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South Texas Jalapeno Jerky

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South Texans love their Jalapenos, and this jerky will satisfy that craving! If you like spicy jerky with the zing of a fantastic flavored pepper, this is the jerky for you.

South Texas jalapeno jerky on white dish with fresh jalapenos cut in half

Original Post Date: April 8th, 2015  *Recipe updated with more pictures and step by step instructions*

Texas takes their jerky pretty serious, and for good reason. Beef jerky helped the cowboys cross long distances between towns with some great protein stashed in their pockets. Jerky wasn’t always a nice snack, it was vital in the Lone Star State in the not so distant past.

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 make beef jerky with 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.

Westin Jerky Slicer

Not sure what way the grain runs? Need more information on slicing meat for jerky? I have put together a page on Slicing Meat for Jerky where you can find EVERYTHING you need to know when slicing meat for jerky.

Making The Marinade

There are a lot of great ingredients that go into this recipe, however, the star ingredient is the Jalapeno! I love a spicy jerky, that’s why I kept the seeds in my jalapenos giving this meat snack an extra kick. 

Jerky ingredients on cutting board with fresh jalapenos

To get the most flavor out of those fresh jalapenos, make sure to bring out the blender and add all of the ingredients. I used my VitaMix Blender; these blenders are SUPER expensive but totally awesome.

Jerky ingredients in blender with jalapeno on top

Blend until all of the ingredients are mixed well and the jalapenos are as small as you can get them. The smaller the pieces, the more they will stick to the marinated jerky strips. *If you don’t want a spicy jerky, remove the seeds prior to blending*

Jerky ingredients blended in a blender

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. The longer the better! Do NOT marinate the meat at room temperature, always marinate in the fridge to prevent the meat from spoiling.

Jalapeno jerky marinating in ziplock bag

Don’t those small bits of jalapeno look so good?! 

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! 

South Texas Jalapeno 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.

Jalapeno jerky drying on paper towels

Place the strips on your dehydrator trays, oven trays, or smoker rack to dehydrate/dry the jerky. For more in depth instructions on drying your jerky, check out my Jerky Making Methods Page.

Jalapeno jerky on dehydrator trays

I dried them in my Excalibur Dehydrator, like the one seen below, for a total of 3 hours at 165°F and 1 hour at 145°F.

Excalibur Dehydrator

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 – Click Here

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.

South Texas Jalapeno jerky on white dish with jalapeno cut in half

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.

Using my favorite cut of meat, eye of round, this South Texas Jalapeno Jerky recipe was made straight from the deep depths of my mind. Adding fresh jalapenos to the marinade is what gives this recipe that authentic South Texas Jalapeno flavor.  It is topped off with dried ground jalapeno powder which gives it that extra kick. Remember, If you are looking for even more of a kick, leave the seeds in the marinade!

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
  • Using a blender really helps incorporate the jalapeno flavor in the recipe
  • Keep the seeds in the jalapeno for more of a spice

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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

South Texas jalapeno jerky on white dish with fresh jalapenos cut in half
4.23 from 9 votes

South Texas Jalapeno Jerky

South Texans love their Jalapenos, and this easy to make jerky will satisfy that craving! So get your spice on and make some jerky!

Course Beef Jerky, Jerky, Snack
Cuisine American, Beef Jerky
Keyword beef jerky, jalapeno, Jalapeno beef jerky
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 150 kcal
Author Will


Lean Beef:


  • 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke mesquite



  • 1/2 tbsp ground jalapeno pepper


  1. Pick a lean cut of beef and trim off all visible fat. After trimming the fat, place the beef in the freezer for an hour or two to partially freeze.
  2. While the meat is hardening in the freezer, add worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, beef broth, liquid smoke, and jalapeno in a blender and blend until jalapeno pieces are very small. Pour marinade into zip lock bag.

  3. After meat has hardened, but is not fully frozen, take out of freezer to slice. Using a sharp knife, slice the meat 1/4" to 1/8" thick.

  4. Add beef strips to your marinade and shake the bag coating meat evenly. Allow 6-24 hours to marinate the jerky. Shake/mix the bag every couple hours to allow the marinade to evenly soak in to each piece of meat.

  5. After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle on ground jalapeno pepper (optional). Add heavily for a real kick, or light for a nice spice.

  6. Dry with your favorite jerky making method. A dehydrator was used when making this recipe. The slices were placed on dehydrator racks so they were not overlapping or touching. Dried for 3 hours at 165 degrees and another 1 hours at 145 degrees.

  7. Jerky will be finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half. Allow to cool for several hours before storing in air tight containers.

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
  • Using a blender really helps incorporate the jalapeno flavor in the recipe
  • Keep the seeds in the jalapeno for more of a spice
Nutrition Facts
South Texas Jalapeno Jerky
Amount Per Serving (70 g)
Calories 150 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 56mg19%
Sodium 1277mg56%
Potassium 464mg13%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 22g44%
Vitamin A 41IU1%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 34mg3%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Need more in depth directions on how to make jerky in an oven, dehydrator, or smoker? Visit my page Jerky Making Methods to become a pro at making jerky!

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

South Texas Jalapeno Jerky


  1. Jonathan says:

    Just made this recipe today, but with top round milanesa. Amazing! Before I stuck it in the dehydrator, I topped it with the diced jalapeno from the marinade, and a jalapeno puree I made in a blender. I can’t stop eating it.

  2. Michael Scott says:

    I just bought 4 extra trays for my Nesco dehydrator. I’ve made a ton of Jerky and just now found your site. This recipe looks great but a few questions.

    1) Have you tried it with lean ground beef? Obviously taking out some of the liquid and finely mincing the jalapenos would be necessary.
    2) For the jalapeno powder, is there a specific brand you use? Or do you dehydrate the jalapenos and grind it up?

    Appreciate the work you’ve put into this site and the knowledge that you share!!

  3. Leo says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for all the recipes on your site. I have been trying a lot of them.I have done this recipe before but also added 12 oz of dark beer ( I used Sam Addams black lager) .Really has a good taste. I use my smoker for all my jerky and this in-hanses the flavor even more. Keep up the great site.

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