posted January 24, 2022
Teriyaki Turkey Jerky
Teriyaki turkey jerky is the ultimate BBQ snack. It’s fairly easy to make and even easier to consume, so fire up the smoker or dehydrator and let’s make some delicious homemade turkey jerky!
Can You Make Turkey Jerky?
Just like with traditional Beef Jerky, you can make turkey jerky from scratch at home! It will require a bit of prep work, and some extra time commitment to dehydrate the meat on the smoker, but it won’t take much longer than many other types of meat you’ve likely cooked on the smoker.
The real deal here is in the brine and marinade. By brining first for 12-48 hours then marinating for another 6-24 hours, your jerky will be ready to dehydrate and packed full of flavor.
Homemade Turkey Jerky
This turkey jerky has everything you love in jerky with a classic teriyaki flavor. It’s sweet and savory with the perfect tenderness. Also, turkey jerky is a good source of protein and makes for a healthier snack during your day.
Making your own homemade turkey jerky takes a bit of work, but I think you’ll see the flavor is totally worth it. Turkey jerky also tends to be more expensive than beef jerky, so you might end up saving yourself some dough as well!
How to Make Turkey Jerky
There are 4 main steps to making turkey jerky. I’ve outlined these main ones in this section. For a full printable recipe with ingredients, scroll to the bottom of this post.
- Brine. Make the brine in a large stockpot. Once the brine is done, transfer it to a food-safe container, and add in 2 liters of cool water and allow the brine to cool completely. Add in the whole turkey breast, cover, and place the brine in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
- Slice. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry. Place the turkey in a zip-top bag and roll it into a cylinder. Freeze the rolled bag of turkey for 15-30 minutes (freezing the meat will make it easier to cut evenly) then slice the breast into 1/4 inch slices using a sharp knife or meat slicer.
- Marinate. Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a new zip-top bag. Add the sliced turkey and marinate in the fridge for 6-24 hours.
- Smoke. When you are ready to dehydrate the meat, preheat your smoker to 180 degrees F. Remove the turkey from the marinade and lay it flat directly on CLEAN grates. Close the lid and smoke for 2 – 2.5 hours. Flip the jerky and cook for another 2 – 2.5 hours. Adjust your cooking time as needed until the jerky breaks in half easily. If the jerky feels soft and pliable, it’s not quite done.
Once your jerky is done, you can enjoy it immediately or store it for later use. Even though we’ve cured this turkey, I’ll still air on the side of caution and always store my turkey jerky in the fridge. When it comes to poultry, I’d rather be safe than sorry.
Notes for Making Turkey Jerky
Here are some tips to help you make a fabulous batch of jerky.
- Make a larger batch. The brine and marinade quantities are actually enough to cover 2 turkey breasts if you’ve got the room on your smoker to accommodate that much sliced jerky.
- Keep this jerky safe. When you are dealing with poultry, you want to make sure that there is no risk of food poisoning such as salmonella. By using Prague powder, we eliminate that risk so you can enjoy it safely.
- Try another meat. You can substitute for lean cuts of elk, venison, or beef and skip the curing salt if you would like an alternative.
You’re ready to try your hand at making your own jerky!
How Long Does Turkey Jerky Last?
When properly prepared, this jerky will last for 2 weeks stored in the refrigerator, though I feel it tastes the best in that first week.
I don’t recommend leaving this jerky out unrefrigerated for a long period of time. Even though this jerky is cured and smoked, I choose to play it safe because it is poultry. After spending so much time making this awesome jerky, you don’t want to risk getting sick.
More Jerky Recipes
Ready to take on more jerky recipes? These are some of Hey Grill Hey’s top beef jerky recipes on the site. Check them out!
Smoked Turkey Jerky Recipe
Here’s hoping you loved this jerky recipe. How did your batch turn out? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
Teriyaki Turkey Jerky
- 3 pounds turkey breast
Turkey Jerky Brine
- 4 liters water
- 4 grams Prague powder (curing salt #1)
- 45 grams kosher salt
- 200 grams brown sugar
- 2 oranges (halved and squeezed)
- 5 cloves smashed garlic
- 1 sweet onion (quartered)
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons black peppercorn
- 1 cup soy sauce (low sodium)
- ¼ cup honey
- 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 Tablespoon Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub (recipe in notes)
- ½ Tablespoon granulated garlic
- Make the brine. In a stockpot, heat 2 liters of water and bring it to a boil, then turn off the heat. Whisk in the salt, curing salt, and sugar and stir until combined (you do this first while the liquid is hot to be sure it all dissolves). Add in the oranges, squeezing each section into the brine, followed by the garlic, onion, cinnamon, and peppercorns.
- Brine. Transfer the brine into a food-safe container and add in the remaining 2 liters of cool water. Once the brine is cool, add in the turkey breast still whole and cover the container. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
- Slice the turkey. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it with cool water. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels then place it in a gallon-sized zip-top bag, roll it down to be as cylindrical as possible, and put it in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes or until it is just frozen enough to slice easier and hold together. Slice the breast ¼ inch or thinner using a very sharp knife or meat slicer.
- Marinate. Mix the soy sauce, honey, Worcestershire, orange juice, garlic, and sweet rub in a Ziploc bag then add the sliced turkey. Seal the bag, squeeze out any air, and mix around the turkey to coat it all in the marinade. Leave it in the fridge for 6 to 24 hours.
- Preheat. Heat your smoker to 180 degrees F using your favorite hardwood. I prefer hickory for a bold smoke flavor or fruit woods for lighter smoke.
- Smoke. Lay the jerky directly on CLEAN racks and smoke for 2 - 2.5 hours. Flip the jerky and cook an additional 2 - 2.5 hours. You may need to rotate the jerky around on the grates to avoid any hot spots.
- Check for doneness. Pick up the largest piece of turkey jerky and bend it in half. It should break easily and lots of white fibers should be visible. It should also feel very dry. If your jerky still feels quite soft and pliable, continue smoking.
- Cool, store, and enjoy. Transfer your finished jerky to a cooling rack when finished smoking and allow it to cool completely to room temperature. Place the cooled jerky in an airtight container. Due to the cure and brine, your jerky should be fine at room temperature for several hours (if you need to travel), but I prefer to store it in the refrigerator for added longevity and freshness.
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