Dr. Pepper Jalapeno Beef Jerky

February 24, 2018

My Dr. Pepper Jalapeno Beef Jerky is legendary! This post includes steps on how to make beef jerky and the best beef jerky recipe ever. I mean, really. This post is so full of beef jerky knowledge, it should probably be a book. We are going to be talking cuts of meat, slicing tips, marinating basics, and dehydrating vs. smoking.

Dr. Pepper Jalapeno Beef Jerky

How to Make Beef Jerky:

Let’s start with the best cuts of beef for jerky-making. I try to pick a nice roast with very little fat marbling. My first choice is an eye of round roast. After that, I think a top round, sirloin roast, or rump roast would also work well. These cuts do have a bit more fat/gristle, but a lot of times the price is right so I don’t mind.

I also know of some people getting jerky guns and making jerky out of ground meats. I don’t personally have one of them, as my family seems to prefer actual strips of jerky to the snack stick type. However, if you want to use a jerky gun, many readers have had success by marinating the meat first as a whole cut and then grinding after.

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Beef Jerky Marinade

Now that you’ve got your cut of meat selected, let’s talk about getting that perfect jerky thin slice. I own a meat slicer, and have sliced my own meat for jerky before. If you plan on slicing your own meat, I recommend putting your roast in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour before slicing. The chilled roast will be more firm and you will get a much better result with more even slices. If you aren’t slicing at home, find a good butcher and buy your roast from them. They will be more than happy to do the slicing for you! Now, here is a point of debate for jerky makers.

Slicing with or against the grain?? I slice my jerky against the grain. In my opinion, this makes the jerky easier to chew and eat. I’ve got a bunch of little kiddos who would eat their weight in this Dr. Pepper Jalapeno Beef Jerky if I let them, and I don’t want to worry like crazy that they are going to be choking on unchewable chunks of jerky. Some people prefer cutting with the grain because once it is dry you get those nice long strands of jerky that you can tear off and work through. I’ve also heard people mention that slicing with the grain can cause your jerky to fall apart, but I haven’t experienced that personally. In fact, all of the pictures for this recipe are of jerky that is sliced against the grain and it held up great with an awesome bite.

How to Make Beef Jerky

Beef Jerky Marinade

Next, let’s chat marinades! My favorite part! There are a million jerky marinades out there, plenty that you can buy pre-made and just dump on your sliced meat and go. There are some good ones and some not so good ones and I am mad every time I waste money on a pre-made marinade AND a big pile of meat.

That’s why I created this recipe! The sweet, savory, heat flavors from this Dr. Pepper Jalapeno marinade are the perfect balance. The real basis for any great marinade, in my opinion, is a good combo of flavors. Savory, sweet, spice. Perfection!

*PRO-TIP* For this marinade I want to emphasize the importance of the reduction step. Take the time to reduce the marinade properly. If you don’t, the final result can be a little bland. Also, this isn’t super spicy as prepared. If you want more jalapeño flavor, slice your jalapeños very thin or even add in a third jalapeño to the marinade. Some readers have also substituted habanero peppers to up the spice factor.

Smoked Beef Jerky

Smoked Beef Jerky

Finally, cooking method. I have several smokers at my disposal and my favorite for jerky is my pellet grill. I can maintain temperatures around 160-180 degrees. This allows the jerky to slowly cook through while smoking. If you’re without a smoker, you can still dehydrate your jerky in your oven by laying out your jerky on a cooling rack before cooking. Follow the same time and temperature listed in the recipe, but leave the door of your oven slightly cracked so the moisture can escape and your jerky can dry properly. It’ll just be missing that reddish color and smoky flavor.

If you are using a dehydrator, please read the instructions accompanying your machine. Every dehydrator works differently and the timeline will be unique to your machine. The real secret, whether smoker, oven, or dehydrator, is to prep your jerky before drying. Removing the meat from the marinade and patting off the excess moisture is crucial for even cooking. I like to layer my jerky strips between paper towels and thoroughly pat dry. If you want a little extra spice, now is a great time to dust with some additional black pepper.

Beef Jerky Recipe

Last notes: If you like to use curing salts in your jerky you can use 1 level teaspoon of Prague Powder #1 or instacure #1 in the marinade recipe. If you cook the recipe as is, it will last in your fridge for up to two weeks in a zip top bag (if you don’t eat it all before then). If you use curing salt, it will last up to two weeks on your counter.

You made it through my jerky novel! You may very well now be an expert jerky maker! If you have any questions beyond what we talked about above, feel free to leave a comment here or jump on over to find me on Facebook or Instagram.

Best Beef Jerky Recipe

Beef Jerky Recipe Video


Dr. Pepper Jalapeno Beef Jerky Recipe

4.48 from 36 votes
Dr. Pepper Jalapeno Beef Jerky Recipe
Dr. Pepper Jalapeno Beef Jerky
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
10 hrs 20 mins
 

How to make the Best Beef Jerky ever! Right at home.

Course: Snacks
Cuisine: Snacks
Servings: 1 pounds yield
Author: Susie Bulloch (heygrillhey.com)
Ingredients
  • 1 2-3 pound beef eye of round roast thin sliced against the grain
For the marinade:
  • 2 cups Dr. Pepper
  • 2 jalapenos sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients for the marinade. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by half. You should have just over a cup of marinade. Chill the marinade completely.
  2. Transfer the sliced beef to a gallon sized zip top bag and pour in the marinade. Massage the marinade into the meat and refrigerate for 8-12 hours, or overnight.
  3. Preheat your smoker or oven to approximately 170 degrees.
  4. Remove the meat from the marinade and dry each strip thoroughly by laying on paper towels. Transfer the strips to the grill grate, jerky rack, or cooling rack and smoke/cook for 2-3 hours (depending on the thickness of your slices, some thicker pieces can take 4-5 hours). Check often after the first hour to be sure your jerky is drying evenly. You are looking for jerky that is firm and still slightly pliable, but not soft. If you bend your jerky and it breaks, you've cooked it a little too long.
  5. Place the finished jerky in a gallon zip top bag while it is still warm. Don't seal closed all the way. The jerky will steam in the bag slightly and this step will make the jerky moist. The jerky will last 3-4 days on the counter or 2 weeks in the fridge.
Recipe Notes

Grill used: CampChef SmokePro Lux Pellet Grill
Wood used: Maple and Cherry woods

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348 thoughts on “Dr. Pepper Jalapeno Beef Jerky

    1. Tried this recipe for the first time and I used Diet Dr Pepper…all I can say if wow! I cooked in the oven and made a mistake of sampling before it was done and ate half of my jerky. I love jerky and am hooked on this stuff.

  1. would the smoking temp or time differ much if I try this with venison. I think the “ball” roast would be the equivalent of your preferred cut. Whats your opinion on using the backstrap? that is all i have left after grinding the rest of the deer.

    1. Hey Brian- The time and temp would be similar for the jerky. The ball roast would be a great alternative cut. If you’ve got a backstrap, don’t slice that beauty up for jerky. It is like the filet of the deer, you should cook that to medium rare.

    2. I have used the back strap many times making jerky an it is the best for deer Jerky. I’m going to make this jerky recipe this weekend using beef , then if it turns out great I will be using my back stap too. Let me know how yours turns out using deer with this recipe. Good luck. It don’t sound like we will be disappointed.

  2. What is the thickness to have the butcher cut these at ? I didn’t see the thickness listed. Also do you go the full 12 hrs or longer with the time you put the meat into the bag and ready for cooking?

    1. Hey Nikki- I usually tell my butcher in making jerky and have them slice it to a “2” setting on their slicer. I usually go overnight and smoke in the morning, typically around 12 hours. If you want to go longer you can, but I’ve found the jerky gets saltier the longer it is in the marinade. Hope that helps!

      1. “2” doesn’t really tell me what thickness to slice the meat myself. . Could you please be more exact I.e. 1/8″ 1/4″. Thank you in advance.

        1. You’re right! Those numbers are for people using a meat slicer or having their butcher slice their meat. Shoot for 1/8 inch. 1/4 would be too thick. You’re more than welcome.

  3. I’ve used London broil before when it is on sale. its a decent shape to start with. Time to head to Costco and get some MEAT!

  4. You mentioned about putting it on a pellet grill. I have a Treager grill. I put on their cold smoker attachment. Do you know if I could smoke them at a lower temp for a longer time? Like under 100 deg?
    I will wait to hear back!
    Thank you.

    1. Hey John, I would not recommend cold smoking for jerky. The meat actually needs to cook through, so having the temperature above 169 degrees on the grill is important. I would just set your Traeger on the “Smoke” setting, that usually hovers around 165-170 for me.

      1. I just got a Traeger this year and have done this recipe a couple times. The last batch was the best I have had. I put it on smoke and check it every hr. @ to 3 hrs and it is perfect. This is a great recipe, I add a 3rd pepper and on half my batch I sprinkle a little pepper for an extra kick. Thanks for the great marinade.

    2. You must cook it quickly to 160 degrees. F or use curing powder. Otherwise risk botulism, a deadly poison. Prague no1 or instacure no 1 or purchase mix that includes curing powder. Use of celery powder which is exactly the same as nitrate is not recommended by me as it must convert to nitrites to work and 1 day may not be sufficient time. Also nitrates may be dangerous, nitrite is not if used as direcyed.

    1. Robert, hello. I use a New wave Oven (dehydrator), I make deer jerky in it all the time. I use full power for about 15 minutes..i don’t use the dehydrate rack. The metal rack that has 3 legs. there is a high side which gets the meat closer to the heat and shorter side holds the meat farther away from the heat.

    1. I have made jerky several times using my presto dehydrator, time depends on how many racks I have.I usually start checking after about 4 1/2 hours. I hand slice with a really good sharp knife about 1/8 inch thick. I judge the meat when it looks dry,it will bend but not break, just cracks,better a little moist that over dry.

    1. Yep! Use cure # 1. I would recommend 1 level teaspoon for 5 pounds of meat with this recipe. Just put the cure right in the marinade before adding the meat.

        1. The curing salt doesn’t replace the Kosher salt, just add it to the recipe. It is such a small amount of curing salt, it won’t make a big difference in the final flavor.

    1. For sure! Set your oven to 170 degrees and crack the oven door to let the moisture escape. You can follow the same time guidelines, about 3 hours, depending on how thick your jerky is sliced.

    1. That temperature is a little bit high for jerky, it tends to cook through without really drying slowly. Is there any way you can crack the door of the smoker to help keep the temperature down?

    1. Not for this recipe, unfortunately. It is designed to be used as a marinade for whole cuts. This much liquid would just make the ground beef fall apart. If you come up with a way to make it work, let me know!

    2. I used ground beef with it and all I have to say is when it is done it will be difficult to peel off a dehydrator pan so what I did was left it out for a little and it came off pretty easy. I’m making this recipe for the second time right now!

    1. Darn it, Tammy. I’m so sorry! It is working on all the browsers I’ve used. I’ve never seen that happen before, so I’m stumped! Maybe try a new browser?

    1. You can make this in your oven if you don’t have a smoker. Set your oven temperature to 170 degrees and crack the oven door to allow the moisture to escape. Follow the same time guidelines in the recipe.

        1. I wouldn’t put it directly on a baking sheet, you need the air flow around all sides of the jerky to dry it thoroughly. I recommend putting your strips on a cooling rack and setting that on a higher shelf, then placing a baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch any drippings.

  5. OOPs sorry- just saw the pellets at the bottom of the recipe. We have never heard of that brand, so we will just experiment 🙂 Thank you

    1. The oven need to be set at 170 degrees. Crack the door to let the moisture out. Here isn’t any parchment paper, but you so need to dry the marinated Beef on paper towels before drying. It can take about 3 hours to dry all the way.

  6. I followed the recipe exactly, with a 2.5 lb roast butcher sliced. It’s a little too salty for my taist. Great flavor just too salty. Did I do something wrong, or is it just my own taist? I will defiantly make again but with less salt

    1. Hey Jen! Thanks for trying the recipe! I think everybody just has different taste, I’m sure you didn’t do anything wrong. My family likes a good salty jerky to munch on. Recipes are always just guidelines, feel free to reduce the salt next time to fit your flavor preferences!

    2. Jen in My experience you didn’t use enough meat for the recipe. This happened to me on one of my batches, and had to trow it away, I thought I would do a smaller batch, and used 3 lbs of meat. The recipe called for 5 lbs. when I redid it with the same marinate with the 5 lbs, the salt balance was perfect. So Hey Grills, will this amount of marinate work with 5lbs of meat? I am going to try it and cut out the Jalapenos and use a teaspoon of cayenne instead. and see how that comes out.

    1. I wouldn’t recommend it. It is really difficult to achieve and maintain low enough temperatures on a propane or gas grill. Also, they often have hot spots that would cause some of the jerky to burn. Your best bet would be to use the oven method.

    1. Hey Rees- it will make a difference in the final flavor, but not a huge difference. If all you have is canned jalapenos-go for it! Just drain the jalapenos well and don’t include any pickling liquid in the marinade.

    1. Absolutely! Red pepper flakes would be great if you wanted some heat. I would use 1-2 teaspoons in the marinade. If you don’t want the spice, you can skip the peppers all together.

  7. I want to vacuum seal the jerky to send to my husband over seas. It takes almost 2 weeks to get a package over there. What do you suggest that I do to ensure freshness?

  8. Don’t you wish everyone would read all of the posts. They could answer 99% of their stupid questions asked over and over again!!!

    1. Agreed. It’s like a summer mix tape you listen to over and over again.

      Thanks for the great recipe! Planning to try it today for sending to my son on deployment!!

  9. In the recipe itself you say to smoke for 2-3 hours, further down in the comments you say 12 hours? Please clarify.

  10. I have made jerky MANY times with a very similar recipe (minus the Dr Pepper) but I always use a (very) little bbq sauce teased with a little vinegar and onion flakes. Jalapeño is too hot for spouse, so I split before marinating for her share to be milder. I figured out the hard way that mnarinating in a gallon size zip lock bag is the best way by far! I have an dehydrator that I have always used, and turn the jerky every hour or so to dry evenly. Thanks for the Dr Pepper tip, as my wife and daughters are Dr Pepper-a-holics

      1. love the cherry flavor addition, the addition of the cayenne or red pepper flakes to replace the jalapeno’s and smoking/cooking on a Traeger is hard to beat. Been using one for several years and I love it!

      1. I used the recipe just as it was written except I added 1/2 Tbsp of soy sauce and a tsp of paprika. I smoked it with about 2/3 hickory and 1/3 jack daniels oak barrel chips. It turned out phenomenal. I had people who have been making jerky for years say it was the best jerky they ever had. Not bad for my first time ever making jerky. Thanks for an awesome recipe.

  11. Help! I can’t seem to find the recipe for the jerky and really want to make some. Need to know how much kosher salt and other seasonings. Thanks.

    1. The curing salt is in such a small amount (1 teaspoon) that I found it doesn’t really change the saltiness of the meat. Just follow the rest of the recipe as written.

  12. Smoking this right now. Been on smoker for 2 hrs so far at bout 170° if this turns out good will be trying other ingredients beside jalepino

  13. I’m smoking this recipe right now. My slices are 1/8″ thick and have been on the Traeger for 2.5 hrs. They look like they’re done but a little soft in the center. Should I adjust the smoke time? From the looks of them, I’m affraid 12hrs might be too much.

  14. Thanks!! After I posted, the directions came up. I was basing everything on comments. I marinated for 12 hrs and smoked them a little over 3hrs. They look and taste great! I will definitely do this one again!!

    1. Hi Philip- skirt steak isn’t the best option for jerky. It has quite a bit of fat marbling and the best cuts for jerky are usually quite lean. Save the skirt steak for high heat grilling and use a less expensive cut for jerky.

  15. I have a double rack oven. can I hang the meat on one rack and put it in the top of the oven to hang dry it or does the meat have to be laying flat. Also I tried this with turkey and it was great. The only problem I had was it didn’t last an hour.

    1. Hi Marilyn- it definitely doesn’t have to lie flat, juts make sure that the jerky isn’t touching other pieces or overlapping. There has to be air flow all around every piece. Glad you liked it with turkey!!

  16. I left mine in fridge for 18 hours put in smoker and just don’t seem to have any flavor, not happy with it at all

    1. I’m sorry Gerald! Would you be interested in trouble shooting the recipe with me? Maybe something went wrong in the process. Lots of other people are loving the flavor!

  17. I made the marinade and it tastes very salty. Have you tried adding more dr pepper to cut the salt? Im concerned it will be too salty? Suggestions? Thanks in advance ????

    1. Hey Ryan! The marinade is a bit salty, but remember that the meat won’t absorb all of that salt. Also, jerky is supposed to be at least a little bit saltier.

    2. Also remember that regular salt is not the same as Kosher salt. The recipe calls for Kosher Salt, if you used table salt it is going to be way too salty.

  18. Do you think this could be used in a Ground Meat Jerky instead of Sliced Meat. If So would this recipe do the same amount of Meat?

    1. Hi Curtis- good question! I would not recommend this marinade in a ground meat jerky. The marinade amount is too much to mix into ground meat at a good ratio. You would end up with really loose ground meat that wouldn’t tighten up. Stick with sliced for this one.

      1. Ok Thanks, I Have some Sure Gel Meat Binder that I have used before in Snack Sticks and Jerky strips. . I may try a small batch and see if it will hold it Together.

  19. Could I use Tenderquick cure in this recipe instead of the Prague powder? I normally always have this on hand and I know that are not always interchangeable. Definitely not at the same ratio.

    1. Absolutely, the ratio is 1 Tablespoon tenderquick per pound of meat. Keep in mind tenderquick also has salt and sugar added, so I would reduce the amount of salt in the marinade recipe by half.

    1. Hi Kevin! I haven’t used liquid smoke, just because I cook the jerky on my smoker. However, if you are using your oven or a dehydrator and wanted some smoky flavor, you can add a teaspoon of liquid smoke to the marinade.

  20. Use a traeger today but when i was getting started used my 4 burner gas grill! Had to pay attention a little more and used a brick to adjust grill lid opening. Put outer burners on low and center burners off. Stacked racks in center. Monitored grill ambient with electronic thermometer and adjusted lid with brick accordingly. Shadetree engineering in a pinch. Vacuum sealed in individual portions and put in freezer door shelves. Have some left from 2015 that still tastes great and pliable. Great for packing on ATV trips or huntin season!!

        1. Thank you for all of this great advise. I recently purchased a smoker and a vacuumed sealer and I have my first batch in the smoker as I type.

  21. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I have a friend who passed several years ago, and he made the best jerky in the world. He never would give up his recipe, but I know it contained
    Dr. Pepper. Instead of the jalapenos he used red pepper seeds. My hope is that your recipe is similar. Thanks again for sharing!

  22. Hmmm…I have this marinading now, but the lowest temperature on my oven is 200. I’m not sure what temperature the “warm” setting might be….do you think 200 will be okay?

    1. Hey Ashley- 200 will be fine! Just keep an eye on the jerky and plan for it to be done a little sooner than the recipe states. I would start checking on it after an hour and a half or so.

  23. I definitely didn’t do everything right, but I left the jalapeño pieces on the meat and they taste wonderful! I’ll keep practicing but will definitely smoke the pepper pieces too in the future.

      1. After the marinade cools I put it in a blender and puree it so the jalapeño are fully integrated into the marinade. Gives it a bit more kick but if you like jalapeños it lets the flavor through

  24. I read all of the comments, but I didn’t see an answer to my question, so I’ll ask it. What is the reason for patting off the excess marinade before dehydrating?

  25. Quick question: how do you think this would work to rehydrate flavorless moose jerky that we had processed? I do have a Traeger…should I attempt to rehydrate with your recipe and smoke it?

    1. Oh man, once meat is dehydrated it can be difficult to infuse any more flavor into it. It might work if it is soaking up the marinade though! I would suggest trying with a small portion. It’s definitely worth a shot!

      1. I’m pretty sure that using this recipe for chicken or pork could be dangerous. Chicken and pork need extra curing and plain salt will not do it. Even if you you use your original recipe instead of reducing it like you suggest. You definitely need to use curing salt because it has an additive that prevents salmonella and E-coli bacteria and toxins.

  26. I have been making jerky I my Green Mountian grill for several years. This recipe rates in the top 3 all time. I added more jalapeño peppers as I like spicy. Smoked at 155 degrees for about 3 hours. Turns out FABULOUS ! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!

  27. I came across this recipe recent and had to make a batch in my dehydrator. I was in the dehydrator at 145 degrees overnight (just under 8 hours). Any longer would have been too long. Once we tried the jerky, I found London Broil on sale for $3 per pound and made a few more batches to share with my family. This recipe is a big hit. I found that it takes longer than 15 minutes to reduce the marinade from about 2 cups to just a little over 1 cup. I just kept simmering until I got to about 1 1/3 cups. This one is a keeper. Thank you!

    1. Hey Mike!! So glad you liked the enough to make it again! I’ve found that everybody has different times on the marinade too, I’m wondering if it could be related to elevation differences. Thanks for your feedback!

  28. You mention pellet flavor but what brand do you use? I have a Traeger but thought only Traeger pellets would work. Curious to know if there is a cheaper version. We go through them quick!

    1. Hey Cathy! You can honestly use any brand of pellet, Traeger does not void your warranty. I cook with a brand called Pacific Pellets. Just make sure that whatever brand you use is specifically for cooking (not heating) and that they use no fillers or binders.

      1. I made this with a smoker and at temp of 165, I used mesquite wood chips and my batch came out more brown then red, and do you smoke right from start? It tastes great but I did not get the reddish color of yours that I’m looking for. My cut where from slicer at 1/8. Is there something I did wrong, I did only smoke for 20 min at 190 then back down to 165 till done. Could your mixture of wood chips create the reddish tinge I’m looking for?

  29. Hi there! My name is Chuck and I have a big chief electric smoker; I don’t have any way of monitoring the temp. What would you recommend? Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Chuck! You’re just going to have to be a little more hands on and keep an eye on the jerky. I would start checking after the first hour or so. Look for jerky that isn’t soft, but still a little pliable (doesn’t break when you bend it).

  30. Just made it off the chain, I added a little liquid smoke and even my wife who isn’t a jeekynfan went bonzo about how good

  31. I don’t have a smoker or dehydrator, i will be using the oven method. But just curious if i could add liquid smoke to give it the “smokey” flavor? How much would you add for this recipe?

  32. I’ve got 3 marinated now, one with the Jalapeño, another with a Hobenero and the last I’m using a Carolina Reaper pepper! Can’t wait to fire up the smoker tomorrow

  33. This was the first jerky recipe I’ve ever tried and I’ve made it 3 times now. Everyone loves it. The last time I made it I put the marinade with the jalapeños in it in the blender. The jerky turned out amazing. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  34. I can attest that the jerky gun is awesome and makes very very good jerky. Those use dry spices though- not sure how to adapt a wet marinate to the ground meat jerky.

    1. I’ve had people using the jerky guns marinate the whole cuts of beef and then grind it at home. If you’re doing beef that’s already ground, I don’t think that this recipe would be the best fit.

      1. Oh I like that idea! I might try it.

        FYI I pepper gassed my whole family and house when boiling and simmering the jalapenos hah! Running eyes, burning nostrils, and coughing. Oops!

    1. Absolutely! Non kosher salt is typically less coarse and so more salt fits into the measuring spoon. I recommend using just a bit less non kosher salt than the recipe calls for.

  35. Hello. Excited to make this! I live in the desert its about 120 degrees right now. Can I make this in the BBQ? Thank you!

    1. Hi Anna- if you’re talking about a gas grill, yes you can use this recipe! It requires a watchful eye, but it’s possible. Turn on only half of the burners to the lowest setting and place the jerky on the other side of the grill with the burners off. Rotate as needed for even drying/cooking.

    1. It doesn’t really matter, the salt is measured per the amount of meat you have and it won’t become any more concentrated so I just put it in before reducing with everything else.

  36. Awesome receipe. Took it fishing with me, it was devoured by all my friends. Making another batch today. All for myself.

  37. Sorry if this was asked before. Can the finished jerky be stored in the freezer without affecting the result?

    1. Absolutely! You’ll get the best results if you can use a vacuum sealer to remove all of the air from the jerky. If you can’t, it can cause ice crystals to form and when it is defrosted the crystals will melt and get your jerky wet which can mess up the texture a little bit. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, do as much as you can to remove as much air as possible.

  38. Tried the recipe and it’s very good. However I am having a little difficulty with the color. It ends up much more blackish than red (a little red glow to it, not much). Texture is perfect. Any tips on how I can correct that?

    FYI I have my butcher slice it to 1/4” and put it in the smoker at around 170 for 6-7 hours.

    1. Hey Mark! Sounds to me like it’s smoking a bit too long. 6-7 hours will definitely give you a much darker color. I only smoke mine for around 2.5 hours and it’s still really red.

  39. I place oven rack on top slot, put tin foil on bottom of oven under the heating element to collect drippings. I use round tooth picks to hang jerky from rack. I turn oven on to 170°. I use a table spoon to leave oven door open about 2″, so heat flows up. I cut meat about 1/4″ thick. Dr Pepper Jalapeño jerky takes 6-7 hrs. With this method. A lil more time consuming. But I’ve sent oven jerky all over the world to friends. And take it to tailgates at Raider games, people enjoy it & I enjoy making it. I also use a Brine with Brown Sugar, Pepper, Cayenne, Salt, Garlic salt or Powder & Liquid Smoke. Good for beef, venison, elk.

    1. Hey Chip- lots have people have used a dehydrator and said it turns out great. Every dehydrator is a little different though, so just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

  40. I recently bought a bunch of jalapeño peppers and dehydrated them and then ground them up to be used as spice.

    How well do you think this would turn out using ground up jalapeños rather than fresh?

    1. I think it would turn out great! I don’t know the exact proportions of your ground jalapeños though, so I would say be cautious. A lot of times ground peppers can add a lot more heat than fresh sliced.

  41. Does the jerky end up having a sweet taste when done? I like a little sweet with my heat, haha. Could I add 1-2 Tbsp. of corn syrup after the reduction?

    1. Curing salt is talked about in the body of the post. It’s really up to you, curing salt will extend he shelf life and can also impact the texture of the final product. It works great either way!

    1. Hey Eliza- it all depends on your dehydrator. Some cook the jerky with heat while drying and some just circulate air. I recommend reading the instructions that came with your unit to make sure.

  42. This has nothing to do with this recipe, but I thought I would share. Marinade meat in kosher pickle juice and salt, pepper and garlic powder both sides and dehydrate.

  43. Been wanting to try this recipe for a long time. I live in New Mexico. And when ever they talk chilis, it’s Red or Green. I visit Hatch, New Mexico quite often. On my recent trip I picked up a pint of their Hot Green Chili Salsa. Will follow your recipe with one exception. Going to substitute their Salsa for the Jalapeños. I’ll be experimenting on how many liquid ounces will give me the spiciness I want.

  44. What flavor pellets do you use with this recipe?
    Also, I just got my Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill and was wondering what your favorite brand of pellets are to use.

  45. “I’ve also heard people mention that slicing with the grain can cause your jerky to fall apart, but I haven’t experienced that personally.” I suspect that you meant against the grain in this sentence.

  46. So I rushed through this and totally missed the step about reduction. My plan is to extend the marinade time to 18 hours. Will that make the jerky too salty?

    1. The reduction step is to help condense those sugars and salt in the marinade. You’re more likely to end up with jerky that is a little bland. I would add 1/4 cup of brown sugar and a teaspoon of salt to help boost the flavor.

  47. Anyone try this recipe with Habanero peppers instead of jalapeños? Ive got 2 bags marinating with habaneros right now. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

  48. Hi, love your Dr Pepper Jalapino recipe, their used to be a lb / recipe counter recipe on the recipe page to give the right amount weather you were making 1 lb or 6 lbs, I don’t see it now ?

    1. Hey Jack, it’s still there it just looks a little different (I switched to a more printer friendly recipe card). Next to servings, just click the number 1 and then slide the amount to how much you would like to make.

  49. This is a fantastic recipe for jerky! It was a big hit with family and friends. Now I am wondering how this marinade would work to do a Flat Iron Steak on the grill!

      1. Tried the flat Iron Steak. Marinated for 10 hours. I think it would have been better if it marinated longer. The flat iron steak didn’t seem to pick up as much flavor as the eye of round did when making jerky.

  50. I love everything about this recipe, except that my stomach can’t do the jalapeno. Do you have any other recipes without the jalapeno or could you simply omit it from this recipe? Thank you so much for sharing your talent and knowledge with us!!

  51. I MUST HAVE DONE SOMETHING HORRIBLY WRONG! I AM NO JERKY EXPERT BY ANY MEANS, BUT HAVE MADE SOME DECENT BATCHES IN THE PAST AND THIS WAS NO GOOD AT ALL. I USED A DEHYDRATOR AS ALWAYS AND THE FINISHED PRODUCT HAD ZERO FLAVOR. I DID MINCE THE FRESH JALAPENO BECAUSE I AM A SPICE JUNKY BUT DIDN’T EVEN GET HEAT FROM IT. IT WASN’T A TOTAL LOSS THOUGH, AS MY COWORKERS ARE JERKY JUNKIES AND JUST LOVE DRIED MEATS. WAS THE MINCING MY HUGE DOWNFALL? THANKS.

    1. Hey Paul- the biggest thing that seems to be the issue when people say that the jerky turned out bland is that the marinade wasn’t properly reduced. It’s really crucial that the marinade has the time to cook down, or that extra water in the soda will dilute the flavors a ton.

  52. Susie Bulloch made me famous! Last night I was on the phone with my 8 yr. old grandson. I asked him if he was ready for his birthday party and his reply was “Yes”. Then he said all he wanted from me for his birthday was 2 lbs of my really good beef jerky and that he wasn’t going to share it. Welp, he was talking Susie’s Dr. Pepper jalapeno pepper jerky. My only change was her suggestion that if you want it hotter add another pepper. Thanks Susie for making me a hit with my grandson!

  53. Love this recipes, this is the 4th time I have made it. Took it on fishing trip on the Gulf and the guide ate a small much as my Grandson! You are the best Susie. You’re brisket also made me famous down here in The Villages, FL! Phil

  54. I’ve switched to chicken because I can get skinless, boneless chicken breats at our local Costco for $1.18 a pound. After some experimenting with the marinade for chicken the only changes I have made is cutting the salt by half, and added 1/8 cup of molasses per pound of chicken. (I also adjust the pepper to match my audience.) I cut the chicken at 5MM on my deli slicer and marinade at least 24 hours. The response has been fantastic, everytime the wife and I get invited to a party a batch of this chicken jerky is requested. (And here I thought it was for my bubbly personality.)

    I’ve got a Traeger smoker and have been using the mixed bags of Hickory, Cherry, and Maple that I can get at, you guessed it, Costco. Is there a different wood you would use for chicken?

    1. I’m so happy to read a review from somebody who has done chicken! Great modifications Richard. I think the blend you’re using is a great option for chicken and it sounds like the flavor has been a hit so far!

  55. Making it now, just grabbed a small piece after about 3.5 hours in the dehydrator. Tastes pretty darn good. I only used 1 TB of salt and added 1/2 tsp of prague #1. Gave it a quick grind of black pepper on one side before placing it in the rack. The jalapeno flavor shines right thru with some bite from the black pepper. I thought it would be a bit sweeter but maybe next time I’ll add some brown sugar to see how that tastes…. Either way this is a keeper!

  56. Love this jerky. I have made it several times. Only modification is add 1 tablespoon of Frank’s hot sauce. Thanks

  57. I’m not a fan of Dr Pepper (yuck)…. have you or anyone else used Sprite or 7Up as a substitute do you think it would work?

  58. I have done two batches the first batch was Dr Pepper and two jalapeños came out ok. The second batch was cherry Dr Pepper and one jalapeño and one habanero it was really good a little on the salty side.

  59. Thank you so much for this recipe I have made about 5 batches and they are going faster than I can make them….I cut down the salt to half I love the recipe itself but my husband is not a salt person so to be nice I made it so he can enjoy them as well….huge hit with my in laws… Thank you again… 😉

  60. Do you think it would be ok to add freshly ground Chilli powder to the marinade instead of Sliced jalapeno. I live heat so was thinking of adding in some Carolina Reaper or Trinidad Scorpion Cardi powder.
    Also, I don’t use a smoker, so can I add a teaspoon of Mesquite or Hickory Liquid smoke to the marinade?

    1. I would say go for it! This is definitely a great recipe to test out with a mix of heat. If you want a little extra smoke flavor, liquid smoke is a great way to go and I think 1 teaspoon is plenty.

  61. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe and tips! We just got a Traeger and thought this would be a fun recipe to try. We decided to make a batch for our road trip and our first batch is finishing as we speak. We followed all the instructions exactly as written. It’s so good that we are running to the store to make two more batches before we leave! We don’t think the first batch will even make it out of town 🙂

  62. I almost gave up on making beef jerky till i tried this recipe. I followed the recipe except that I used cherry dr. pepper instead off regular. I would not hesitate to try it with coke next time. I also smoked it on a Traeger, using the smoke setting. I also did the following experiment: I used two eye of the rounds and cut one against the grain and one with the grain. The cuts against the grain came out dryer and more flaky vs the cuts with the grain which were moister and more chewy. I prefered the cuts with the grain. Overall, this is a great recipe and it has all the flavors you would expect in beef jerky. I also used pink salt, which helps with the coloring but mostly prolongs the shelf life of the product. I would try slicing the Jalapenos a bit thinner next time for a bit more kick.

    Thanks again for your recipe!

  63. I’ve made this twice “as is” with the exception of reducing the salt and adding 1/4 tsp of #1 prague powder. I liked it enough to make it again after the first go round, and now a third time but found it still had a very subtle flavor compared to most jerky I prefer. So, this being the third time, I tried the cherry Dr. Pepper. I went half and half with regular DP, but increased the amount to a total 2.5 cups and still reducing to the almost a cup measure thinking this would concentrate a larger amount of flavor. Also, I tossed in a small palm full of brown sugar, maybe 1-2 Tablespoons, and used fresh jalapenos off the plant in the yard (good and hot when you hit a random seed chewing on this stuff) only to find a small increase in the intensity of the flavor.

    I’m not looking to increase the salty worcestershire flavor, but the awesome flavor the Dr. Pepper has when reduced. Next time I’m going to try a full 3 cups or maybe more just to see.

    Awesome jerky recipe, just know that its not a huge blast of flavor, but something that tames the heat of the jalapeno while keeping the flavor, while the sweet flavor of the Dr. Pepper is there with it.

    Last thing, I use a dehydrator and every time I’ve made this a london broil (top round) sliced against the grain was the victim of choice.

      1. I have an electric Masterbuilt smoker… You know the one that looks like a hotel fridge? I’ll try it. I have maple and cherry wood, so off we go. I just worry about “over smoking” anything. I want the flavor to be more than the smoke.

        We’ll see see how it turns out!

  64. Come on people, read the article. All your redundant questions are answered there! I have made this and it is awesome. Adding another Jalapeno next time. Not very spicy!

  65. I’m an trying this with about half the salt. I got some London broil on sale and cut it thick to marinate. I plan on running it through a grinder and dehydrating . I have a jerky shooter and will be using that.. I will let you know.

      1. First, insted of regular Dr. Pepper, I used diet. I also added the tablespoon of hicory liquid smoke, as I was going to use a dehydrator, and not a grill or smoker. Also, (on SWMBO recommendation) I used about half the salt. I sliced the meat and marinated it on the fridge overnight. The next morning I drained it in a strainer, and got most all the liquid out. I like a touch of spice so I left the peppers in, and ran it through a KitchenAde grinder attachment. The output was not too juicy, and held together OK. SWMBO doesn’t like tough jerky, and the shooter using ground meat gives it a consistency she likes. Happy Wife, happy life. following the recipe, I got 5 good trays that I ran through my dehydrator (145* for about 5 hours. I like mine a bit ‘dry’) Half of the batch I did recipe as written and the other half i kicked it up a notch by adding about 2 TBS of course crushed black pepper.

        The verdict: I liked it. I like the spicy (extra pepper) and will do that again. The chunks of Jalapeno pepper in the jerky is not overpowering but adds a nice touch of heat. The Dr. Pepper taste was too subtle. I mean I can tell it’s there, but i would have preferred a deeper taste. I blame that on using diet, as I think the regular has enough sugars to bind to the flavors more. That will be next time (which will be this weekend)

        Overall, I liked it, and I know it won’t last to the weekend.

  66. I am using a Little Chief and can’t be sure that it will hit 170 F , so could I finish it off in the oven at 170 F after drying it out in smoker for 3-4 hrs first or should I cook in the oven first and then finish it off in the smoker ? Love the idea of the recipe , it makes my mouth water reading it …….TIA

  67. I’ve been making jerky for my twin sons for 25 years and about 30 different marinades. They all were great. But never read of one made from a soft drink. After reading and enjoying all of the comments I can’t wait to try your Dr Pepper recipe.

  68. I have a pellet smoker. Do I not add pellets to the smoker for making this jerky? I just put the meat I. The smoker, correct?

  69. I made this with a smoker and at temp of 165, I used mesquite wood chips and my batch came out more brown then red, and do you smoke right from start? It tastes great but I did not get the reddish color of yours that I’m looking for. My cut where from slicer at 1/8. Is there something I did wrong, I did only smoke for 20 min at 190 then back down to 165 till done. Could your mixture of wood chips create the reddish tinge I’m looking for?

    1. Mesquite smoke doesn’t always add that same bright color. I found that cherry wood makes it the most red, and maintaining the lower temperatures while possible so you have more smoke before cooking the meat through.

  70. always looking for a new recipe for jerky we made one up years ago (haha) and its the one I always use no real recipe just worchestershire, soy sauce, tabasco, and liquid smoke then spices you really have to like it some what salty using the soy sauce but its good looking forward to trying yours

  71. I have always loved jerky. Even the little vacuum packs in service stations 40 years ago. Due to numerous health issues I have to follow a sodium free or very restricted diet. Is there any way to eliminate or greatly reduce any added sodium? I know of a lot of recipes for other foods (not jerky) that you just eliminate any added sodium from because it is used just as a flavor enhancer. Thank you for any information.

  72. We made this today and it is in the Little Chief smoker. It has been smoking now for about 5 hours and still doesn’t seem to be done. It’s not a red colour either. We are using cheery chips. What are we doing wrong??

    1. You’re not doing anything wrong. Sometimes those vault smokers retain quite a bit of moisture in the chamber and it can take a little longer. The color also can vary by smoker type. Sometimes those types of smokers don’t make the same smoke color, but the flavor is still there.

  73. wondering if this works using a big green egg? i have a temp controller, but wondering about the moisture part as the egg seems to keep meat moist

    1. Hey Ed- I’ve had several people make this on an egg cooker with good results. Some have said it does take a little bit longer to dry out but has turned out well.

  74. Hey Grill! Question – Dr. Pepper isn’t available here in Ecuador. Would Coke work just as well? I’d love to give this one a try, but don’t want to ruin it either.

  75. I made this exactly as the recipe is written and my two sons LOVED it, said it was the best and as close to store bought jerky as I have ever made…kinda hurt my feelings as I always thought that my marinade was the best..lol. Thanks for the recipe I plan to make it often.

  76. I’ve made hundreds of pounds of beef jerky, but this is by far THE BEST BEEF JEEKY RECIPE! Seriously though, I love it. I used an Excalibur dehydrator for four hours, and sea salt instead of kosher(I didn’t have any at the time) and an extra jalapeño. It is amazing, I made four pounds two days ago and I’m about to make more again!

  77. This is my first time using this recipe. I do have a couple of questions though. I just bought an electric smoker would that work for this? Also, what do you mean when you say marinade reduction step

    1. This will work in an electric smoker just follow the same time and temperature instructions. The marinade reduction step is the first step in the recipe where you combine the ingredients for the marinade and allow it to reduce while simmering.

  78. I am more of a chipotle pepper than jalapeño kind of girl. Do you think a swap work with this recipe? Since I use a dehydrator it may a smoky flavor to the jerky.

  79. I’ve made this recipe several times for my fishing trips and for our local monthly wine club events and it is loved by all. So far, I’ve exclusively used Beef Eye of Round and had my butcher cutting it but was limited to 1/4″ cuts so used a metal meat mallet to pound to 1/8″ which worked ok. I graduated to purchasing a meat slicer and now buy 5 lb packages at Costco and slice at #2 setting to get great 1/8″ cuts which really dry better. Since I often take on fishing trips, I always use the Prague #1 powder at 1 tsp for 5 lbs of meat and vacuum pack my jerky. I’m a spice nut so I generally increase the number of thin sliced jalapeños and add 1 Tbsp of crushed red pepper to the mix. I also freshly grind my pepper using a six peppercorn mix which become part of the marinade. In order to bring some sweetness to balance my heat, I’ve started using an extra amount of Cherry Dr. Pepper and two Tbsp of Raspberry Chipotle sauce when reducing. Based upon comments, I will try a blender on the reduction next time. After drying, I always fine grind different flavors of peppercorns prior to smoking. My latest batch using this method my my Rec Tec at 180 degrees came out the best yet. The cold smoker on the Rec Tec allows me to move finished pieces of jerky to it as I arrange other less done or thicker pieces around the grill racks. Thanks for the winning recipe and comment stream on modifications.

  80. I love the last line of the recipe.

    “The jerky will last 3-4 days on the counter or 2 weeks in the fridge.”

    Hahahaha!!! 😂

    Not in THIS house! We’re lucky if 1lb lasts the afternoon.

    This is the 3rd time I’ve made this recipe… and we LOVE THIS STUFF!!

    1. To reduce the marinade you will follow the first step in the recipe..In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients for the marinade. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by half. You should have just over a cup of marinade.

  81. This will be my first attempt! I’ve got the meat marinating now. I’m going to dehydrate, but a thermometer showed it tops out at 150 degrees. My question is, have you heard of anyone doing the precook at 160 in a Sous Vide? I wonder how long it should be in?

  82. Sticking in the Sous Vide now. Gonna do an hour, in the marinade! Then dry off and put in the dehydrator. Super excited to. try!

  83. OK gang, here is a twist, this brine make great jerky but it is also an amazing brine for wings. I add ten thin sliced Jalapenos to the recipe and brine the wings over night. Before I put the wings on I put l slice or two of the Jalepeno under the skin of the wing then dry rub them with a rub based in Chili and Cayenne (there are some off the shelf rubs available but I choose to make my own). I smoke the wings with Pecan in my BGE. I finish them on my gas grill on high for about a minute a side to make them crispy.

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