Boy, do I love biting down on a tasty slice of jerky, and I know I’m not the only one. Not only does it taste good, but it travels well, which is why it’s a favorite with cowboys on the trail, truckers, hunters and everyone that craves good smoky flavor.
If you’ve ever wanted to try making your own jerky but think it may be too much trouble, I’m gonna show you two different, easy methods to do it yourself. The first is indoors in your own oven, and the other is outdoors on your smoker, and neither method requires a dehydrator.
Start With The Right Cut Of Meat
You can use several different cuts of meat to make jerky and wild game is a great choice too. I prefer a good arm roast because it’s easier to slice.
No matter what cut you choose, if you don’t have a slicer or you have you a problem getting the meat sliced thin, stick that thing in the freezer for about an hour. Once it sets up and chills, you’ll be able to slice it so much thinner. Just remember, when slicing, make sure to remove all the excess fat, because fat will make the jerky spoil.
Savor The Flavors
Time to talk about marinade for our jerky. Let’s get saucy … soy, Worcestershire, liquid smoke. Liquid smoke comes in several flavors; I prefer that good mesquite flavor. Remember the liquid smoke is stout, so you only need to use a small amount to get a good smoky flavor.
Once you coat the meat in your marinade, cover the bowl and place it in the ice box for at least 6 hours.
I like to leave it overnight to get the best flavors.
Heat It Up
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees; it doesn’t take much heat. Low and slow is what your looking for this non-dehydrator smoked jerky you can make right in there in your own kitchen. Line a rack with aluminum foil to keep from making a mess in your over, place the meat in a single layer, and make sure each piece is flat, straight and not folded over.
The no dehydrator trick here is to place a towel or pot holder in between the door and oven to allow airflow while it’s cooking
Smoke It If You Got It
Move things outside to your smoker for this version! I’m using my Pit Barrel Cooker and placing the meat on skewers leaving space between the pieces so the air can circulate. However, you can use any type of smoker you have for this.
Give it a couple of hours at between 170 and 180 degrees and get ready to savor the flavor.
Our no dehydrator recipe is also in our cookbook: Faith, Family and the Feast
When It’s Done
I like my jerky “bendable,” more tender and chewy. If you like your jerky on the crispier side, just cook it a little longer. Whichever method you use, once the cooking/smoking process is down, let the jerky dry for at least an hour.
For storage you can freeze these for a long time. For shorter term storage place the jerky in a airtight container with a paper towel and keep for up to 5 days.
Watch the Video…
No Dehydrator Jerky - Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 2 lbs. meat chuck roast, bottom round, brisket, deer, elk, etc.
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 ½ tablespoons liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon meat tenderizer
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Freeze the meat for about 40 minutes or just until stiff for easier cutting.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
- Remove the meat from the freezer and cut into thin slices. Cut off any excess fat around the edges, this will prevent spoilage and allow for faster curing.
- Add the meat strips and sauce to a large bowl and toss to coat well. Cover and place in the icebox for 6 hours or overnight. The longer it sets, the better the flavor.
- Remove the rack from the oven and cover it with foil. Preheat the oven to 180ºF. Place the strips of meat on the foiled rack, making sure the strips are flat and not touching each other. Place the rack in the center of the oven. If using two racks, be sure to rotate halfway through cooking.
- Close the oven door and place a towel or potholder in between the door and the oven, just enough to allow a small crack for airflow. This will allow moisture to release while cooking.
- About 1 ½ hours in, flip the meat over and continue cooking for another 1 ½ hours. You can cook the jerky longer for a crunchier texture.
- Remove from the oven and place the jerky on a wire rack until dried and cool. Place in a plastic bag with a paper towel and seal. This can be stored for up to 5 days, or it can be frozen.