This ground beef jerky recipe is that perfect jerky when you want a classic beef jerky flavor with a soft texture. Classic ingredients come together for the perfect jerky when you have a hankering for some BBQ on the go.
Ground Beef Jerky
This beef jerky is the perfect ground beef jerky. It has the most amazing, soft texture, making it a perfect alternative if you like your jerky a bit softer than the classic whole muscle jerky. This jerky has a classic, “original” jerky flavor with a hint of sweet, a hint of spice, and great savory flavor.
While this recipe is written for extremely lean ground beef, it works great with other ground meats like venison, elk, pork, and turkey. Just make sure the ground meat your using is lean. If the meat is too fatty, it will likely crumble apart instead of binding together.
Dehydrating Ground Beef Jerky
This ground beef jerky recipe is written for dehydrating in a smoker for approximately 3 hours until the jerky is dry and bends without breaking.
This jerky also works in a dehydrator or oven, if you don’t have a smoker. If making in a dehydrator – make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as each dehydrator is a bit different. You may want to add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke if you cook in a dehydrator.
You can also dehydrate this jerky in an oven. To make in an oven – follow the instructions as written, but leave the door of your oven open slightly to allow any moisture to escape. This is important and crucial for the jerky to dry properly.
How to Make Ground Beef Jerky
This ground beef jerky recipe is fairly easy, but you will find it varies slightly from the traditional way of making most beef jerky. Scroll below to view the printable recipe card for full ingredient amounts and more detailed instructions.
- Season the jerky. Unlike other jerky recipes that require you to marinate the sliced beef before dehydrating, this recipe has you combine all the flavor in with the beef jerky. Combine everything in a mixing bowl and use your hands to evenly distribute all ingredients.
- Form the jerky into sticks. Here’s where the fun part comes in! Once you have your beef seasoned, you gotta form that meat into a nice stick so it’ll hold its shape while cooking. I recommend using a jerky cannon for this step to make nice round or stick-shaped jerky. You can also do this by hand, but it will take a bit more patience and time.
- Cook the ground beef jerky. With your favorite smoker preheated to 160-170 degrees F, place the formed sticks on jerky racks and smoke for around 2.5-3 hours or until the jerky reaches 165 degrees F and the jerky bends without breaking.
- Cool and enjoy. Make sure to allow the jerky to cool fully while still on the jerky racks before eating.
Important Note: This recipe does not use any curing salts. It needs to be stored in the fridge and consumed within 1 week.
How Long to Dehydrate Ground Beef Jerky
This ground beef jerky is dehydrated in a smoker, and the total time to fully cook and dry out the meat will take approximately 2.5-3 hours. I recommend you plan for additional time in case your smoker’s temps are not consistent or if your jerky requires more time to fully dehydrate.
Time may vary slightly from smoker to smoker, so make sure to go off final temp (goal of 165 degrees F for ground meat), texture (the meat should bend without breaking or falling apart), and the jerky should be a rich red in color.
More Jerky Recipes
Looking for that perfect BBQ snack to take with you anywhere? Jerky to the rescue! Hey Grill Hey LOVES jerky, and we have these awesome recipes to prove it. Check them out today!
Ground Beef Jerky Recipe
Follow the recipe, and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your own jerky at home. If you’re looking for the ultimate way to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero, join my members-only group The Grill Squad for full access to all my meat, rubs, sauces, and meat buying masterclasses, podcasts, and so much more.
Making good food should be easy, and Hey Grill Hey is here to help! Over at Patio Provisions, we have sauces, rubs, and more to save you time and energy when you’re busy at the grill. Check it out today!
Ground Beef Jerky
- 2 pounds lean ground beef (97/3)
- 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat the smoker. Preheat your smoker to 160-170 degrees F using your favorite hardwood. Strong woods like hickory or oak will give you a robust smoke flavor, mild woods like apple or maple will be more subtle.
- Make the ground beef mixture. Place the ground beef in a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and combine with hands to distribute the seasonings evenly through the meat.
- Form the jerky sticks. Fill a jerky cannon and extrude the jerky onto flat racks at your desired length. Be sure the jerky isn't overlapping or touching other pieces. If you don't have a cannon, place the seasoned beef between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll the meat to an even 1/8th inch thickness using a rolling pin. Cut the flattened beef into strips using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Remove the top sheet of parchment, place your flat rack on top of the meat, and carefully flip the whole thing over. Remove the remaining sheet of parchment paper and gently separate the jerky strips on the rack.
- Dehydrate the ground beef jerky. Place the jerky topped flat racks on the grill grates, close the lid, and smoke for 2.5-3 hours total. The jerky will have shrunk in size, picked up a dark red color, and bend without breaking when it is finished. If you have an instant read thermometer, you can check to make sure the strips have cooked above 165 degrees F.
- Cool, store, and enjoy! Allow your jerky strips to cool completely on the rack before transferring to a zip top bag. This jerky will last for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.