Spicy, Spicy, Spicy.... I LOVE spicy beef jerky. This easy to chew ground beef jerky is wicked fiery and guaranteed to have you searching for an icy glass of water to cool you down!
Ground beef jerky is great for someone that doesn't want a mouth workout or might have more sensitive teeth. It's a lot more tender to eat and still has all the great flavor and taste of regular beef jerky.
Choosing The Meat
Start with ground meat that is 10% fat at the most. I chose 93/7 grass fed beef when making this recipe. You want some fat so the jerky stays together, but not too much because then it will spoil faster.
This recipe would also work great with ground bison or deer. I'm definitely going to make a batch with some ground deer after this hunting season.
I love that this recipe is very simple and doesn't have too many ingredients. That makes it easy to make and you probably have most of the ingredients already in your kitchen.
These amazing looking banana peppers were picked up at the supermarket the other day. Right now they have A LOT of cool peppers that I picked up and have been making a bunch of jerky with.
I love spicy jerky and these peppers have not let me down. Say it with me, Banana Peppers taste amazing!
I did have problems blending this. You can see above the dry ingredients, 2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce and a banana pepper in my Vitamix blender. Even with this bad ass blender, there just isn't enough liquid to really get this blended up well.
I recommend slicing the pepper really small and then blending them with the other ingredients in a ninja food processor.
Mixing The Jerky
Let's mix this great ground beef with those amazing flavors and seasonings.
Add the chopped peppers and other ingredients to your 1lb of lean ground beef in a bowl. I always make sure I use curing salt when making jerky to make sure any bacteria is killed and it also adds that traditional 'jerky' flavor and color.
Using a food safe glove, mix the ingredients into the ground beef until it is equally mixed throughout. Don't those pieces of banana pepper look fantastic?! Yum.....
Does ground beef jerky need to marinate? No, it doesn't... BUT, it sticks together better when it's cold. So after mixing all the ingredients into your beef, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour or so.
This helps the meat stay together and makes the next step go a lot easier...
Making The Jerky Strips
There are several different ways to turn your ground beef into nice easy to eat jerky strips. I chose to use my Jerky Cannon to make this jerky. I love this thing, it makes it very easy and the strips are always uniformly the same size.
Start by adding the meat into the jerky cannon little by little. The key is to make sure there is no air inside the tube when filling it.
To do this, push the lever that is found by the handle all the way to the front only leaving about 3 inches of room from the end you can see above. Fill that 3 inches of space with the jerky mixture and then pull that lever back another 3 inches.
Pulling the lever back is essentially pulling the piston towards the handle giving you more room for more jerky mixture. Continue doing this until the whole pound of ground jerky is added into the cylinder.
This is a great dehydrator for making ground jerky because the trays are square, not round like many other dehydrators. It's my go to dehydrator when making ground beef jerky.
Keep a butter knife next to you when shooting your strips onto the dehydrator tray to cut the meat from the nozzle after you have finished a long strip. Then use that knife to score your strips into your desired individual jerky lengths. I chose to score mine at about 4-5 inches in length.
Not using a dehydrator or jerky gun? No problem!!! You can also use an oven when making ground jerky as well as flatten the jerky meat with a rolling pin. Check out my page on How to Make Ground Jerky to see step by step directions on how to use that method.
Drying The Jerky
As I mentioned before, I used my Excalibur Dehydrator when making this jerky. I dried it for 3 hours at 165°F and 1 hour at 145°F.
The jerky was a tiny bit over done, maybe by 30 minutes or so. It was still AMAZING tasting though!
The banana peppers really gave this jerky a real kick. An original jerky flavor at first followed by a strong heat towards the end of chewing.
These peppers aren't always spicy, the younger the pepper the more spicier it is. I added one whole pepper to this recipe and it was pretty spicy. Add two for a REALLY spicy jerky.
If you don't have spicy banana pepper and are looking for a spicy jerky, you can substitute for a more fiery pepper such as a Habanero.
A habanero is A LOT more spicier than a banana pepper, so just use one small pepper. I like the habanero as a substitute because it won't change the flavor as much as a jalapeno would.
Testing The Jerky
To test to see if the jerky is finished, bend it with your fingers. It should bend a good amount without breaking in half. If it is brittle, it is overdone.
This jerky was a little overdone. It cracked and did not bend as much as I normally like. It over dried by much, so still a great result.
Adding Corn Syrup Solids will also help the jerky be more pliable and stick together better. It is not a required ingredient, but if you make a lot of ground jerky, it's nice to add it to your recipes.
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:
- Use no more than 90/10 ground beef
- Use curing salt or celery juice powder to extend the life of the jerky
- Refrigerate for 1 hour to bind the meat together
- Use corn syrup solids for better texture
- Substitute with habanero if your banana peppers aren't that spicy
- 1 lb Lean ground beef (10% fat or less)
- Finely chop banana pepper and add to other ingredients. Pulse in food processor to mix well
- In a bowl, combine the 1lb of ground beef with the previously mixed ingredients
- Mix the ground beef and seasonings thoroughly
- If using a jerky gun, load the gun with the ground beef mixture & shoot 3-4" long strips onto a dehydrator tray or on a baking sheet
- If not using a jerky gun, spread the ground meat on a baking sheet, cover with wax paper, and roll with a rolling pin until meat is 1/4" thick
- Slice the pan of beef into jerky strips 4-5" long and 1" thick
- 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