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Midwest Ground Beef Jerky

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Ground beef jerky in the oven? YES! This Midwest Ground Beef Jerky recipe has the flavor and an easier chew for those who don’t like tough jerky.

Like an easier chew to your jerky? This ground beef jerky has the flavor and an easy bite making it the perfect energy snack! | Jerkyholic.com

I made this jerky several weeks ago and forgot to put the recipe on the site…. I don’t know where my mind has been lately… I did use the pictures on another page explaining how to make ground meat jerky, check it out for more detail.

This recipe has a little liquid smoke, sugar, black pepper, salt, and a couple other familiar ingredients often found in jerky. I do love some spiced up fancy jerky every once in a while, but sometimes you just can’t beat a good Midwest style original jerky.

Midwest Ground Beef Jerky Lean Beef

Start with a lean ground beef, 10% fat at the most. Mix all your ingredients in a bowl before adding it to the ground meat. If using curing salt, like I did on this recipe, make sure to dissolve it in a liquid ingredient or water before adding it to the beef.

Midwest Ground Beef Jerky in Oven

As you can see, after letting the beef mixture sit in the fridge for 12 hours to help bind the meat together, it was rolled flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I scored the meat with a dull knife to make it break apart easier when it is finished.

Midwest Ground Beef Jerky Finished

This batch took about 4 hours to dry in my oven. I flipped the meat after 2 hours and used paper towels to soak up any liquid on the baking sheet. At this point the meat should be easy to move and could be placed on a metal rack in the oven to finish drying.

It turned out to be a great tasting jerky. Whole muscle jerky is my favorite, but this ground beef jerky still hits the spot when you are craving a salty snack!

Ground Beef Jerky Finished Bending

Let the jerky cool and test if it is done by bending it. If it bends without breaking in half or cracks just a little bit, it’s finished. The jerky should still feel soft to the touch and not hard on the outside. Enjoy!

Pro Tips:

  • Use Corn Syrup Solids to help bind the jerky together and make it pliable and not dried out too much.
  • A jerky gun really helps when making a lot of ground jerky
  • Add ground up fresh hot peppers for some heat!

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

Ground jerky
4.41 from 10 votes

Midwest Ground Beef Jerky

Ground beef jerky in the oven? YES! This Midwest Ground Beef Jerky recipe has the flavor and an easier chew for those who don't like tough jerky.
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 148 kcal
Author Will


Lean Beef

  • 1 lb Lean ground beef 10% fat or less


  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke hickory
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Prague Powder #1 curing salt
  • 1/2 tsp corn syrup solids optional


  1. In a bowl, combine ingredients and add to 1lb of ground beef
  2. Mix the ground beef and seasonings thoroughly
  3. spread the ground meat on a baking sheet, cover with wax paper, and roll with a rolling pin until meat is ¼" thick
  4. Slice the pan of beef into jerky strips 4-5" long and 1" thick
  5. Dry with your favorite jerky making method. I used my oven at 170F for 4 hours
  6. 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

Recipe Notes

Pro Tips:

  • Use Corn Syrup Solids to help bind the jerky together and make it pliable and not dried out too much. 
  • A jerky gun really helps when making a lot of ground jerky
  • Add ground up fresh hot peppers for some heat!
Nutrition Facts
Midwest Ground Beef Jerky
Amount Per Serving (70 g)
Calories 148 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 56mg19%
Sodium 299mg13%
Potassium 328mg9%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 150IU3%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 12mg1%
Iron 2.2mg12%
* 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 or click on the pictures below.

Midwest Ground Beef Jerky


  1. Elizabeth says:

    4 stars
    Yup, this was a good recipe. My son specifically asked for lemon pepper jerky & he liked it. I’ve got your Midwest Ground Beef Jerky mix cooling in the refrigerator, I’ll make it tomorrow & comment on that recipe site.
    I passed on a few of your recipes because they included Prague #1. I had to Google it to find that it is curing salt. I added the amount of regular salt like you advised.

    • Will says:

      Glad you liked it! If you make this with cure and seal in food saver bags, it should last several months. I use a vacuum sealer all the time to keep my jerky fresh for hiking and hunting trips. I normally seal them and keep them in the fridge. You can also freeze them for long storage , 6+ months.

  2. Marie Bozarth says:

    5 stars
    Loved it! Very tender too. I am currently in the process of trying an Asian flavored one, hope it turns out well. Thank you!

    • Will says:

      Just go ahead and omit it. It helps bind the ground jerky together, but is not required when making jerky. Let me know how your jerky turns out!

      • Spira Susanne says:

        I promised to write how I liked the dos pepper jerky. It is OK but to be truthful, I like the Nesco Original recipe better, only it was too salty because they used too much salt in the curing mix (lower% of Nitrate with larger quantity of the salt mix) , so I need to make it with the pink powder instead. Do you have a somolar recipe so I do not need to buy the packets?
        Susan S.

        • Will says:

          Hey Susan, thanks for coming by! I am glad that you liked the Dos Pepper Jerky. To answer your question about a Nesco Original substitute, I haven’t made a packaged jerky in several years. I honestly do not remember what the Nesco Original tastes like. I would recommend browsing through my recipes and reading the ingredients for something that peaks your taste buds!!!

  3. Daniel says:

    Why do you recommend dissolving the curing salt in water first? I’m trying this recipe now with 1 lb ground turkey, and a tablespoon of tender quick, and realized I forgot that step. Do you know if this will be safe to eat? Thanks for such an awesome site!

    • Will says:

      I have made it without dissolving the curing salt in water and it turned out fine. I just feel like it becomes better incorporated when it is dissolved in liquid. Your jerky should be safe to eat. Thanks Daniel, glad you are enjoying the site!

  4. SaraLyn says:

    Just finished making my first batch. I over cooked it but the flavor is still awesome. I was a little worried it would come out to spicy with the cayenne pepper but its not. Practice makes perfect so I will definatly be doing it again.

  5. Ray says:

    5 stars
    I read somewhere to never use prague powder with liquid smoke because LS is too acidic and would produce nitric oxide. Is there a procedure to follow when using both?

    • Will says:

      I have been doing it for a while and have never experienced nitric oxide. I am not using vast amounts of ingredients though. If the liquid smoke is too acidic, I would recommend using more sea salt to increase the pH to counter the acidity of the liquid smoke.

  6. Rick Walser says:

    Hi, I’ve been making Jerky for more than 20 years,, but it’s always been either the Luhr Jensen little chief recipe or a variant of, I recently tried a ground beef recipe using LEM Backwoods, first batch came out excellent, next 2 batches came out really brittle. The last 2 packs of beef have been 93% & 97% lean. Any chance 90 would be better, or would refrigerating after mixing help?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    • Will says:

      A little fat will definitely help bind the meat together and so will refrigerating. Going with the 10% fat is a way to go, but I wouldn’t go any more than 10%. If you are still having trouble getting it to bind, using corn syrup solids will also help bind the meat together.

      • Rick Walser says:

        Hi Will, just finished making your Midwest Ground Beef Jerky Recipe including using the Corn Syrup Solids…93% lean.. The flavor is excellent, but it still came out a little brittle, I’m going to follow up with another batch, the batch I referred to as perfect consistency in an earlier post I now remember was a 2 1/2 lb batch, the batches since have been 1 lb batches, I’m thinking that with the 2 lb batch the drying process was longer and the temperature ramped up slower making it better, next batch I’m trying drying at 135f for the first 2-3 hrs then turning the heat up at the end,, Thoughts?

        • Will says:

          I like to get the heat up right away to help kill any bacteria. It sounds like you might be over drying it. I would try drying it on high heat for 2 hours and then turning it down to 145F for the remainder. Make sure you take the jerky out and let it cool down for about 5 minutes when checking to see if it is done.

  7. Lee says:

    Hi Will, I will be making your Midwest Jerky tomorrow . I have a dehydrator that has no controls to set, only an on/off switch. How long do you think I should dry the Jerky?

    • Will says:

      That’s a tough one not knowing how hot it will get. I would recommend pre-heating it since you don’t know if it will get the jerky to 160F. After heating, dry in the dehydrator and start checking it at 3.5 hours.

  8. Scott says:

    5 stars
    Making this with a Cabelas Harvester dehydrator I dried on high for 3 hours rotating the trays each hour. I finished it on medium for 2 hours. Checking this with a meat thermometer I am confident I got all the trays to temp and didn’t over dry it. Hope this helps those use a dehydrator. First batch with beef was very good. Venison is in the fridge for tomorrow.

  9. Sherry says:

    New to making jerky…1st batch using top round and a recipe called “Duke’s Original” (I think). It was very good, but wasn’t kind to my teeth, so I decided to give this recipe a go.

    It turned out great, but just a teeny bit too hot for me (it kind of crept up on the back of my throat and boom). What surprised me was the texture…I expected it to be somewhat “crumbly”, but you almost can’t tell the finished product started off as ground meat.

    Gonna grab some powdered Worcestershire and soy sauce and play around with it a bit.

    Thanks for a great recipe!

  10. Vanessa Knopp says:

    I can’t wait to try your recipe. J make ground beef jerky all the time. How long on the dehydrater do you think? This is my biggest issue, overlooking. Also, I have been wondering of the fact the last I don’t have during salt but Mortons tender quick is part of my salty problem. What are your thoughts?

    • Will says:

      Morton’s tends to call for a lot of salt per pound which will make it very salty. I would cut back on the MTQ if you don’t want it real salty. If you make a lot of ground jerky, I would buy some curing salt. It’s not that expensive and will help keep you safe from any potential bacteria. I would also consider buying some corn syrup solids to help with the texture. I have found that around 4 hours in the dehydrator is about right for the ground jerky. Start checking it around 3 hours though, if it’s not done just let it keep going. Let me know how it turns out Vanessa.

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