Beef Jerky DIY!

Have you ever wondered HOW to make really great tasting beef jerky for a fraction of the price of store bought?  Well, if you or your family like to snack on beef jerky and you want to know how to make your own, either in a food dehydrator OR in your oven, read on!Beef Jerky DIY! / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Over 20 years ago I bought a food dehydrator (see photo below) for about $25. I have used that thing a LOT ever since. It is a real “workhorse”, and I have used it for making my own beef jerky (as well as many varieties of dried fruits, spices, veggies, etc.) ever since!  That original $25 I spent was a great investment. (The photo below is to show you my little 5 rack machine – drying mint leaves and cherry tomatoes from our garden).

Food dehydrator with herbs inside

Making beef jerky is very easy, actually. Very thin strips of beef are marinated overnight (or a minimum of 4 hours), then placed in the dehydrator or oven and “dried” until pliable.

Here’s how you make beef jerky (with only 4 ingredients!)  The basic mix is 3 parts soy sauce, 1 part brown sugar, and 1 part Liquid Smoke (the picture shows what kind I use – found at grocery store).  Mix it up in a medium bowl.

Photo of bottle of concentrated Liquid Smoke flavoring

The meat (I like to use London broil or flank steak) is sliced into very thin 1/8″ strips (it is easiest to cut if meat is partially thawed after being frozen).  If using London broil, cut slices WITH THE GRAIN. If using Flank steak, cut slices AGAINST THE GRAIN.Meat is then marinaded in sauce for a MINIMUM of 4 hours in refrigerator (overnight is BEST – covered container!).

Raw beef strips marinating in bowl

When meat is done marinating, lay strips on paper towels to absorb excess sauce. Pat lightly dry.

Marinated beef strips draining on paper towel

Place strips of beef onto dehydrator racks leaving space for air to flow between each piece. If using oven, place strips onto aluminum foil covered baking sheets.

Strips of marinated beef in dehydrator

If using dehydrator, dry beef  strips for 3-4 hours, turning strips over about halfway through drying process. Jerky should be fully dry, but still pliable when done.  If using oven, dry the jerky on the lowest setting your oven will go (usually between 150 and 170 degrees). Jerky will need to dry in oven for 8-10 hours, so it’s easy to put it in oven at night and have it done the next morning.

The finished jerky will have a very nice smoky, slightly teriyaki taste, and boy, is it GOOD! Remove strips from dehydrator or oven, and let completely cool.  Keep jerky stored in an airtight container or sealable bag.  I’ve made my own beef jerky for over 20 years now, and it is always a big hit with my husband and our sons… and given the price of a bag of jerky at the store (whoa!), making it at home is a real money saver!

Pieces of beef jerky on paper towel

Hope you will consider trying this easy recipe… it’s never failed me yet!  Have a fantastic day!

Author's signature

Recipe Source: My Mr. Coffee Food Dehydrator Owner’s Manual (really, really old)

Beef Jerky DIY!
Prep Time
4 hrs
Cook Time
4 hrs
Total Time
8 hrs

Make your own beef jerky in a food dehydrator at home for a fraction of the cost of purchasing it!

Category: Appetizer/Snack
Servings: 25 slices (approx.)
Calories Per Serving: 35 kcal
Author: JB at The Grateful Girl Cooks!
For marinade:
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Liquid Smoke
For meat:
  • 1 pound London Broil or flank steak (or however much you want, quantity-wise). Try to use meat with a limited amount of fat present, for best results.
  • *The amount used will vary depending on how much meat you are using to make jerky. You will need to have enough of the sauce to marinade all strips of beef.
  • *FOR EXAMPLE: 3/4 cup soy sauce , 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup Liquid Smoke
  1. Slice meat into 1/8 inch wide strips (TIP: meat will cut BEST if you use slightly thawed, but still partially frozen meat).
  2. Combine marinade ingredients in medium sized bowl. Add meat strips to the marinade. Coat all meat with the marinade. Cover bowl and let marinate in refrigerator at LEAST 4 hours (or overnight-BEST!).
  3. When ready, lightly pat dry meat strips (place strips on paper towels).
  4. Lay strips on food dehydrator racks OR place strips on baking sheets lined with aluminum foil. Leave space between each piece so air can circulate.
  5. If using dehydrator, dehydrate at 145 degrees for approximately 3-4 hours, until dry but pliable.
  6. If using oven, turn oven to lowest setting (150-170 degrees). Let jerky bake for 8-10 hours until dry, but pliable.
  7. Remove beef jerky when done. Let cool completely. Store in airtight container. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts
Beef Jerky DIY!
Amount Per Serving (1 piece)
Calories 35
% Daily Value*
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 406mg 17%
Potassium 85mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 2g 1%
Sugars 2g
Protein 4g 8%
Calcium 0.7%
Iron 3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.




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