Duke's beef jerky

Duke’s Beef Jerky Recipe: Make Your Own Classic Snack!

Duke’s beef jerky is a mainstay of the snack aisle, but you can’t always run out to the grocery store every time you get a craving for it. What’s a hungry jerky lover to do?

Well, make it yourself, of course! Follow our recipe to make your own Duke’s beef jerky and keep some on hand for when your stomach starts growling.

Duke’s Beef Jerky Ingredients

Ingredients for making Jack Daniels beef jerky
Ingredients for making Duke’s beef jerky

Selecting the Right Meat for Beef Jerky

For our Duke’s beef jerky, we used pre-sliced sirloin tip. Sirloin tip is lean and tender, making it perfect for beef jerky.

Our choice of beef is sirloin tip thin
Our choice of beef is sirloin tip thin

Pre-sliced beef is great for making jerky: you’ll have little to no fat to trim and you don’t need to spend time slicing it just right. And pre-sliced beef is usually cut into very thin strips, which dry much quicker than hand-cut strips.

That’s not to say that you can’t use other cuts or slice your own beef, though! If you want to switch it up, try using flank steak or top, bottom or eye of round.

Preparing the Beef for Marinating

If you bought pre-sliced beef with all the fat removed, you may be able to skip these steps and move directly to the marinating. Otherwise, prep your beef as follows.

Trimming Excess Fat

Fat causes beef jerky to spoil, especially it the jerky is stored for long periods of time. Removing it is essential if you want the highest-quality jerky.

Trim as much of the fat as you can. Being thorough here makes a big difference in your final results!

Freezing and Slicing the Beef

When you’ve removed all the fat, stick the beef in the freezer for an hour or two. You just want it to firm up a little so it’s easier to slice, so don’t forget about it!

Remove the beef when you notice ice crystals beginning to form on it.

Now it’s time to cut the beef. With a sharp knife, slice it into strips no thicker than ¼ inch.

Make sure you’re cutting against the grain — this results in more tender jerky with a more appealing texture.

Marinating the Beef Slices

Making the Duke’s marinade is easy — just mix all the ingredients together in a measuring cup until you get a smooth mixture.

Making the marinade for our beef jerky
Mixing marinade and our beef jerky

Put your beef strips in a lidded container or Ziploc bag, then add the marinade and shake it up. Place the container or bag in the fridge for 6-24 hours, shaking it occasionally so the marinade doesn’t settle.

The longer you marinate the beef, the stronger the final flavors will be.

Dehydrating the Beef Slices

Now, at last, we’ll turn that beef into jerky!

You can use an electric smoker or oven to dry your beef, but we highly recommend using a food dehydrator instead. I bought mine on Amazon. These handy devices are inexpensive, easy to use and more efficient than smokers and ovens.

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Remove the excess marinade from the beef by laying the strips on a paper towel for a few minutes. Once the extra liquid is absorbed, arrange the strips on your food dehydrator trays.

 Beef placed on our dehydrator
Beef placed on our dehydrator

Then sit back and let the dehydrator do its job. At 160 degrees F, our thin pre-sliced beef took 4 hours to dry; if your beef is thicker, you’ll need to dry it for 6-8 hours.

When it’s fully dried, your beef jerky will weigh about ⅓ of its original weight. If you start with a pound of beef, you’ll end up with 5-7 ounces of jerky.

Beef jerky looks like after being dehydrated for 4 hours
Beef jerky looks like after being dehydrated for 4 hours

Step-By-Step Instructions

Makes 5 servings
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Marinade Time: 6-24 hours, average 8 hours
Drying Time: 4-8 hours depending on thickness, average 6 hours

1 lb beef — Beef Sirlion tip steak thin — or the Sirlion $6.82 per 1 lb at Walmart
1/4 teaspoon Prague Powder #1 curing saltBetween $12 and $13 for a 2.5 lb. pack
(96 teaspoons per pound means that 1/4 of a teaspoon equates to 0.01 cents)
1/4 teaspoon onion powderBetween $4 and $5 for a 1.73 oz. container
( 6 tsp. per oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.38 cents or 0.10 cents per 1/4 teaspoon )
1 teaspoon of salt 0.01 cents per 1 tsp
1 tablespoon of liquid smoke hickory$1.34 for a 4 oz. container at Walmart
(2 tbsp per one oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.17 cents )
2 tablespoon of brown sugar $2.17 for 2lb. container at Walmart
( 31 tbsp. per pound means that 2 tbls equates to 0.07 cents )
1/4 cup of soy sauce$1.52 for a 5 oz. container at Walmart
(1/4 cup or 2 oz. = 0.61 cents)
1 clove of garlic minced $0.30 per one at Walmart
Total Cost: $8.09/5.7oz. (full cost: meat + ingredients)

1. Remove any and all fat from your beef.
2. If not using pre-sliced beef, freeze the beef for 1-2 hours, then cut into ¼ inch (or less) slices.
3. Add all marinade ingredients to a measuring cup and stir until smooth.
4. Combine beef and marinade in a container or Ziploc bag, then refrigerate for 6-24 hours.
5. Lay beef strips on a paper towel to remove excess liquid.
6. Place beef in a food dehydrator at 160 degrees F for 4-8 hours — thicker strips need more time.

Delicious Duke's beef jerky
Delicious Duke’s beef jerky

Last update on 2021-09-08

"You might be a redneck if you think that beef jerky and moon pies are two of the major food groups."
-- Jeff Foxworthy

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