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Tennessee Smoked Beef Jerky

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Fire up that smoker and get ready to have some smokey flavored beef in about 7 hours! This Tennessee Smoked Beef Jerky is a home run of flavor.

Marinated Beef ready for the smoker. Tennessee Smoked Beef Jerky is a home run of flavor | Jerkyholic.com

My wife and I had made a trip down to my parents a couple of weeks ago to do some fishing and relaxing. I decided to take along my smoker and make some tasty jerky while we enjoyed the warm March weather. Well the weekend was a success! We caught some reds and trout and the jerky turned out great as well! Here is a picture of my father and I holding a couple of Redfish we caught.

My Dad & I Holding Redfish

If I had enough time I would have smoked up a couple fillets of Redfish too!

Slicing The Jerky

Before heading to my parents, I sliced and made the marinades for the jerky I was going to make. I used a pound of Eye of Round Beef Roast and trimmed as much fat as possible.

Eye of Round Roast on cutting board

Slice the meat either with the grain for a tougher chew or against the grain for a more tender jerky.

Eye of round beef roast being sliced in cutting board

Drying The Jerky

We drove down to Corpus Christi from Austin with the beef marinating in our cooler so it would be ready to smoke the next day. I started the smoker at about 2pm and had the temperature up to 160°F. The beef was drained and dried off with paper towels. Toothpicks were pierced through one end so I could hang the meat to achieve an even dry. The meat was placed in my Masterbuilt Smoker WITHOUT smoke for the first 1.5 hours. This allowed the meat to “sweat” out some marinade and water weight.

Tennessee Smoked Beef Jerky Hanging in Smoker

*The Tennessee Jerky is the dark jerky on the right. (plain white toothpicks) I made two batches of jerky while down at my parents. The other one is Tequila Beef Jerky which also turned out quite well. I will post the recipe on the website soon.

Related Post: Dozens of Beef, Pork, Turkey, Game, & Fish jerky RECIPES!

After that 1.5 hours, I filled the wood tray with soaked wood chips and bumped the temperature up to 200°F.

Masterbuilt Smoker Wood Tray

The raise in temperature was to help get the wood chips smoking. If the temperature is left too low on my smoker, the chips won’t produce a good smoke. I let these burn out and did not add anymore smoke to the jerky. These chips smoked for about 45 minutes.

The temperature was lowered back down to 160°F and the jerky left to dry for another 4 hours, checking every so often. (I don’t have many pictures because it got dark out. I’ll start smoking a little earlier next time…) How did it turn out? Really Good! The smoke flavor went perfect with the salty soy sauce. I really liked this recipe and LOVE making jerky in my smoker!

Tennessee Smoked Beef Jerky. What are you waiting for? Fire up that smoker and make some Jerky! | Jerkyholic.com

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:

  • Marinate meat for at least 6 hours for the best flavor. 24 hours is recommended
  • Applewood and Hickory wood works great for making jerky
  • You want a clean blue smoke If a white smoke is coming from the smoker, increase the temperature of the smoker. This white smoke can create a bitter taste within the meat.
  • Visit my Making Jerky with a Smoker page for more detailed instructions on how to make jerky in a smoker
  • Start early and grab a couple beers to pass the time during the smoking stage!

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4.39 from 13 votes

Tennessee Smoked Beef Jerky

Fire up that smoker and get ready to have some smokey flavored beef in about 7 hours! This Tennessee Smoked Beef Jerky is a home run of flavor.
Course Beef Jerky
Cuisine American
Keyword smoked beef jerky
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 187 kcal
Author Will



  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp cane sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Prague Powder #1 curing salt


  1. Trim all visible fat from the beef, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for an hour or two to partially freeze.
  2. While the meat is in the freezer, combine the soy sauce, worcestershire, water, cane sugar, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and curing salt in a bowl or ziplock bag and mix well.
  3. Remove the meat from the freezer and slice ¼" strips against the grain. Slice with the grain for a chewier jerky. Or skip the freezing phase and use a Jerky Slicer for even sliced strips.
  4. Add sliced beef to the mixture and marinate for 8-24 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and strain excess marinade.
  6. Pat dry the strips with paper towels.
  7. Dry with your favorite jerky making method. I used my smoker to make this batch of jerky.
  8. The jerky is finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half.

Recipe Notes

Cook's Tips:

  • Marinate meat for at least 6 hours for the best flavor. 24 hours is recommended
  • Applewood and Hickory wood works great for making jerky
  • You want a clean blue smoke If a white smoke is coming from the smoker, increase the temperature of the smoker. This white smoke can create a bitter taste within the meat.
  • Visit my Making Jerky with a Smoker page for more detailed instructions on how to make jerky in a smoker
  • Start early and grab a couple beers to pass the time during the smoking stage!
Nutrition Facts
Tennessee Smoked Beef Jerky
Amount Per Serving
Calories 187 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 70mg23%
Sodium 715mg31%
Potassium 269mg8%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 26g52%
Vitamin A 195IU4%
Vitamin C 0.4mg0%
Calcium 11mg1%
Iron 2.7mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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How to Make Beef Jerky in a Smoker

How to Make Beef Jerky with a Dehydrator

How Long Does Beef Jerky Stay Good?

The Best Dehydrator for Making Beef Jerky

Tennessee Smoked Beef Jerky


  1. Paula says:

    Do you have to use the curing salt when smoking jerkey? I want to make some and have been doing some research. Great info on your site!

    • Will says:

      You do not have to use curing salt when smoking jerky. However, if you decide not to use curing salt; just make sure to heat the jerky to 160F at the beginning of drying to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. So have the smoker at about 170F and already hot when you put in the beef strips. Curing salt is great to use when you want to smoke at lower temperatures, but not needed as long as you heat your jerky to 160F first. Hope that helps!

      • Byron says:

        4 stars
        I would not chance this, use the curing salt!
        it’s worth it to not spend a night in the Hospital suffering from Botulism, and the thought of making your family and friends sick is frightening to say the least.
        I have made many batches of jerky and sausages of all kinds with awesome results, I always use curing salt it is cheap insurance against food poisoning.

        Enjoy with good health!

  2. Dave says:

    5 stars
    Used 2 heaping, packed, teaspoons of dark brown sugar, added 1/2 t. of onion powder, 1/2 t. of pepper, best and easiest recipe for smoked beef jerky I found. Making another batch tomorrow but going to use back strap molasses on a pound of meat. I did 5 pounds weighing out each pound, then mixing the brine for each pound. Thanks!

  3. Dave says:

    5 stars
    Will, I used smoked paprika hot (Winco bulk section) in place of smoked paprika using the same amount, you don’t really taste the spice until after you have ate a piece of jerky. It’s not over powering at all. Love this recipe and the teriyaki II

  4. Normy says:

    5 stars
    HI, i gone to try that recipe next week end. It’s look very good. Want to know, 45 min smoking is It Anough ? and what kind of wood chips are you using?


    • Will says:

      The jerky took about 7 hours to dry in total. I only put wood chips in and had smoke going to the jerky for about 45 minutes. I have found that too much smoke overpowers the flavor. Just a little smoke to give it flavor is best.

  5. J says:

    I love Jerky, but have never made it myself. I have wanted to make Jerky, so I have been looking for recipes. Living in Colorado myself, the high altitude tends to mess with recipes. I can’t wait to make my own Jerky!
    Have you uploaded the other Jerky recipe?
    Also, is it possible to grill your Jerky? Seems like it would be fun!

  6. J says:

    4 stars
    I have a new problem and wonder if you have dealt with it. I have a giant wasp nest in my smoker. I do not wish to use Raid as i dont want that mixed with the smoke. (it’ll probably make us really sick. What do you recommend? I am also extremely allergic to bees, so that may cause another issue. Anyways, just wondering how you have dealt with it.


  7. J says:

    5 stars
    They turned out amazing! We did not have any Tequila, so i substituted with 2 tbsp of Tommy Bahama golden sun rum, and 1 tbps of Seven Crown whiskey. I did not have any woodchips, so i used hickory charcoal. I did almost set myself on fire, due to a stupid mistake. (Hair on arm is singed as well as leg. Also a minor burn, but not any worse than my many sunburns!!) But you always learn from your mistakes! I cant wait to try the recipe again, but with beef instead of pork! Thanks so much will!!


  8. Tom says:

    5 stars
    I bought a Masterbuilt smoker and have been using your receipts for about three months. I thought jerky would be a lot cheaper this way but I was wrong. The jerky turns out so good I am having to give it to all my neighbors and friends. Every time they smell the smoker going I have visitors. At least I don’t have to buy my own beer anymore! I’m doing five pounds of Tennessee jerky today.

  9. Tyler Miller says:

    I’m making my first batch in the morning. It’s in marinade Dr Pepper jalapeño one bag and the other is plain bbq . Not really sure what flavour of smoke . I think Apple or hickory. Any suggestions?

    • Will says:

      Hey Tyler, I might be a little late responding to your question. I like using Hickory with spicy jerky. Apple would be good on more sweet jerky. Let me know how it turned out!

  10. Steve Mathews says:

    Tyler, I love this recipe. However, I do not have it on the smoker for more than 5 hours. It tastes great, has great texture but comes out damp. You have to lick your fingers when eating it. Not that it is a bad thing, but how can I keep it dry? PS, I cook it like you direct on cooking it on a smoker directions.

  11. I’m going to try your recipe, sounds awesome!! Jerky is such a healthy sustainable snack for on the go, camping etc My late father made the best jerker and actually had people Buying it from him it was loved so much

    • Will says:

      You are totally correct, it is a great snack! Hopefully you can start making some jerky that’s just as good as your late fathers… Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Jennifer says:

    5 stars
    Do you keep your masterbuilt up at 200 the entire time you are wanting smoke? I just got mine me am having a heck of a time getting good smoke even when the chips have started good when I turn it back down the smoke quits!

    • Will says:

      I only put smoke to the meat for about 30-45 minutes. So keep the temp up at 200F while the chips are burning (30-45 minutes), then turn it back down to 160F after they have finished smoking.

    • Will says:

      Every grill, smoker, and dehydrator is different. I would start checking it at 4 hours. Pull a piece out, let it cool for 5 minutes and then bend it. It should bend and crack, but not break in half.

  13. Scott says:

    I have been making jerky for about a year now (I sell it to to co workers) and have never used curing salt. The jerky is eaten very quickly because it tastes so good.

  14. Francey says:

    Jerky, home-made, is wonderful. Being new at making this, my first couple of tries were somewhat brittle and over-dried, but the chew-ability and the flavor … great exercise for the jaw and teeth, something we rarely get nowadays… and the chewed bits and flavor stays in the mouth for the longest time. I cannot imagine, over-dried or whatever, anyone throwing the resulting Jerky out because it isn’t perfect… (or giving it to the dog)…
    Frankly, I think that by discarding the less-than-perfect, you have missed out on terrific flavor and chew-ability. Whether overdone or perfect, Jerky sure is a great treat. Your explanations are certainly easy to follow and helped me greatly in learning how to make it. I learned not to add water or soak the hickory … what I learned was… when dehydrating, removing the moisture, why add more moisture to the procedure…it only ends up coating the ceiling of the smoker..actually dripping,
    and that was a surprise, to see just how much condensation had collected on the ceiling of the smoker when using additional water in the process…and how much moisture when you don’t even add water.. I drilled holes in the cover to let the moisture escape and that helped somewhat.
    Thanks for a very interesting site.

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