If you’re itching to make some homemade snacks, this spicy beef jerky recipe will really hit the spot for you!
When I was a kid, we mostly made deer jerky. Since we lived in an area surrounded by logging company land who’s business model included letting hunters hunt on it, my dad was able to get a lot of trophy hunters to drop the game they didn’t want off at our house, and because of that, we often ended up with enough deer meat to last most of the year.
My dad saw those deer as an affordable way to feed eight kids, but we kids saw an opportunity to make jerky, and we each had our own favorite deer jerky marinade recipe. Some of my brothers always wanted to marinade it in straight hot sauce (insert face palm here).
I don’t think I ever made beef jerky until my husband and I started raising grass-fed beef back in 2009 or 2010, but from that point forward, for the first time in my life, I started having more beef available than deer.
But the truth is, deer and beef are very similar, so a sweet and spicy deer jerky recipe would really work just as well as a one specifically made for beef.
On the flip side, pork jerky is different, and I definitely wouldn’t go trying a bacon jerky recipe with beef.
How spicy is this spicy beef jerky recipe ?
This spicy beef jerky has been one of my favorites lately. It’s spicy, yes, but you control how much. So if you’re hard core, and enjoy the taste of pain, you can add more sriracha sauce. And of course, if you like just a smidge of heat, you can use less.
Marinades can be more of a go-with-your-gut situation than an exact science when it comes to adding heat.
Adding other flavors
One thing I always like to add to my jerky marinades is liquid smoke. I’m not setup to smoke jerky for real right now, so liquid smoke gives it that nice, hearty aroma that you wouldn’t otherwise get.
My favorite is hickory for beef and deer.
Other flavors we have are onion powder – very basic, very must have for every meat recipe in my humble opinion.
Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce which both serve not only as flavor, but as essential sodium elements that help preserve your jerky.
And of course, we have black pepper. Sure, we already have hot sauce and red pepper, so why black pepper? It’s a totally different flavor outside of the spiciness, and for me, you can’t not have black pepper. It melds so well with red meat.
What cut of beef should I use?
You really want use a nice cut of beef for making jerky, such as top round, or bottom round, because they’re very clean cuts without a lot of connective tissue in them to cut out or around.
However, a variety of cuts may be used. Don’t let a recommendation stop you from using what’s available! If you look at these pictures, you can see that I used a fairly low quality cut, and while I had some things to cut around, and ended up with some still left in the jerky it’s still delicious.
Can you use ground meat for making jerky?
Yes! I like to use a thinly sliced roast, but you can also use ground beef. My teriyaki venison jerky recipe shows you exactly how to make jerky with ground meat.
For the most part, it’s very simple. Instead of marinading slices of meat, you’ll mix the ingredients with ground meat, then use a jerky gun to lay the jerky on your dehydrator trays in strips.
If you don’t have a jerky gun, you’ll shape them by hand, which is a little tedious, but doable.
What if I don’t have a dehydrator?
Then use your oven!
Ideally, your oven can be set as low as 170º, but more likely, it only goes down to 200º.
That’s okay! You’re going to prop the oven door open to control the heat, and to let moisture escape. You can learn how to make jerky in the oven here.
This is a really good method to use in the winter when you’re heating your house anyway, so extra oven usage won’t be wasted.
As you can see, specific equipment to make jerky isn’t mandatory.
However, if you’re planning make a lot of jerky, or other dehydrated foods, you may be interested in investing in some tools.
Getting a dehydrator
A dehydrator is especially useful, since you use it to preserve garden produce in the summer, and make jerky in the winter.
I have this Nesco dehydrator. Is it fancy? No. But it’s done a good job for years. I also have extra trays for it so I can dehydrate more at a time.
Another good option that I’ve used in the past but don’t currently have is the Excalibur dehydrator.
These were quite popular several years ago, and they’re very nice, but for me, the difference isn’t enough that I felt the need to spend so much more on it.
I think if you use your dehydrator day in and day out so that it’s a fixture on your countertop, and you’re getting in and out of it frequently, as many of my raw food friends do, then it’s probably worth it, as the Excalibur really is easier to get food in and our of without interrupting the dehydration process.
But if you’re like me, and use it to dry a batch of food, and don’t really get into it while the food is drying, then a stackable like the Nesco is perfectly adequate.
What about a jerky gun?
If you make a lot of jerky from ground meat, a jerky gun may be a good investment for you.
For me, it’s not worth it. As I mentioned, I prefer to use sliced roast. But even when I do use ground beef or deer, I’m happy to roll it between sheets of parchment instead.
Spicy Beef Jerky Recipe
So with all that said, here’s the recipe you’re looking for. Scroll down below these photos for the printable recipe card.
Gather your ingredients.
Mix your soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, onion powder, sriracha sauce, maple syrup, and liquid smoke together in a bowl, or large container with a lid, and set aside.
Slice your beef about 1/8 inch thick across the grain. This is important. Slicing with the grain will give you much tougher jerky. You want to cross the grain, and keep the fibers in your slice short so you can chew easier.
Be sure to cut out any fat or gristle as you slice it – you don’t want to be chewing through too much dried gristle in your jerky.
Add sliced beef to your marinade. Stir to coat all the beef in it, then press down to try to get it all down into the marinade.
Cover the whole thing, and place in your fridge to marinade for at least 8 hours – I usually do overnight.
After the marinading time, arrange jerky on jerky trays, or on trays in the oven.
Turn the dehydrator up to 160 and allow to dry for about 8 hours, or until the jerky is dry, but still pliable.
Store in air tight container for several weeks, or in the freezer for a more extended time period.Print
Spicy Beef Jerky Recipe
spicy, salty beef jerky recipe.
- 1 lb beef roast
- 1/3 cup soy sauce or liquid aminos
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1–3 Tablespoons Sriracha sauce
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
Equipment (note: if you don’t have equipment, see this article on making jerky in the oven.)
- Slice your beef about 1/8 inch thick across the grain. (This is important as slicing with the grain will give you much tougher jerky)
- Combine soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, onion powder, sriracha, maple syrup, and liquid smoke together in a bowl, or large container with a lid
- Add sliced beef to your marinade, and stir to coat all the beef in it, then press down to try to get it all down into the marinade
- Cover with lid or saran wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight
- Arrange slices on dehydrator trays, and cover with lid
- Turn dehydrator on to 160º degrees
- Let dehydrate for 6-8 hours, until jerky is completely dry, but still pliable
- Store in an airtight container
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