Alton brown beef jerky the best recipe

Alton Brown’s Beef Jerky Recipe: A Simple Snack from a Master Chef (Step-By-Step)

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If you’ve ever watched Good Eats on the Food Network, you know Alton Brown. And you know that he’s got an expert eye for simple yet mouthwatering food — including beef jerky.

Alton may have been born in Los Angeles, but growing up in Georgia clearly taught him the ins and outs of stellar beef jerky. When we saw his beef jerky recipe, we knew we had to give it a try for ourselves!

Want to see how it came out and learn how to make some for yourself? Read on!

Alton Brown Beef Jerky Ingredients

Ingredients for Alton Brown beef jerky
Ingredients for Alton Brown beef jerky

What Kind of Beef Should You Use?

If you want the best jerky, you need to start with the best beef. That doesn’t just mean going with a high-quality brand — it also means picking the right cut for jerky-making.

Lean cuts make the best jerky. The less fat your beef comes with, the less time you need to spend trimming it — and the less likely your jerky is to spoil later on!

 Our choice of beef - Eye of round
Our choice of beef – Eye of round

We made Alton Brown’s beef jerky with our favorite cut: eye of round. It’s very lean and the resulting jerky has an irresistible texture.

You can also use top or bottom round, sirloin tip or flank steak. Avoid ribeye and other ultra-fatty cuts.

Preparing the Beef

Trimming the Fat

Cutting off all fat from our choice of beef - Eye of round
Cutting off all fat from our choice of beef – Eye of round

Even our lean eye of round still had a bit of fat on it when we brought it home. In all likelihood, your beef will, too.

So grab a sharp knife and trim that fat! 10 or 15 minutes is all you need, and it’ll buy you much more time with your precious, unspoiled beef jerky in the long run.

Freezing the Beef

This step isn’t strictly necessary, but we highly recommend it. Stick your beef in the freezer for an hour or two before slicing it.

Why? Well, briefly freezing the beef firms it up just enough that you can slice it thinly without the whole thing giving way under your knife.

Remove the beef when you notice ice crystals just beginning to form on its surface.

Slicing the Beef

Slicing beef
Slicing beef

Now it’s time to slice that beef! Cut it against the grain in strips no thicker than ¼ inch.

Going against the grain gives you a more tender, chewable final texture. And the thinner you slice, the less time it’ll take for your jerky to dry.

Sliced beef for Alton brown beef jerky
Sliced beef for Alton brown beef jerky

Marinating the Beef

We’re about to impart some serious flavor on our beef slices.

First, mix the 6 marinade ingredients together until they’re well-blended. Then combine the beef and the marinade in a lidded container or Ziploc bag.

Beef mixed with seasoning, before dehydration
Beef mixed with seasoning, before dehydration

Put the beef and marinade in the fridge for at least 7 hours; you can leave it for up to 24 hours for more flavorful jerky. We refrigerated ours overnight.

Dehydrating the Jerky

There are three common ways to dehydrate beef jerky: an oven, an electric smoker and a food dehydrator.

We used a food dehydrator because it’s compact and easy to use. Just remove the excess marinade with a paper towel, lay your beef strips on the trays, load them into the dehydrator and let it do its job!

Beef placed on dehydrator
Beef placed on dehydrator

Dehydrate your jerky at 160 degrees F for 4 to 8 hours. Ours took 7 hours in our dehydrator (I bought mine on Amazon), but yours could take less time (if it’s thinner) or more time (if it’s thicker).

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After you pass the 4 hour mark, check your jerky every 45 minutes or so. Bend a piece to check for doneness; if it cracks a little without breaking, it’s done!

What beef jerky looks like after being dehydrated for 7 hours
What beef jerky looks like after being dehydrated for 7 hours

Step-by-Step Instructions

Makes 5 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Marinade time: 7-24 hours
Cook time: 4-8 hours

1. Trim all fat from the beef.
2. Place beef in freezer for 1-2 hours.
3. Slice beef against the grain in strips no thicker than ¼ inch.
4. Mix all marinade ingredients together, then add beef and refrigerate for 7-24 hours.
5. Remove excess marinade with paper towel.
6. Place beef in food dehydrator at 160 degrees F for 4-8 hours. Remove when beef cracks without snapping when bent.

Ingredients Costs
1 lb beef — top round London broil beef (but any cut of beef could work)$5 per 1 lb at Walmart
2/3 cup of Worcestershire$1.00 for a 10 oz. container at Walmart
(2/3 cup is 5 and 1/4 oz = $0.63)
2/3 cup of soy sauce$1.52 for a 5 oz. container at Walmart
(2/3 cup is 5 and 1/4 oz = $1.60)
2  teaspoon black pepper $2.98 for a 3 oz. container at Walmart
(6 tsp. per oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.17 cents or 0.34 cents per 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoon onion powder $4 – 5 dollar range for a 1.73 oz. container
(6 tsp. per oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.38 cents or 0.76 cents per 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon honey $2.98 per 12 oz. container at Walmart
(1 tbsp per oz. is 0.24 cents)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes$0.98 per 1.75 oz. container at Walmart ( 6 tsp. per oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.09 cents)
Total Cost: $8.66/~7 oz. (full cost: meat + ingredients)
Delicious Alton Brown beef jerky
Delicious Alton Brown beef jerky

Last update on 2020-05-31

Random Beef Jerky Joke:

Beef jerky is the result of cows staring at Chuck Norris too long.