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Homemade Beef Jerky

Beef jerky

There are certain things in life that have universal appeal. Everyone loves a juicy steak, a crispy chicken wing, or a tender piece of fish. These types of foods are staple for most people. But, there is one form of meat that not many people enjoy and that’s jerky. Many people find it to be too dry and chewy but there are those who love it so much that they make it at home. And, I am one of them. 


Beef jerky is probably one of the most popular snacks in the world. But it wasn’t always that way. Centuries ago, beef jerky was merely a survival food used by Native Americans, pioneers, and settlers to extend their supply of meat when conditions were less than ideal. Today, however, many people have come to think of beef jerky as an anytime snack.


For most people, beef jerky is an afterthought— something to keep in your desk for emergencies. What most people don’t know is that jerky is one of the oldest survival foods in the world and has its roots in many cultures. From Asia to Europe and the Americas, dried, cured meats have been commonplace for centuries. 


If you are a lover of jerky, you’ll know how hard it is to find good jerky at a fair price. It’s either overly salty or just has too much sugar in it. But there’s nothing as delicious and wholesome as homemade jerky once you get the hang of making it. Making beef jerky is not that difficult, but you need to keep certain things in mind while making it. Let us take a look at some useful tips on how to make beef jerky at home.


How to make homemade beef jerky

Beef jerky

Homemade Beef Jerky

You might think that beef jerky is the unhealthiest snack there is. But in reality, it’s just a piece of meat that’s been dehydrated to remove excess moisture and help get you through long hikes or other situations where bringing along a lot of food might not be the best idea. Put simply, beef jerky is dried meat.
As with all foods, there are unhealthy versions available at the store. Most prepackaged beef jerky contains a lot of added salt, sugar and artificial preservatives. Thankfully, making your own homemade beef jerky at home is easy, affordable and much healthier than store-bought options. You just need time (about five hours!), some thinly sliced flank steak, fish sauce and other seasonings.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American, Vietnamese
Servings 4 people


  • 1 Air Fryer or Oven


  • 4 pounds top round beef
  • 2 tablespoons lemongrass powder
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons brown or regular sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne or paprika powder
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons 5 spice powder
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon korean chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce


  • Cut the meat into thin slices. For those who are in the US, you can get the pre-sliced ones at the grocery stores, or you can ask your butchers to cut them for you. I got mine at Winco.
  • Mix all the spices together except for the fish sauce.
  • Marinate the meat by sprinkling the seasoning mixture to cover both sides of the meat. Do this for each slice, and let it rest in the fridge overnight.
  • After marinating the meat, cook it on a skillet or wok (medium heat) with 2 tablespoons of fish sauce until it is done. The meat should be cooked through, but not too overcooked.
  • Preheat the oven to 120 °F. On a baking rack, place the meat in a single layer. You can either bake the meat at 120 °F or dehydrate it for 2 hours. Remember to have a tray at the bottom of your oven to catch the drips.
  • Once your meat is partially dried, it might feel a little tough and chewy depending on the quality of the meat you get at the store. To tenderize them, you can use a tenderizing mallet to pound and flatten the meat and soften the muscle fibers.
  • Flip the meat every 30 minutes to make sure it is dried completely on both sides.



Side notes: beef jerky tastes really good with chili sauce and soda. I use sriracha to add a little heat.
After you have your meat ready, you can store it in the fridge for up to a long time. The drier the meat, the longer it will last.
Keyword Cured Meat, Dried Meat, Homemade Beef Jerky

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