Peppered Beef Jerky

April 10, 2018

This peppered beef jerky recipe is packed with classic jerky flavor with a black pepper kick. I prefer to dehydrate my beef jerky on my smoker, but I’ve included adaptations to make it happen if you’ve got an oven or classic dehydrator as well.

peppered beef jerky

How to Make Peppered 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. This recipe also works great with venison, so don’t be afraid to branch out a little and give it a try!

Next, you need to get that perfect jerky thin slice. 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! I typically tell the butcher at the counter that I am planning to make jerky and need my slices at about a “2” setting on their slicer.

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. 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. The important thing is that you make jerky that you like to eat. The flavor in this peppered beef jerky will be the same whether it is against the grain or with, so you decide!

peppered beef jerky recipe

Peppered Beef Jerky Marinade

This marinade combines all of the key elements to help add flavor and tenderness to your final jerky product. There are elements of salt, sweet, acidity, and bold seasonings to make sure you get a mouthful of flavor with every single bite. There are a few optional and additional pieces to this marinade that I wanted to cover here so you can get the best result possible.

Brown sugar- I like to balance my salty jerky with just a little hint of sweetness. The amount called for in the recipe will not give you a sweet jerky at all, but it will balance out the savory and black pepper flavors. If you want to reduce the sugar, you can cut it in half. I don’t recommend eliminating it all together though.

Beer- I know not everybody likes cooking with beer, so feel free to substitute the beer for beef stock. This will add an extra element of saltiness to the jerky, so maybe don’t let the jerky marinate past 8 hours if you make this substitution.

Curing Salts- Using instacure #1 (also labeled as Prague Powder or Pink Salt- please not this is not the same as Himalayan pink salt) is an optional step. What the cure does is act as an additional preservative for the jerky. If you use the curing salt, your jerky will be shelf stable and safe to eat at room temperature for several weeks. If you skip the curing salt, your jerky will still be partially preserved by the smoke/dehydration, however I recommend storing in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. Uncured jerky will last several weeks in the fridge.

how to make peppered beef jerky

Peppered Beef Jerky Video


Peppered Beef Jerky Recipe

5 from 2 votes
peppered beef jerky
Peppered Beef Jerky
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Marinade Time
8 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Snacks
Servings: 1 pound yield
Author: Susie Bulloch (heygrillhey,com)
  • 2 pounds eye of round roast sliced thin against the grain
Peppered Beef Jerky Marinade
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 cup beer or beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon instacure #1 (also labeled pink salt or Prague Powder #1) optional
  1. In a large zip top bag, combine all ingredients for the marinade. Mix well to dissolve the sugar.

  2. Add the sliced eye of round to your marinade and toss gently in the bag to coat all sides of the meat with the marinade. Refrigerate 8 hours, or up to 24 hours. The longer it marinates, the saltier and stronger the flavor will be.

  3. Remove the strips of marinated beef from the bag and place on paper towels. Pat dry.

  4. Preheat your smoker, oven (with the door cracked), or dehydrator to run at around 170 degrees F. Transfer the strips to the grill grate, jerky rack, or cooling rack and season the top with additional black pepper, if desired.

  5. 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

  6. 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. If you added the curing salt, the jerky will last a couple of weeks on the counter. If you did not add in the curing salt, it will last a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information on them, visit our Privacy Policy

12 thoughts on “Peppered Beef Jerky

  1. I may have misunderstood? In video you said 1 tsp cure #1 for 5lbs of meat?? Recipe is for less than half that amount, but still using 1 tsp of cure.
    Love your recipes!!

    1. Hey Mary- you heard correct, the 1 teaspoon of curing salt is good for UP TO 5 pounds of meat. We’re also using a wet cure, which can change things a little too. The amount in the recipe ensures that too little cure isn’t used to prevent spoilage. Hope that helps!

  2. Loved the jerky video !! Except … even though you properly identified the Prague Powder No.1 etc. You then went on to clearly call it a sodium NITRATE. Prague Powder is sodium NITRITE . As you likely know they are NOT the same , and I am only calling you on this because this is SUCH a confusing issue on so many forums and I feel the slip up on your video just adds to this confusion. Love your work, hope I’m not being too anal in bringing this up, but I am a true believer in the use of curing additives – and if were gonna use them let’s use the right one.

  3. I watched the video and then looked at the directions. In the directions you have beef stock or beer. I didn’t see that step in the video. Do you add that before the instacure?

    1. That step was towards the end of the marinade steps in the video, sorry you missed it. You can add it before the instacure if you want, it doesn’t really matter, just as long as it gets mixed in before the meat goes in.

  4. I find that I am very sensitive to Prague Powder or any other sodium nitrite powders. I throw up after eating anything cured with them from home made jerky to home cured hams. I have a pound of Morton’s Quick Cure and another brand I can’t use.

  5. I’ve been trying and trying to make jerky for the men in my house, so I’ve gone through a lot of meat, marinades, recipes(even one from an “award-winning” jerky website…), spices, and money! I gave up and just went with marinating it in Bold and Spicy and making them live with it….UNTIL I TRIED YOUR PEPPERED JERKY! Hallelujah! The men said it was the best jerky I’ve made. I was complimented 4 times(highly unusual), and each time I gave you the credit (I wanted them to know YOU were the Meat Master =D). I can’t tell you how excited and relieved I am to be back in the jerky game and this time with confidence and success!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *