How to Make Jerky From Scratch

This versatile snack tastes so much better when it's homemade

This versatile snack tastes so much better when it’s homemade

Some things are just better when they’re made from scratch—and making something with your own two hands provides such satisfaction. When you cook from scratch, you know exactly what ingredients go into your meals, and it offers you the flexibility to adjust your recipe for dietary and taste preferences.

DIY jerky might seem like a lot of work, but if you’re a dried meat fan, homemade is so much better than anything you can buy. My key tips include getting the right cut of meat (here’s a list of recommended cuts—I used eye of round); removing any fat; cutting it evenly (ask your butcher if they can do this for you); and keeping an eye on it while it’s dehydrating. If you follow all of this advice, you’ll have a tasty snack that you can take on hikes and camping this summer, vacuum seal for later, or just have on hand when you need a quick bite.

The spices can be adjusted to your preference, so try mixing the base and then marinating a few pieces in the spice bowl to see what suits your taste—there is some trial and error involved with it, but then it will be customized to your favourite flavours.beef jerkyChristine McAvoy


  • 3 pounds chosen beef cut 
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used Bragg’s)  
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce  
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke  
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar or honey (optional) 
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt  
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (optional) 
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Using a very sharp knife, remove fat then cut beef into even pieces.* Some pieces can be roundish and flat, while others can be longer slices, but make sure the sizes are somewhat uniform.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the marinade ingredients together with the spices of your choice, then add the beef and mix until well-coated.
  3. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight. If you have a dehydrator, follow the instructions on your machine. If you’re using your oven, set it to 175 degrees, line a couple of baking sheets and place an ovenproof wire rack over top of them.  
  4. Evenly space the jerky in a single layer. For the oven, bake for 3 to 4 hours, rotating the pans after 2 hours of cook time. If you’re using a dehydrator, the time will vary based on the machine, but might take up to 8 hours. 
  5. Check on your jerky often. You want it to be firm and dry, but still flexible. 
  6. Store in a sealed container and your jerky should be good for a week at room temperature or for a month in the fridgeor vacuum seal it to extend the life even longer.

*TIP: You can freeze the beef for a little while to make slicing easier.