Savory beef jerky meets sweet brown sugar and spicy red pepper in this palate-pleasing recipe. It’s easier than you’d think to put an Asian-fusion twist on this classic American snack — the secret is in the seasonings!
Sweet and Spicy Beef Jerky Ingredients
- 1 lb. of beef
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp black pepper ground
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup water cold
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp ginger ground
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Choosing the Right Beef
When it comes to beef jerky, not all beef is created equal.
You don’t need to get super-fancy, but choosing the right cut will make a big difference in both your workload and the quality of your final product.
For this recipe, you’ll need 1 pound (450 grams) of lean beef. Go for a thick cut with as little fat as possible — it’ll make preparing the beef so much easier!
Top round London Broil is an excellent option, as it’s a thick cut with very little fat. We used it when making this recipe for ourselves.
Other suitable cuts include bottom round, sirloin tip, flank steak and eye of round.
Preparing the Beef and Marinade
Trimming the Fat
Even the leanest cuts of beef usually have a little fat on them.
But fat is the last thing you want when you’re making beef jerky. It alters the flavor of the jerky and causes it to spoil much faster than it would otherwise — bad news if you plan to store your jerky for later!
So before doing anything else, thoroughly trim all the fat from your beef with a knife.
Freezing and Slicing the Beef
Once you’ve finished trimming the fat, put your beef in the freezer for an hour or two.
Chilling the beef for a couple of hours stiffens it up a bit, making it much easier to slice. If you’re in a hurry, you can skip the freezing step, but we highly recommend it if you’ve got the time.
When it’s ready, cut the beef into thin strips. Each slice should be no thicker than ¼ inch.
Slice the meat across or against the grain. This results in more tender beef jerky with a more pleasant texture; slicing with the grain will produce jerky that’s harder to chew.
Preparing and Using the Marinade
Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a measuring cup.
Layer your sliced beef in a container or Ziploc bag, then add the marinade and mix well. Put the beef and marinade in the fridge for at least six hours; for the strongest flavor, leave it for 24 hours.
Stir or shake up the mixture periodically, as the marinade will settle over time.
Dehydrating the Beef
Remove the excess marinade from your beef slices by laying them on a paper towel and blotting them dry. This will speed up the dehydration process.
We recommend using a dehydrator as it’s easy to clean, efficient, and compact. I bought mine on Amazon
- EVEN HEAT DISTRIBUTION: 600 watts of drying...
- ADJUSTABLE TEMPERATURE CONTROL: The...
- EXPANDABLE TO 12 TRAYS: Comes with five (13...
- EXPANDABLE TO 12 TRAYS: Comes with five (13...
- ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: (2) Fruit Roll Sheet,...
Arrange your strips on trays in a single layer and dry them using your preferred method. We dried ours at 160 degrees F for 6 hours, but your time could range from 4 to 8 hours.
Starting at the 4 hour mark, check your jerky every 45 minutes or so for doneness. It’s fully cooked when you’re able to bend a slice and see it break a little without snapping.
You’ll end up with around ⅓ of your starting weight in jerky. Our original pound of beef dried into 6.4 ounces of beef jerky (see scale below).
Or 181 grams (see scale below).
Recipe of Sweet and Spicy Beef Jerky
Makes 5 servings
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Marinade Time: 6-24 hours, average 8 hours
Drying Time: 4-8 hours, average 6 hours
|1 lb beef — Top round London broil beef (any could work)||$5.84 per 1 lb. at Walmart|
|1/4 cup soy sauce||$1.52 for a 5 oz. container at Walmart|
(1/4 cup or 2 oz. = 0.61 cents)
|2 tablespoon brown sugar||$2.17 for 2lb. a container at Walmart|
( 31 tbsp. per pound means that 2 tbsp. equates to 0.07 cents )
|1 teaspoon black pepper ground||$3.98 for a 3.12 oz. container at Walmart|
( 6 tsp. per oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.21 cents)
|1/2 tsp teaspoon garlic powder||Between $4 and $5 for a 2.33 oz. container|
( 6 tsp. per oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.28 cents or 0.14 cents per 1/2 teaspoon )
|1 tablespoon honey||$2.98 per 12 oz. container at Walmart|
(2 tbsp per oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.12 cents)
|2 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 or 0.18 cents per 2 teaspoons )
|1/4 cup water cold||I used tap water so it was essentially free|
|2 teaspoon rice vinegar||$1.57 per 12 oz. container at Walmart|
( 6 tsp. per oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.02 cents or 0.04 cents per 2 teaspoon )
|1 teaspoon dijon mustard||$3 – 4 dollar range for a 8 oz. container|
( 6 tsp. per one oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.06 cents )
|1 teaspoon ginger ground||$4 – 5 dollar range for a 1.64 oz. container|
( 6 tsp. per oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.41 cents )
|1/4 teaspoon sesame oil||$4 – 5 dollar range for a 8.4 oz. container |
( 6 tsp. per oz. means that 1 teaspoon equates to 0.08 cents or 0.02 cents per 1/4 teaspoon )
|1 tablespoon lemon juice||$1 per one lemon in Walmart, I used half of it, it is 0.5 centes|
|Total Cost:||$8.08/6.4 oz. (full cost: meat + ingredients)|
1. Trim the fat from your beef, then place in freezer for 1-2 hours.
2. Cut the beef into slices no more than ¼ inch thick, slicing against or across the grain.
3. Mix all marinade ingredients together.
4. Combine beef and marinade in container or Ziploc bag, then place in fridge for 6-24 hours.
5. Remove excess liquid from beef with paper towel.
6. Dry the beef in a food dehydrator, oven or electric smoker at 160 degrees F for 4-8 hours or until slices bend and crack without snapping.
Great balance of heat and sweet makes this jerky very popular. Let’s cook it!
Last update on 2022-06-23
"You might be a redneck if you think that beef jerky and moon pies are two of the major food groups."
-- Jeff Foxworthy