How to Make Jerky

Jerky is a fabulous food for snacking or if you are prepping for an emergency. Jerky can also be used to flavor bean soups.


All of the marinade recipes below are sufficient for 1 pound of meat. If you want to use more meat, i.e., 2, 3 or 4 pounds, double, triple or quadruple the marinade ingredients. These recipes can be used for beef, bison, venison, salmon, chicken and turkey jerky. Choose your meat, then choose your marinade. You can also create your own marinade with the flavor combinations that you like best!

If you are using a dehydrator, make sure that you read the instructions before proceeding with the recipes. Generic instructions for a dehydrator are given below, but your dehydrator may have different guidelines.

Meat and Fish Choices


  1. Either slice beef yourself about 1/8-inch thick or have your butcher slice it using the #2 setting on their slicer. Slice beef against the grain. This makes the jerky easier to chew and eat. Cutting with the grain will result in a chewier beef jerky.
  2. Cut all visible large pieces of fat from the meat.


  1. Select your marinade from the list below. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except meat. Stir to mix well.
  2. Place meat 3 or 4 layers deep in a glass, stoneware, plastic or stainless steel container, spooning mixture over each layer. Cover tightly.
  3. Marinate for 6 to 12 hours in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally and keeping mixture tightly covered.
Jerky Marinade

Dehydrator Method

  1. Slice meat into long strips approximately 1/4 inch thick. Uniform slices will shorten the drying time, so use a meat slicer or have your butcher do it. If you slice the meat without an electric slicer, partially freeze it first to make cutting easier. Cut across the grain and remove excess fat.
  2. Once marinated, place meat on drying racks. Do not overlap the strips. For the dehydrator use a temperature setting of 140 to 160 degrees F. The temperature may be lowered to as low as 130 degrees F after 4 hours.
  3. Occasionally blot the meat with paper towels as it dries to remove beads of oil, if desired.

Oven Method

  1. Heat oven to 175 degrees F (80 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack over the foil.
  2. Transfer meat to paper towels to dry. Discard marinade. Arrange slices in a single layer on the prepared wire rack on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake until dry and leathery, 3 to 4 hours. Cut with scissors into bite-size pieces.
  4. Dryness test: Test jerky for dryness by cooling a piece. When cool it should crack when bent but not break. There should be no moist spots.
  5. Storing jerky: Storage is affected by the curing preparation used and the humidity and temperature of the storage area. Jerky containing salt and cured without a commercial curing preparation may be stored at room temperature for 1 to 2 months. If the air humidity is low, the container should have a loose-fitting lid or one with wholes punched in it. Good air circulation keeps the flavor fresher.
  6. If the humidity of the air is more than 30%, store jerky in an airtight container. Jerky may be refrigerated or frozen in an airtight container to increase shelf life and maintain flavor.

Buffalo Chicken Jerky

Irresistable Beef Jerky

Peppered Beef Jerky

Flavorful Jerky

Simple Turkey Jerky

Western Barbecue Jerky

Southwestern Jerky

Hot and Tangy Jerky

Hawaiian Jerky

Fiesta Jerky (hot and spicy)

Middle Eastern Jerky

Korean Jerky

* Follow standard directions (above), but leave out the sesame seeds. Those get sprinkled on as the wet meat is put into the dehydrator.

Teriyaki Jerky 1

Teriyaki Jerky 2

Mild Mexican Jerky

Frontier Jerky

Curried Jerky

Sweet and Sour Jerky

Terrific Jerky

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