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Rig Hand Jerky

This is the Jerky recipe that I started passing around while out on the drilling rig in South Texas. This was a bad decision as now many of the guys out here always ask if I have any Jerky on me while we are working. Making homemade jerky results in a big increase in popularity among work colleagues and family members! Ha.

Rig hand jerky in glass with oil rig in background

*This recipe is updated with more photos of the jerky making process and finished jerky. Original Post: 2/19/2015*

I’m dedicating this recipe to the guys working on the rig; “Rig Hands”. Enjoy Rig Hand Jerky! Here is a picture of a drilling rig in South Texas for ya!

Drilling Rig Oklahoma

Slicing The Meat

Start with a great cut of beef when making this jerky. I used Beef Eye of Round, but you can find a complete list of the best cuts of meat to dry beef jerky by clicking here!

The first step of slicing meat for jerky is to trim the cut of meat of all visible fat. You can see the white fat in the picture below, just trim that off BEFORE you start slicing the meat. Fat spoils faster than meat, so the more you get off now, the longer your jerky will be shelf stable.

Eye of Round Roast on cutting board

Slice the meat with a very sharp knife either with the grain for a more chewy jerky or against the grain for a more tender jerky.

Eye of round beef roast being sliced in cutting board

Slice even strips so they will dry evenly and be finished at the same time. You can wrap the roast in plastic wrap and partially freeze for 1-2 hours to make slicing easier.

I didn’t use it on this recipe, but a jerky slicer is a FANTASTIC piece of equipment to help get even strips when slicing jerky.

Beef Jerky slicer slicing beef for jerky onto a cutting board with knife

Making The Marinade

This recipe tastes fantastic because of some of the great tasting ingredients such as soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes for a little bit of a spice!

Ingredients, bowl, and whisk for jerky marinade

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl or ziplock bag and mix well. Since this recipe does not have any whole peppers, blending in a blender is not needed.

Related Page: Dozens of Great Tasting Jerky Recipes – Click Here

Add the earlier sliced meat strips to the marinade and mix around so all the strips are evenly covered. Allow the strips to marinate for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator. Do NOT marinate the meat at room temperature, always marinate in the fridge to prevent the meat from spoiling.

Drying The Jerky

Once the meat has finished marinating, strain any excess marinade in a colander. I marinated this beef for a total of 20 hours before straining. The longer the marinade process, the more intense flavor the jerky will have!

Jerky straining in colander

Before adding the meat to your dehydrator, oven, or smoker; lay out paper towels placing the meat strips on top. Pat dry the strips to remove even more of the excess marinade. This step will help speed up the drying process and prevent the meat from being ‘sticky’ after it has finished drying. 

Jerky strips on a dehydrator tray

I dried them in my Excalibur Dehydrator for a total of 3 hours at 165°F and 1 hour at 145°F. Make sure the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F to kill any potential bacteria. The 3 hours at 165°F in the dehydrator does the trick. You can also pre-heat the meat in an oven before drying if your dehydrator does not heat up to 160°F. Check out my page on jerky safety for more information on this process.

Related Page: Dehydrator Reviews

Testing For When The Jerky Is Finished

While drying the jerky, you want to start testing to see if it has finished at about the 3-4 hour mark. Take a piece of jerky out of the dehydrator, oven, or smoker and allow it to cool for 5 minutes to room temperature. Bend the jerky in half; it should bend and crack but not break in half. You will also see white fibers in the meat. The fibers are really visible when a piece is ripped in half.

Rig hand jerky ripped in half showing white fibers of meat on cutting board

If the jerky is not finished, continue drying for another hour and repeat the same process until the jerky is finished. 90% of the jerky i make is finished within 4-6 hours when using a dehydrator or oven and 6-9 hours when using a smoker. If pre-heating the meat in the oven, drying time can be as little as 2.5 hours.

Jerky in a jar laying on wood with red pepper flakes and american flag

This recipe tastes fantastic, that’s why there is not surprise that it is one of the top recipes on the site. It has that recognizable flavor of jerky you find at your local smokehouse or country store. The red pepper flakes gives it a little bit of a spice and the soy sauce the perfect amount of saltiness!

Storing Jerky

To make the jerky last as long as possible, curing salt will really help along with keeping in air tight containers. I have put together a page on storing jerky and steps you can take to make your jerky have an extended shelf life. Check it out!

Old Pro Tips:

  • Trim all fat from the meat before marinating for longer lasting jerky once it’s finished drying
  • Use curing salt or celery juice powder to extend the life of the jerky
  • Marinate closer to 24 hours for the most intense flavor
  • Sprinkle on more red pepper flakes before drying if desiring a spicier jerky

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

Learn how to make Beef Jerky in a dehydrator. It's easy, fast, and delicious! | Jerkyholic.comLearn how to make beef jerky in a smoker. Great tasting and better than store bought jerky! | Jerkyholic.comHow to Make Beef Jerky in an Oven

Jerky in jar with red pepper flakes on wood
4.38 from 24 votes
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Rig Hand Jerky

This is the Jerky recipe that I started passing around while out on the drilling rig in South Texas. This was a bad decision as now many of the guys out here always ask if I have any Jerky on me while we are working. This recipe is made of several ingredients that you can’t go wrong with.

Course Beef Jerky, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword beef jerky, Jerky, red pepper flakes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 7 hours
Servings 5
Calories 151 kcal
Author Jerkyholic

Ingredients

Lean Beef

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke Do NOT add if using smoker
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Optional

Instructions

  1. Pick a lean cut of beef. Trim the fat cap and other visible fat. After trimmed, place the meat in the freezer for 1-2 hours or until partially frozen. This will allow for more uniform slices when cutting your beef.
  2. In a plastic container that has a tight fitting lid or ziplock bag, add the marinade ingredients and mix well.

  3. Remove the meat from the freezer and slice ¼" strips against the grain for an easy chew. Cut with the grain for a more chewy jerky. 

  4. Add the sliced meat to the marinade and shake well until all slices are covered evenly. Place in the fridge and allow to marinate for 6-24 hours. Shake the container/bag two or three times while marinating.

  5. After marinating, dry slices with paper towels to remove any excess marinade.

  6. Place strips on your dehydrator drying racks with plenty of spaces in between for easy air flow. Dry with your favorite jerky making method.

  7. Dry for 3 hours at 165 degrees allowing the internal temperature to reach 160 degrees and then turn down to 145F. Check the meat after 4 hours and keep drying until the jerky bends and cracks, but does not break in half.

  8. Allow jerky to cool for several hours before storing.

Recipe Notes

Old Pro Tips:

  • Trim all fat from the meat before marinating for longer lasting jerky once it's finished drying
  • Use curing salt or celery juice powder to extend the life of the jerky
  • Marinate closer to 24 hours for the most intense flavor
  • Sprinkle on more red pepper flakes before drying if desiring a spicier jerky
Nutrition Facts
Rig Hand Jerky
Amount Per Serving (70 g)
Calories 151 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 56mg 19%
Sodium 1310mg 55%
Potassium 451mg 13%
Total Carbohydrates 5g 2%
Sugars 2g
Protein 21g 42%
Vitamin A 2.6%
Vitamin C 2.2%
Calcium 3.4%
Iron 16.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

You Might Also Like:

Best Cuts of Beef for Jerky

How to Make Beef Jerky with a Dehydrator

The Best Dehydrator for Making Beef Jerky

Slicing Meat for Beef Jerky

A jerky good enough to dedicate to Oil Field Workers everywhere. Rig hand jerky has a great original flavor that everyone will love! | Jerkyholic.com

59 comments

  1. Aaron says:


    Just made this as my first attempt at home made jerky, and it is awesome!
    So much flavor, and so much softer than the stuff I normally buy.
    I recently inherited a dehydrator, and wanted to play around with what I could make.
    I can’t wait to experiment with more flavors and recipes!

    • Will says:

      Glad you liked it Aaron, I really like this recipe as well. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. With that new dehydrator, you have now entered the world of making Beef Jerky; there is no turning back now. Haha.

  2. Steve says:

    Hi Will is the Liquid Smoke proportion correct? The only brand I know is Wright’s and it is concentrated – 2 tbsp seems like an awful lot. Thanks

    • Will says:

      Thanks for stopping by Steve! I have never used Wright’s liquid smoke. I use Colgin, and 2 tbsp is not too much at all. If you are worried that 2 tbsp would be too much when using Wrights, start with 1/2 tbsp and keep increasing the amount while taste testing your marinade until it’s perfect. Let me know how it turns out!

      • Mike says:


        I’ve used 2 tbsp of Wright’s with every batch of Rig Hand I’ve made, including the one today, and it’s PERFECT!!! At least by my standards. 😉

  3. Mike Wolf says:

    Hi Will,
    gonna make my first batch of jerky tonight/tomorrow. I am so glad I found your site. My dad makes great jerky but he is 1000 miles away (though he did by me the dehydrator) so I can’t have him looking over my shoulder helping me out on this. So I turn to you. I am using 2lbs of beef for your Rig Hand jerky. Do I simply double the ingredients in the marinade?

    thanks for the help and thanks for the amazing site. I am gonna try as many of these as I can.

    Mike
    ps: I love Duke’s brand jerky. My girlfriend was near Las Vegas recently and she dropped a lot of dough on Alien Fresh Jerky. If you haven’t had it, i recommend perusing their catalog for some ideas.

    • Will says:

      Thanks Mike! Glad you are enjoying the site. I would just double the recipe if you’re going to make 2lbs of jerky. Taste test the marinade before putting the beef in as well; this way you can tweak it to your liking if needed. Alien Fresh Jerky? Never heard of it… Sounds pretty interesting though. I’m definitely going to have to check that out! Let me know how your jerky turns out.

      • Mike Wolf says:


        Hey Will,
        First batch done. It came out a bit salty for my personal tastes (Rig Hand recipe) but my girlfriend was very impressed, which was kind of my goal in the first place! Gonna try your cajun recipe this weekend.

        Here is the website of Alien jerky. We killed the bag of traditional Pepper style in one sitting, and then the Colon Cleanser nearly killed us (super spicy).

        https://alienfreshjerky.com/

        Thanks for sharing your recipes to us dehydrator noobs,
        Mike

        Mike

      • Mike says:

        FYI, there’s a little business out in the middle of nowhere (if it’s still open) in Nevada at the junction of Hwy. 93 and 318/375 just north of Alamo, NV. I pass it it a couple of times a year. Pretty sure the “alien” jerky is a play on Area 51 which is not too far from there. Though I’ve been tempted, I haven’t tried it…yet. 😉

  4. Blake says:


    This was my favorite of the 3 I tried this weekend (Alton Brown and Sweet Coconut). Great recipe! Also, my first time using eye of round, and it’s my new fave.

  5. Doretha Curlee says:

    Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he just bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

  6. Mike says:


    Thanks for a great site!! I’ve made seven or eight of your recipes and the Rig Hand is the one I keep coming back to. Outstanding jerky. I do add my little touch though…in addition to your ingredients I also add about a tbsp of cayenne pepper and about 1/2 tsp of cumin. I use Eye of Round sliced 1/4″ cross-grain by my butcher. When I lay the meat down in the dehydrator I give each piece a quick spray or two of non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle a little black pepper on one side only.

    BTW, my wife bought me a new Nesco FD-2000 dehydrator. While I do find I need to rotate the trays for even drying I really do like it. Digital, temperature control and timer. Check it out! 😉

    • Will says:

      Glad you like the recipe. That is one of my favorites as well. I will have to try it with your tweaks and see how it turns out! Nice on the new dehydrator, I love getting new jerky equipment. I’ll have to check that model out, timers really come in handy when you make a lot of jerky.

  7. Christopher says:

    Just took 2lbs of rig hand off the dehydrator a few hours ago I received ia dehydrator for Christmas and I must say rig hand had has got a fair spice to it but so far it’s the best I have made yet I used select sirloin from Schnucks market where I work our meat is rated the best around here and I must say it made some darn good RIG HAND

  8. Tyler says:


    Hey!

    Im cooking about 1.8 pounds of beef in the masterpiece smoker like yours, but my jerky seems to be getting done in ~3 hours? I think my cuts are a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Suppose that’s the ‘problem’?

    Im using the 1.5 hour @170
    30 min @200 (smoke)
    then back to 160 for the remainder (about 1 Hour)

    Excellent tasting recipes, did 1/2 Rig Hand 1/2 Basic jerky. Flavor on both is amazing.

    • Will says:

      Hey Tyler! Glad you enjoyed the jerky recipes. I am not sure why it is only taking about 3 hours for you to smoke your jerky. My smoker takes quite a while, at least 6 hours for my jerky to finish. I have some jerky finish in my dehydrators around 4 hours, but have never had my smoker dry jerky that fast. It could be because the meat is sliced real thin, either way, as long as the jerky is finished there isn’t a problem! Just keep making that good jerky!

  9. Eric says:

    Just found your site. Got a dehydrator about a year ago and am finally putting it to use. Making two batches today. Rig Hand and free styling the other. Can’t wait to taste the results

  10. Denise says:


    I have made several different batches of jerky using different recipes. Your Rig Hand recipe has been the favorite with friends, family and co-workers. I have a batch marinating now. Your website is GREAT. I didn’t know anything about making jerky. Found everything I needed to know right here. Thanks a million.

  11. ken says:


    I’ve been working with this recipe to figure out some nuances that seem to work for me. I use a smoker and either apple or hickory (hickory has a harper flavor). I don’t use a dehydrator but my gas oven. This allows me to keep the meat from drying too fast. There are a number of mechanical tenderizers that are helpful depending on the cut of meat (usually eye of round). I don’t add extra salt since there is a bunch in the soy sauce and the worchestershire sauce. Instead of brown sugar I add molasses. When it’s finished. it’s hard not to make a meal out of it. Ok, I have made a meal out of it once in a while.

  12. Eric says:


    Hi will. Question for you. If I have this right no matter what I marinate the meat in or wether I use regular salt or pickling salt or any of your recipes. I can cut the meat in thin slices. Marinate for 8 to 24 hrs. Not use any cures. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes or so at about 300. Pat dry. And dehydrate. As long as the meat reaches 160deg post dehydration.

  13. Marc says:

    Made my first ever batch of jerky with this recipe (minus the extra pepper flakes after marinating) and it was amazing! Thank you so much for this site!

  14. David says:


    My co-workers love this stuff. So far I’ve made 3 batches of this stuff at 10 pounds per batch. My only tweak is instead of using 1 tsp of salt per pound, I use 1/4th tsp of Prague Powder #1 per pound.

    I cut it into 1/8th inch strips with a meat slicer and marinate between 24-36 hours in the refrigerator. Using an excalibur 9 tray dehydrator, I start off at 160 degrees for the first 2.0 hours. I then scale the heat back to 125-130 degrees for the next 2.5-3 hours and check every 30 minutes or so.

    Side note: Contrary to online opinion, if you use a food saver you’re able to save this stuff in the freezer for up to six months (or more). I recently pulled a four month old pack from the freezer when I made my last batch. After de-thawing to room temperature, there was no difference in taste or texture to myself and co-workers when eaten side by side with a fresh never frozen batch.

    • Will says:

      I love this recipe too, one of my favorites. I appreciate the info on the taste test, very interesting! I also vacuum seal and freeze jerky if needed, though most of my batches are small and eaten pretty quickly. But there are always a couple of occasions a year, like hunting trips, that I make a bunch. Thanks for coming by David!

  15. Anthony Zelina says:


    love this site! i also have a 9 tray excalibur. aside from the bend test, how can i properly check doneness>???? looking forward to trying rig hand now, been winging it with teryaki, worschestire, brown sugar and liq smoke… when do we use vinegar and other stuff. ideas on creating my own marinade? no cook here, just experimenting. tried using an ipa beer in there to no avail. thanx, great site will

  16. christina says:

    I love this rig hands recipe! It’s going to be my go to for jerky. A question though, my husband likes his jerky cut about 3/8 in, how long would I need to let it go in the dehydrator?

  17. Gayle Dunning says:


    I would like to smoke this recipe in my propane smoker will the 4 hours be the right amount of time? I have a hard time keeping the temp down @ 160 if there’s any wind. I’ve done antelope jerkey in a gas oven but alas my new electric oven only goes down to 170 °
    Thanks
    Colorado Grandma, whose grandkids love her jerky!

    • Will says:

      Hello fellow Coloradoan! When it comes to smokers, the time can vary sooooo much. My electric smoker normally takes closer to 6-7 hours to dry. I am able to keep it around 160F when drying. You really are going to have to take a piece out starting at about the 4 hour mark and keep checking to see if it is done. It should bend and crack, but not break in half. Make sure to let it cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes, before bending it. Let me know how it turns out Gayle!

  18. Anthony Zelina says:


    Hey there Jerkyholic, just made the rig hand jerky and boy let me tell you what flavor! what I really noticed was that the flavor lasts all the way to the very end.
    Thanks for sharing your recipes !

    • Will says:

      Nice man! Not sure how deep. I flew up and filled in for someone while on the surfaces’ for 8 wells. I can’t remember how deep they were going, it was a while ago! I’m in Oklahoma right now on a Patterson rig. We are going about 10,000 tvd and 22,000 md, drilling with OBM. Can’t complain….

  19. Danikay says:

    Hi! Our 9 year old daughter wants to make jerky for her father’s/ my husband birthday next week. Just wanted to let you know that after reading your posts I’m excited too. And very grateful for all the tips. We’ll let ya know how it goes.

  20. Jim in sandusky says:

    After marinading meat for the first batch of jerky, can I re-use the marinade?
    What are your thoughts of freezing meat for an hour, slicing up into strips, adding the marinade, and bagging it in freezer bags for future drying at a later date?

    • Will says:

      From a safety standpoint, it is not recommended to re-use a marinade after you have marinated meat in it. I have never frozen meat in a marinade for future use but don’t see why it would be a problem. Before freezing, I would let it marinade in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and then put the bag in the freezer. That way it is ready to go as soon as it thaws.

  21. Tim in Indy says:


    LOVE the Rig Hand! I’ve already done 2 batches in my Masterbuilt, first one was dry (live and learn…we still ate it) and the second was pretty close to spot on. I’ll be doing another batch soon with some tweaks. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and recipes, it is greatly appreciated!

  22. Alyssa says:


    Hi Will,

    I noticed on your dehydrator review it says the NESCO takes about 90 minutes to get to 160 degrees. Do I need to pre-cook the beef I want to dehydrate in my NESCO or can I just go straight to the dehydrator. Thanks!

  23. Mark Bradshaw says:

    Thanks Will! I’m using the oven because I can hang about 4 lbs with toothpicks , and, well, I’m too lazy to fire up the smoker today… Your recipes have become a regular thing for me. Driving truck and eating right is a hard combination. With jerky I can have my PFC snacks between meals without missing a beat. Thanks again for taking the time to share and for the straightforward guides and recipes.

  24. Lisa says:


    Hi Will! I am new to Jerky making and having a great time at it. Thus far, I have made your Sweet Spicy Jerky, the recipe in the booklet that came with the dehydrator and the Rig Hand Jerky. The Rig Hand is my favorite!! I have a couple of questions…
    1. I bought Wright’s Hickory flavored Liquid Smoke. They also had Mesquite flavor and a couple of other brands in which it was just called Liquid Smoke. What flavor does the recipe call for? The smoke flavor seems to be very pronounced (I don’t hate it, though), would you recommend to decrease the amount of liquid smoke if a flavored one is used?
    2. I just bought a cheapo Presto dehydrator (to start) that you just plug in and it turns on and goes to 165 degrees for the duration. I have been using Top Round beef that the butcher has pre-sliced for me against the grain, closer to 1/4″ thick. At 4 hours, they seem to be done (bending, white threads, not breaking). Then I bake in the oven at 275 degrees for 10-12 minutes until the pieces are sizzling. My question is this: what happens if you over dehydrate the beef? Is that when it breaks when bent? Is it possible to take less than 4 hours to be done in the dehydrator? I apologize if these questions are dumb, but you warn against the Jerky not being safe so I just want to make sure I am doing it right.
    Thank you for your most awesome site. I cannot wait to keep trying your recipes. Happy Jerkying!!

    • Will says:

      Hey Lisa, thanks for checking out the site! Wrights liquid smoke is definitely the best brand to buy. When I first made this recipe I was using a lesser quality liquid smoke that requires more. If using wrights, use only about 2 tsp of liquid smoke. You can totally change and try different flavors. I like the hickory, but mesquite is good as well. The best thing to do is experiment with different flavors and find one you like. To answer your second questions; yes, it can take less than 4 hours for the jerky to be finished. When it is over dried it will break and just taste extremely dry. If you are having the meat sliced very thin, start checking it at 3 hours.

      • Lisa says:


        Thank you so much, Will! I appreciate it! Off to the market to get the mesquite liquid smoke – it’s on sale and get some more meat! Who knew making your own beef jerky is so satisfying and delicious! Best to you!!

  25. kerry corcoran says:

    Stumbled across your page and was inspired to try my hand at making jerky. I have purchased all the ingredients and the Nesco FD-75A.

    For my first patch I will attempt to make the Rig Hand Jerky. My question is, the recipe calls for “1 tsp salt”. I also purchased the Curing salt.

    Am I to use the curing salt in place of the regular salt or use both (1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp curing salt) if I have both?

    Thanks in advance.
    Kerry

    • Will says:

      I would put 3/4 tsp of regular salt (table or sea salt) and then 1/4 tsp of curing salt. This would be the amount for 1lb of meat. Make sure to double check your curing salt amount per 1lb on the container you bought. It should be about 1/4 tsp per 1lb though.

      • kerry corcoran says:

        I purchased the same curing salt you recommended, so should be all set. First batch is in the Nesco right now. Fingers crossed!
        A question I had, ithe recipe calls for 4 hours @ 160 degrees – is that for a single pound? I am making 2 lbs (or Rig Hand Jerky) – do I need to dehydrate for 8 hours?

        • Will says:

          The drying time should be about the same even though it is double the amount of meat. Don’t just dry for 4 hours and call it good. Drying time depends on thickness of meat, dehydrator, how many trays you have in the dehydrator. I would pull a piece out and let it cool for 5 minutes at the 4 hour mark. Bend it and see if it cracks and has white fibers. If not, keep it going for another hour and check another piece. Once it’s done, it ready to eat!

  26. Mark says:


    Will,
    Read all the rave reviews on your Rig Hand Jerky. Now I know why it’s in your top 5. INCREDIBLE!!!!
    By far, the best Jerky I have made yet!!!
    The best way to describe the taste is, It’s like biting into a Slim Jim. Been trying different recipes from your book. You were right. This Jerky didn’t last long. Thanks again for the book and all your recipes.

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