Smoked Beef Jerky is the perfect snack for those who are looking for something that is both delicious and nutritious. This recipe is easy to follow and only requires a few simple ingredients.
In this smoked beef jerky recipe, you’ll learn how to make perfectly seasoned, savory, and smoky smoked beef jerky right in your own backyard with a pellet smoker. It’s a great option for outdoor enthusiasts, campers, hikers, and anyone who enjoys a delicious and healthy snack on the go.
Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also a healthier alternative to store-bought jerky, which is often loaded with preservatives and artificial flavors. With this recipe, you can control the ingredients and the amount of salt and sugar, making it the perfect snack for those who are looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The best thing about Smoked Beef Jerky is that it can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.
This means that you can always have a healthy snack on hand when you get the munchies.
Making this smoked beef jerky requires just a few key pieces of equipment, including a pellet smoker, a sharp knife or a meat slicer, and a meat thermometer.
You’ll also need a good quality cut of beef, a few simple marinade ingredients, and some seasonings. The recipe itself is quite easy to follow, and the end result is worth the effort.
Whether you’re a seasoned smoker or a beginner, this recipe is simple and straightforward and will leave you with delicious, smoky, and savory beef jerky.
Here’s an overview of the most important information about the recipe. Let’s get started!
- Marinate sliced beef for 12-24 hours.
- Smoke the marinated beef on a pellet smoker at 180°F using either apple or cherry wood pellets for 2-3 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F and doesn’t break when bent in half
- Smoke time may vary depending on the thickness of your beef slices
- Place warm, smoked beef in a ziplock bag to let steam escape and add moisture while it cools down
- Enjoy your smoked beef jerky for 3-4 days on the counter or 2 weeks in the fridge
What Cut Of Beef Is Best For Jerky?
When it comes to making beef jerky, the type of cut you choose is an important decision. The ideal cut of beef should have very little fat marbling to prevent the jerky from becoming too greasy and ruining the texture.
Our first choice for making beef jerky is a round roast. Round roasts are a lean cut of beef that comes from the hindquarters of the cow. They are a great option for jerky because they have very little marbling.
If you can’t find a round roast, top round, sirloin roast, or rump roast are also great options for making beef jerky.
These cuts are also lean, with a minimal amount of marbling, making them the perfect choice for jerky.
They are also readily available at most grocery stores like jerky strips, making them an accessible option for homemade jerky cooks.
When choosing your cut of beef for jerky, look for one with a consistent thickness. This will help ensure that the jerky cooks evenly and the final product will have a uniform texture.
How To Make Smoked Beef Jerky
Step 1: Prepare The Marinade
The first step in making this delicious homemade smoked jerky is to make the marinade. This marinade consists of a delicious combination of soy sauce, IPA beer, honey, Worcestershire, garlic salt (a mixture of garlic powder and salt), onion powder, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar.
Step 2: Slice the Beef and Marinate
The next step is to slice the beef into thin pieces, approximately 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch thick. Slice against the grain to ensure tenderness.
Once sliced, place the beef in a ziplock bag and add the marinade, making sure that each piece is coated.
Let the beef marinate for 12-24 hours in the refrigerator. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and enhances the taste.
Step 3: Preheat the Pellet Smoker
It’s time to fire up the pellet smoker! Preheat the smoker to 180°F using either apple or cherry wood pellets.
These pellets will provide a delicious smoky flavor that complements the flavors of the marinade.
Step 4: Smoke the Beef Jerky
Once the smoker is up to the ideal temperature, it’s time to smoke the beef jerky. Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels to remove excess marinade.
Place the slices on the smoker grates, making sure to space them evenly. Smoke for 2-3 hours or until the internal temperature of the beef reaches 165°F and the jerky doesn’t break when you bend it in half.
Step 5: Steam
When the beef jerky is finished cooking, remove it from the smoker and place it in a ziplock bag while it’s still warm.
Leave the bag un-sealed so that some steam can escape and some moisture can be absorbed back into the meat.
Step 6: Enjoy!
Your smoked beef jerky is now ready to enjoy! It should last 3-4 days on the counter or 2 weeks in the fridge. It’s a perfect snack to take on the go or to share with friends and family at your next BBQ.
Tips For Making Smoked Beef Jerky
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you embark on your jerky-making journey. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, these tips will help guide you through the process.
Slicing The Jerky
If you don’t have a butcher who can slice your round roast for you, you’ll have to do it yourself. Don’t worry, it’s fairly straightforward.
First, you’ll want to put your roast in the freezer for around 30 minutes. Chilled meat is way easier to slice.
We recommend slicing against the grain because it results in a more tender and easier-to-eat bite of jerky.
However, you can also cut with the grain to get nice long strands of jerky that can be torn off. This way will result in a more stringy and tougher texture that is most common in traditional jerky.
Marinate the beef for a minimum of 12 hours for the best results. This allows the flavors to fully penetrate the meat, making for a more flavorful jerky.
Now, there are tons of jerky marinades to be found online, from sweet and salty to ghost pepper spicy, there’s a marinade for everyone. The marinade ingredients we use here create a delicious jerky with sweetness and tons of flavor.
Experiment With Wood Pellets
Try using different types of wood pellets to add unique flavors to your jerky. For example, apple wood pellets will give the jerky a sweet and fruity flavor, while hickory will give it a smoky and hearty flavor.
Best Beer To Pair With Smoked Beef Jerky
When it comes to pairing beer with smoked beef jerky, the options are virtually endless! However, here are the top 3 types of beer that are guaranteed to bring out the best in your jerky:
India Pale Ale (IPA)
IPAs are hoppy, bitter beers that pair perfectly with the smoky, savory flavors of beef jerky. The bold, hoppy flavors in the IPA will complement the smoky flavors in the jerky, and the bitter notes will cut through the richness of the beef to provide a refreshing balance.
A rich and roasty stout beer is another great option to pair with smoked beef jerky. The smooth, creamy texture of a stout will enhance the chewy texture of the jerky, and the dark chocolate and coffee notes will bring out the smoky flavors in the meat.
A nutty, caramel-y brown ale is a great choice to pair with smoked beef jerky because it has a balance of sweet and bitter flavors that will complement the jerky perfectly. The caramel notes will enhance the natural sweetness in the beef, and the nutty flavor will bring out the richness of the meat.
Smoked Beef Jerky
- Smoker Pellets
- BBQ Grill Accessories (Tongs) (Tongs)
- Paper towels
- 3 pounds round steak
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3/4 cup beer, IPA
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup worcestershire
- 2 tsp garlic salt
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp curing salt, optional
- Prepare the marinade by combining soy sauce, IPA beer, honey, Worcestershire, garlic salt, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar
- Slice the beef against the grain into 1/4 – 1/8 inch thick slices and place in a ziplock bag with the marinade for 12-24 hours
- Preheat your pellet smoker to 180°F using either apple or cherry wood pellets
- Remove sliced beef from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels then place jerky in a smoker grates, evenly spaced, for 2-3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F and the jerky doesn't break when you bend it in half
- Remove from smoker and place in a ziplock bag while it's still warm, un-sealed to let some steam escape while adding moisture to the meat
- Enjoy your smoked beef jerky! It should last 3-4 days on the counter or 2 weeks in the fridge.
Smoked Beef Jerky FAQs
What type of meat is best for jerky?
Top round, sirloin roast, or rump roast are all ideal cuts for jerky. These cuts have less fat and marbling, making them perfect for the drying and smoking process.
How long does it take to smoke beef jerky?
Smoking beef jerky typically takes 2-3 hours at a temperature of 180°F. However, cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the meat slices and the type of pellet smoker being used.
Can I use any type of wood pellets for smoking jerky?
For jerky, apple or cherry wood pellets are the best options as they provide a mild, sweet flavor that complements the taste of the beef. Other great options include mesquite and hickory wood pellets.
Is it necessary to marinate the beef before smoking it?
Marinating is not necessary, but it adds flavor and helps to tenderize the meat. A marinade can be made with ingredients such as soy sauce, beer, honey, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar.
What temperature should the pellet smoker be set to for smoking jerky?
For jerky, the ideal temperature is 160-180°F. This temperature is low enough to dry it while slowly cooking.
How do I know when my jerky is done?
Jerky is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F and doesn’t break when you bend it in half.
Can I smoke jerky on a gas or charcoal grill?
Yes, it is possible to smoke jerky on a gas or charcoal grill, but a pellet smoker can provide more consistent results.
How long does the finished jerky last?
If stored properly, smoked jerky can last 3-4 days at room temperature or up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
What is the best way to store jerky?
Jerky should be stored in an airtight container or ziplock bag to keep it fresh.
Can I add my own seasonings to the jerky marinade?
Absolutely! Feel free to get creative and add your own favorite seasonings to the marinade. Just make sure to keep the ratios of soy sauce, beer, and other ingredients in balance so the jerky turns out properly.