky Beef Jerky Finished

3.87 from 88 votes

Kentucky Bourbon Beef Jerky

Looking for a rough and tough beef jerky made for a REAL man? You just found it. Bourbon + Beef Jerky = A Super Manly Beef Snack!
Course Snack
Cuisine Beef Jerky
Keyword bourbon beef jerky
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 7 hours
Servings 5
Calories 228 kcal
Author Will


Lean Meat

  • 1 lb Beef Top Round or Venison


  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke hickory
  • 1/4 tsp Prague Powder #1 curing salt
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce


  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 the bourbon, liquid smoke, Prague Powder #1, molasses, brown sugar, black pepper, soy sauce, & worcestershire sauce in a blender. Mix well.
  3. Remove the meat from the freezer and slice ¼" strips with the grain and tenderize with a meat mallet. Cut against the grain for an easier chew. Or skip the freezing phase and use a Jerky Slicer for evenly sliced strips.
  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 strain excess marinade.
  6. Dry with your favorite jerky making method. A dehydrator was used with this recipe and dried for 6 hours at 160 degrees.
  7. The jerky is finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half.
Nutrition Facts
Kentucky Bourbon Beef Jerky
Amount Per Serving (70 g)
Calories 228 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 70mg23%
Sodium 507mg22%
Potassium 291mg8%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin C 0.9mg1%
Calcium 20mg2%
Iron 2.8mg16%
* 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.

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Kentucky Bourbon Beef Jerky


  1. Munch says:

    My wife and I fell in love with some Bourbon Bacon we found at Kroger. Naturally it’s a limited-time thing so who know when/if they’ll make it again. Well, I’m not willing to wait and see. Hopefully this recipe turns out to be just as good and we forget all about that bourbon bacon. I put it together yesterday after work and it’s some of the best looking top round I’ve seen for jerky. I had ZERO trimmings and the meat was a beautiful bright red. It will go on the dehydrator tonight. I’m excited to try it!
    Love the site. I hope to use more of your recipe links.

    • Matt says:

      I’m gearing up to do this one this weekend but I am going to use the Wild Turkey American honey which is obviously sweet..

      My only concern is that I haven’t got the curing salt but I am using an Excalibur which I have done jerky in without curing salt before so I figure it should be right.

      • Will says:

        It is recommended by the USDA to bring the temperature to 160F at the beginning of drying, so I would recommend heating it in the oven for 10 minutes at 300F before drying. As you mentioned, I have also made jerky with that dehydrator without using curing salt and not pre-heating it and have had no problems. In my tests it will bring the meat to 160F in 3 hours. The jerky is normally not fully dry at that point, which is good because you want to bring the meat to 160F before it is dried. I can’t go against the USDA and say everything will be 100% OK if you don’t pre-heat. The decision is up to you. Hope that helps Matt.

        • Matt says:

          Thanks Will,

          I chucked it in the oven for ten on 150C… meat temp got to 160F so hopefully toasted any nasties… did notice that a hell of a lot of the marinade came out in that 10 minutes. I paper towel dried the meat prior to that too so it was pretty amazing to see how much fluid the meat holds!. Makes you wonder how the dehydrator is able to make it all dissapear in a few hours.

  2. Munch says:

    I forgot to update. Very good jerky. Friends and family loved it. My wife and I thought it could bare to be a touch sweeter to balance the bourbon a bit. Any recommendations on the best way to do that? More brown sugar? More molasses? Add honey?
    And fresh off a bourbon tour in Kentucky, I may hit a touch of banana extract into a batch. May highlight the bourbon tones and ease up the alcohol tones of the bourbon a bit.

    • Will says:

      Glad you guys liked it. This Bourbon Jerky definitely has a strong Bourbon taste! Haha. I would use a little bit more brown sugar to sweeten it up. If the Bourbon was too overwhelming for you, adding 1/2 bourbon 1/2 water will also tone it down a bit. Banana extract sounds intriguing…. Let me know how it turns out!

    • yan says:

      with bourbon, only REAL maple sirup can do the trick !! Thats what i use and everybody loves it ! if you try it let me know what you think !

    • Will says:

      I have never felt any affects from eating the Bourbon jerky, but you can really taste the Bourbon. I would say that the alcohol is not cooked out of the jerky.

  3. tomek says:

    1 star
    of course alcohol evaporates…besides I tried this jerky and it is very unseasoned one. I do not thing this recipe is any good

  4. Ward says:

    5 stars
    Just finished my first VERY successful Jerky batch, I marinated 48 hrs and did not let stand 6 hrs, smoked right out of bag. Love the Bourbon flavor; Nice over all KICK, Meat candy at it’s finest.

    Will, I really appreciate you helpful suggestions. Your web page is awesome and I look forward to trying your other recipes!

  5. DaveH says:

    4 stars
    I do love a good bit of jerky. I’d recommend adding a teaspoon or 2 of both Garlic and Union powders, as well as lighten the amount of Worcestershire to 1 tbsp. I found that though the Worcestershire can add flavor, a bit to much can ruin the natural flavor of the beef. The natural flavor of beef can make some really great addition to flavoring as long as it isn’t snuffed out.
    I personally like to add in more pepper. However instead of using pepper, or even salt. I slip in 2-3 tbsp of Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning which adds quite a bit of spice to be added to the kick. Soy sauce imo has enough sodium already which is why I don’t add any salt. Spicy Montreal also has paprika which is used in a lot of beef jerky recipes.

    Great recipe. I enjoyed making it (and modifying it to my own tastebuds)

  6. Christopher says:

    4 stars
    Got some marinating right now and it smells amazing can not wait to try it bet it tastes more amazing then it smells and it smells amazing even the guys at work are anxious to try it will update you on how it turns out. Can’t wait

  7. Aussie Troy says:

    Hi mate,
    What does the Molasses add to the jerky? What difference would maple do to this or any other substitute do?
    Really enjoy reading this whole site. Also, have you got any other recommendations with other alcoholic drinks.

    Thank you.

    • Will says:

      Hey man! Love Australia. Lived in Bondi Beach for a little bit before traveling north to Asia. Good times! To answer your question. It is used as a sweetener. You could use maple syrup instead. Feel free to switch up any of the ingredients, it’s not crucial to use Molasses. I do have a couple other alcohol jerky’s. There was a wine one, beer, Mai Tai…. You can find them on my Beef Jerky Recipe page.

  8. Tom says:

    5 stars
    Try Yoshida’s Deluxe Marinade in with the bourbon, it will give you a sweet tasting bourbon Jerky. If you are dehydrating it add some liquid smoke. Just a thought. Yours sounds good though, I am going to try it.

  9. Dean says:

    5 stars
    I love the taste of the jerky, and I love using Kentucky Bourbon in anything that I can. The jerky is well balanced in taste and seasoning, and the Bourbon gives it a kick.

  10. Emily says:

    4 stars
    So I am on my third round of making this. The first was meh but had potential. I felt like the flavors didn’t really cling to the meat. It could have just been my marinade time TBH. I wanted to give it another go so all I did to amp the flavor was to double the recipe and reduce. Half of the bourbon went right over the beef and the other half went into the marinade mix. The merinade mix went into a small sauce pan and reduced by half over low heat. After it cooled it was syrupy and clung to the meat well. After 24 hours I popped it in they dehydrator and the results…. well, everyone begs for it now! Thanks and I look forward to trying your other recipes out!
    I do have one question, the dehydrator directions specifically say not to dehydrate meat marinated in alcohol but I can’t find a reason as to why not. Clearly it’s not stopping me but any clues as to why?

    • Will says:

      Hey Emily! I’m glad you were able to tweak this recipe to really get the taste you wanted. I love reading comments about people experimenting with these recipes. Thanks for sharing your findings, I will have to try your method! I hope you enjoy some of the other recipes I have on the site. As to the directions on your dehydrator, I have no clue as to why it says not to dehydrate meat w/alcohol. That’s the first time I have heard anything like that….

      • Tom Benz says:

        5 stars
        Hey Will I always have used wine in my marinade and never had a problem but I was doing some research why not to dehydrate/marinade with alcohol and found this for you. Hope it helps you. Tom
        No alcohol. A lot of folks like to use wine, beer, and spirits in their marinades, but this is not be a good idea. Alcohol in a marinade in effect cooks the exterior of the meat, preventing the meat from fully absorbing the flavors in the marinade. Raw alcohol itself doesn’t do anything good to meat. So put your wine or spirit in a pan, add your aromatics, cook off the alcohol, let it cool, and then pour it over your meat. This way you have the richness of the fruit of the wine or Cognac or whatever you’re using, but you don’t have the chemical reaction of ‘burning’ the meat with alcohol or it’s harsh raw flavor.”

          • Scott says:

            Really glad I found your site, I’m getting into making jerky and it looks like you have some great recipes here.

            Regarding no alcohol in the dehydrator. The big concern is that when you’re using something like bourbon that’s 80 proof, the alcohol will evaporate and can create a situation where there’s enough vaporized alcohol inside the dehydrator that it’s ignited by the heating element of the dehydrator.

            The flashpoint of pure ethanol is less than room temp. As a vapor, with a heat source, and with high enough concentration you *could* reach the Flashpoint and create a fire.

            Not sure how likely it is, I’m sure the warning is as much of a cya from the manufacturer, but definitely something to be aware of.

          • Will says:

            Glad you are enjoying the site Scott! Thanks for the great info on the alcohol in the dehydrator. I appreciate it!

    • Cassandra says:

      When you say half of the bourbon went right over the beef, do you mean half of the doubled recipe or did you just double the bourbon and pour half of it on the meat and the other half went into the marinade?

  11. Jerome says:

    5 stars
    Hi, Will,

    What are the advantages of patting the meat with paper towel? I have been doing it because most recipes call for it, but you seem to know the pros/cons.

    very helpful site!

    • Will says:

      Hey Jerome, it comes down to personal preference with patting down the jerky. On most recipes, I pat the jerky strips dry as long as it won’t rub off most of the ingredients. The reason I pat it dry is because I hate having jerky that is sticky and messy. I don’t want to have to lick my fingers or have a napkin near by after taking a piece of jerky. It also cuts down on the drying time by having less liquid to dry on the surface of the jerky strips. I would say on the next batch you make, pat dry half of the strips and leave the other as is and see which one you like better. Glad you like the site!

  12. Kathi says:

    I made Whiske Pete and was told never to make anything else. I did not use Jack but a less expensive brand name I can’t remember. Doing it again. Using jack for sons 30 th. What’s bette for next time? Jack or bourbon?

    • Will says:

      30th Birthday? Good idea to stick with what you know turns out great, not the time to be switching up recipes. I do like the Bourbon, but have not made it with Jack so I can’t compare the two.

  13. Gail McAlister says:

    I just made my first batch of jerky. I used the shot Fromm the hip recipe. It turn out OK but I think I may have sliced it too thin. These are more like beef chips. Next batch will be thicker. My question is; I can’t find the curing powder you use in your recipes, I’m trying Morton’s Tender Cure. Do you know if it’s the same?
    Thanks for the helpful hints.

    • Will says:

      Hey Gail, thanks for stopping by. The Prague Powder #1 is really hard to find in stores, it’s best to buy it online. Morton’s Tender Quick is NOT the same thing as prague powder. The amount needed will be different (follow directions on bag) and will also add more of a salty taste to the recipe. The Prague Powder only takes a small amount and doesn’t add as much of a salt flavor.

        • Will says:

          It is a curing salt. Curing salts are used when making meat products such as beef jerky to aid in preventing bacteria growth. You do not NEED it when making beef jerky, just make sure to heat your jerky to an internal temperature of 160F before drying to kill potential bacteria. Otherwise, google Prague Powder #1 and you should find a lot of information on it. It is hard to find in stores, but you should be able to buy it online. Not sure if you can use this link if you are in Slovakia, but amazon has it here.

  14. Ken Rock says:

    5 stars

    Have always been a jerkyholic…just never tried to make it on my own. Your site above all others inspired me. Went all in with the Nesco dehydrator and a manual slicer. Tried this recipe first as I am a whiskey guy with a little over a pound of meat. First batch was so good I’ve already done a second batch. I used Texas distilled Silver Star Whiskey both times. I whipped up another pound using Jack Daniels Honey. The honey sweetened the jerky just a touch.

    Just a minor question…should the Nesco be pre-heated before starting the drying process? I’ve found that six to six and a half hours is about right when slicing quarter inch thick pieces when I don’t pre-heat.

    I gave you a shout-out on my facebook page. Five other of your recipes are on tap. Thanks.

  15. Reuben Joiner says:

    Question relating to the alcohol used in the jerky, during dehydration will the alcohol evaporate from the meat?

  16. Mike says:

    My son is in the Army and presently in Iraq. I’m gonna make this recipe for him but don’t have a dehydrator. I’ve made jerky before in my wood pellet smoker. Usually at 225 for a couple of hours. Can you see any difference I should do to this recipe?

    • Will says:

      Just remove the liquid smoke from the marinade if you are using a smoker. Other than that, it should come out fine! I’m sure he will really enjoy it!!

  17. Cal says:

    3 stars
    Tastes like meat and bourbon just like he said, but I found it to be a bit bland. I would suggest a little extra brown sugar to give it a little sweeter taste. Possibly even some liquid smoke for more flavor. To me it just tasted like bland meat and then bourbon aftertaste. Good if you want that sort of thing. Three stars cause it was just OK.

  18. Rob S. says:

    5 stars
    I’ve made jerky using this recipe and it’s delicious!!! I’m now curious if I can swap out the whiskey with rum for a slightly sweeter, yet manly, jerky?
    Curiosity might get the best of me and I’ll have to try to make it this weekend with some venison I have… what are your thoughts on using rum over whiskey?

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