Beef jerky is a great snack for any occasion. There’s only one problem with it. If you buy it from a store you will pay close to an arm and a leg for it. Making it yourself won’t only save you money, in my opinion, it tastes better too and it’s not as hard as you might think. We’re going to go over everything you need to know about how to make your own beef jerky and give you one of the best smoked beef jerky recipes around.
Best Cuts For Smoked Beef Jerky
First you need to decide what cut of meat you are going to use for your jerky. There are plenty of great options out there. For a guide on which cut of beef to use, check out our article on Best Meat For Beef Jerky. If you are feeling a little more exotic, venison, elk and bison are also good choices. Whatever cut you decide to go with, there are a few things that you can do to make your jerky better even before you get it on the smoker.
Let talk about preparing your jerky.
- Trim The Fat
- Whatever cut of beef or other meat you are using, it’s best to trim all the fat off of it that you can. Since we are smoking the jerky instead of drying it, we want to remove the fat. Hunks of fat will spoil faster than the muscle part of the jerky.
- What Thickness
- I think jerky that is a little bit thicker is better. It retains more of it’s moisture and gives you more to gnaw on. Shoot for about 1/8 inch thick. If you don’t know how thick 1/8 inch is, just stack two quarters on top of each other and that’s about 1/8 inch.
- Slicing Against The Grain
- Most meat should be sliced against the grain and jerky isn’t any different. It will make any cut of meat and jerky more tender and easier to eat. If you’re unfamiliar with grain in meat and what it is, here is a link to more info on slicing meat against the grain that will help explain it.
This recipe is a crowd pleaser. The balsamic vinegar adds a little bit of sweetness, the soy sauce adds a little bit of saltiness and and the Louisiana Hot Sauce adds just the right amount of heat. If you aren’t into the heat, that’s ok, just skip on the hot sauce and the crushed red peeper flakes. Every once in a while I’ll sprinkle on some black pepper near the end of the cook just for good measure.
Smoking Beef Jerky
Lets talk about smoking it real quick. Depending on how good of a chef you are and how evenly you can slice meat will determine how often you need to check on it while it’s cooking. Me for example, I have to check on it a lot. That’s because I’m not the best at slicing the jerky evenly. If you have uneven pieces, some is going to get done before the others. So when checking to see if it’s done, what we want to look for is the jerky to be a little firm and not soft. If it’s soft, it still needs longer. You want the piece of jerky to be able to stand up on it’s own and firm enough to bend but not break. Once all the pieces are like that, you’re good to go. Alright, I think that’s here. Let get to the recipe.
Smoked Beef Jerky
- Cutting Board
- Large Bowl
- Cooling Rack
- 5 pound Bottom Round Beef Roast Any cut from the "Round" of the cow will work great. Also, flank and sirloin tip will work great.
- 1.5 cups Worcestershire
- 1 cup Soy Sauce
- 1/2 cup A1 Sauce
- 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tbsp Steak Seasoning
- 1/4 cup Louisiana Hot Sauce optional
- 2 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper optional
- Slice the roast beef against the grain in approximately 1/8 inch slices.
- Mix all marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
- Place sliced beef in the bowl with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
- Place marinaded beef on the smoker. Turn smoker to 225 degrees and let the beef smoke for approximately 2 hours. Keep checking on the jerky to make sure you aren't over cooking it. You will know when its done when the jerky is firm but not soft and still slightly pliable.
- Once the beef jerky is done. Place on a cooling rack. Once thoroughly cooled, enjoy!
Beef Jerky Wrap-up
If you don’t get it right the first time don’t worry. To make good jerky, it takes a little time and a little practice. Trust me when I say that once you make it for yourself, you won’t want to buy it any more. You will save some money and learn a new skill on your smoker. What are you waiting for? Go buy some meat.