How Long Should Beef Jerky Be Marinated?

Making your own homemade beef jerky involves making your own marinade mixtures. This part of the process is thrilling because it allows you to make your own flavors or adjust your favorite recipes.

Still, when you’re in the kitchen brewing up your latest marinade concoctions, you’re probably left wondering how long the beef should sit in the flavory goodness.

While there’s no set number for marinating, there is a good window of time that should give you amazing, tasty beef jerky.

Remember, keeping the meat in the marinade for too long won’t be that worrisome. Not letting the beef soak up the flavors, spices, and sauces for long enough is what you should be concerned about.

A good range for marinating your beef strips should be anywhere from six hours to an entire day. The sweet spot for most recipes is around 16 to 18 hours, though. This gives the meat enough time to absorb all of the marinade’s flavor.

When marinating, you should be sure to cover the beef strips in their entirety. Although you’ll be leaving them to sit in the sauce for almost a day, you still want to be sure that each piece of meat gets the love and attention it deserves.

Once each strip is bathed in the flavor infusion, you need to store it properly. Using Ziploc bags or works best, as leaving the beef in an airtight container will also ensure it stays fresh and doesn’t harden too much.

This bag should then be placed inside the fridge until you are ready to dry your meat to start the jerky process.

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

2 thoughts on “How Long Should Beef Jerky Be Marinated?”

  1. Good advice! I found that 12 hours doesn’t allow proper infusion, although the meat seems to breakdown quicker with time. When it come to soy sauces, do you recommend low sodium over regular?

    1. If you use low sodium soy sauce, taste it before marinating, you can add more salt, if you do not use low sodium again taste it to see if you need to add more salt.

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