Jack Daniels beef jerky

Jack Daniels Beef Jerky Recipe: A Match Made in Heaven

The rich, smooth taste of whiskey and the hearty, savory flavor of beef: could there be a more perfect combination?

This crowd-pleasing Jack Daniels beef jerky is sure to be a hit at your next party… that is, if you don’t devour it all before the guests arrive!

Jack Daniels Beef Jerky Ingredients

Ingredients for making Jack Daniels beef jerky
Ingredients for making Jack Daniels beef jerky

The first step is to check if you have the following ingredients:

And of course, beef meat.

Picking the Perfect Beef

Our choice of beef is bottom round steak
Our choice of beef was Bottom round steak

Your choice of beef makes a big difference in the quality of your jerky.

The number-one thing to remember is that fat makes beef jerky spoil. Choosing a lean cut of beef will reduce your workload and result in longer-lasting beef jerky.

We used pre-sliced bottom round steak to make our Jack Daniels beef jerky.

Bottom round steak contains very little fat, and buying pre-sliced beef is a real time-saver!

Thin slices dry much faster than hand-cut thicker slices, and you don’t need to freeze or cut them yourself.

But if you’d like to use a different cut, try eye of round, sirloin tip, top round or flank steak. And if you don’t mind slicing your own strips, buying a whole cut can save you money and broaden your selection at the grocery store. It should be approximately one pound.

Weighing meat in oz
Weighing meat in oz.

Or about 450 grams.

Weighing meat in grams
Weighing meat in grams

Prepping the Beef

Removing the Fat

Whether or not you buy pre-sliced beef, you may still need to trim the fat before making your jerky.

Remove as much of the fat as you can. Your beef jerky will last longer and taste better, so it’s well worth the effort.

If you’re using pre-sliced beef, you can skip ahead to “Marinating the Beef” now. Otherwise, keep reading!

Freezing the Beef

This step is optional, but we highly recommend putting your beef in the freezer for 1-2 hours before slicing it.

Chilling the beef makes it easier to cut into thin slices. It won’t give way as easily under the pressure of the knife, so you’ll be able to make cleaner cuts.

Remove the beef from the freezer when it’s just beginning to form ice crystals on the surface. It should be firmer than usual but still slightly pliable.

Slicing the Beef

Cut the beef into slices no greater than ¼ inch thick. Be aware that thicker slices will take longer to dehydrate!

When slicing, cut the beef against the grain, not with it. Cutting against the grain will produce jerky that’s easier to chew; many people find that jerky that’s cut with the grain isn’t tender enough.

Marinating the Beef

To make the marinade, simply mix all the ingredients together in a separate container. To make the proportions accurate, I always use a measuring cup.

Measure cup
Measuring cup

Feel free to adjust to your taste — add more black pepper for a little extra kick, or less brown sugar to tone down the sweetness.

Making the marinade for our beef jerky
Making the marinade for our beef jerky

Layer your beef strips in a container, then pour the marinade over and mix well.

Place the container in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Allow a minimum of 6 hours for the beef to absorb the marinade.

Drying the Beef Jerky

You can dry your beef jerky in an oven or electric smoker, but we recommend using a food dehydrator. I bought mine on Amazon. It’s a compact, inexpensive and easy-to-use device that’s perfect for making beef jerky,

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Remove the beef strips and lay them on a paper towel for a few minutes to absorb the excess marinade. Then arrange them in a single layer on your dehydrator trays.

Place the strips on paper towels
Place the strips on paper towels for removing the marinade

Dry your beef jerky in the dehydrator at 160 degrees F for 4-7.5 hours. Our thin slices dried in 4.5 hours; thicker slices will need more time.

Beef jerky placed on the dehydrator
Beef jerky placed on the dehydrator

Your jerky is done when you can bend it slightly and it cracks without snapping. If it doesn’t crack, it needs more time; if it breaks, it’s been in for too long.

Beef looks like after dehydration
Beef looks like after dehydration

You’ll end up with around ⅓ of the beef’s original weight in jerky. Our pound of beef turned into 5.7 ounces ( 161 g. ) of Jack Daniels beef jerky.

Weighing meat after dehydration in oz
Weighing meat after dehydration in oz
Weighing meat after dehydration in grams
Weighing meat after dehydration in grams


Makes 5 servings
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Marinade Time: 6-24 hours, average 7 hours
Drying Time: 4-7.5 hours, average 6 hours

1 lb beef — Bottom round steak thin (any could work)$6.82 per 1 lb. at Walmart
1/4 teaspoon Prague Powder #1 curing salt Between $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)
2 teaspoon liquid smoke hickory$1.34 for a 4 oz. container at Walmart
( 6 tsp. per oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.06 cents and 0.12 cents per 2 teaspoons )
1 teaspoon molasses$8-9 dollar range for a 9.75 oz. container
( 6 tsp. per oz. means that 1 tsp equates to 0.14 cents )
1/4 cup bourbon$25-30 dollar range for 13 oz. buttle
(1/4 cup or 2 oz. = $3.8 )
2 tablespoon brown sugar$2.17 for 2lb. container at Walmart
( 31 tbsp. per pound means that 2 tbsp. equates to 0.07 cents )
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper$4.48 per 3.12 oz. container at Walmart
( 6 tsp. per oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.24 cents )
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce$1.00 for a 10 oz. container at Walmart
( 2 tbsp per oz. – 0.20 cents )
2 tablespoon soy sauce$1.52 for a 5 oz. container at Walmart
( 2 tbsp per oz. – 0.30 cents )
Total Cost:$11.7/5.7oz. (full cost: meat + ingredients)

Step-By-Step Instructions

1. Trim the fat from your beef.
2. If not using pre-sliced beef, freeze for 1-2 hours, then cut into slices no thicker than ¼ inch.
3. Combine marinade ingredients in a measuring cup.
4. Add beef and marinade to a container and place in fridge for 6-24 hours.
5. Remove excess marinade with a paper towel.
6. Dry beef in a food dehydrator at 160 degrees F for 4-5 hours (thin strips) or 5-7.5 hours (thick strips).

Jack Daniels beef jerky recipe

Last update on 2022-01-25

"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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