How To Make The Best Beef Sticks – Jerky Recipe (2020)

Do you desire an excellent meat snack? A lot of people would like to know how to make beef sticks as they are a fast, delicious, and nutritious snack. When you buy them from the store, it’s pricey, so for you to save money, we suggest that you learn to make your own at home.

It is not hard if you have the right ingredients and the equipment. All you need is a meat grinder, a stuffer, and an oven or a BBQ smoker. Let’s start by explaining the basics for its step-by-step preparation.

Beef jerky – Basics

How to make a beef jerky recipe

Jerky is a specific type of a more general kind of meat snack called jerky. Jerky is lean trimmed meat that has been cut into strips and dried to prevent spoilage. This drying includes the addition of salt to prevent bacteria growth before the beef has finished the dehydrating process. This recipe is made by marinating in a salt curing solution and drying it. Beef Jerky prepared this way has a long shelf life and a unique flavor.

Beef jerky recipes are a part of the rapidly growing meat snack market. They have healthy attributes such as high protein content and low-fat level. Many different flavors can be produced to increase customer acceptance of the product. You can try adding red pepper for additional flavoring.

Homemade beef jerky – Ingredients 

  • One 4lb beef roast
  • One 1lb pork roast
  • 7 tbsp A.C. Legg snack stick seasoning
  • 1 tsp Prague powder ₦1 curing salt
  • 19-21mm collagen casings (21mm size is recommended)

Beef jerky recipe – Techniques/tips to improve

Steps to follow to prepare beef sticks – Beef Jerky

How to make jerky – Meat grinding

Start by ensuring that the meat is properly cooled to a temperature of about 30 degrees Fahrenheit. This is very important as the hotter the fat the harder it is to grind. Properly cooked meat prevents problems with milling and the grinder clogging.

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Get the meat ground-up using a thick grinder, put it in a bowl, and leave in the fridge for about half an hour. Then, remove the containers with the meat from the refrigerator to mix it thoroughly in a bigger pot. Grind it again for the last time using a smaller grinding plate.

Beef sticks – Adding seasonings

Once you have the meat ground-up, the next thing is to add the seasoning. Use the ingredients; if you want to try new flavors, you can add something different. Add the mixed condiments and curing salt directly to the meat and mix it thoroughly with your hands for about 5 minutes. Next, add a touch of freezing water and remix it all for 2-3 minutes.

Put the meat that you seasoned with salt and black pepper in the bowls, then in the fridge for about 30 minutes. If you need a better flavor, you can add a little extra salt, 1 tsp of black pepper, and maybe 1 tsp of ground red pepper too, and then leave it for a few hours.

Aaron Franklin advised to always keep the seasoning simple to increase the flavor of the smoke and the meat.

Dehydrator recipes – Grinding the meat again

After the 30 minutes has elapsed, you can remove the cooled beef, pork, or chicken from the fridge. Grind it up again using a small grinder just like the previous time. This will allow better mixing of the seasonings and will give the meat mixture a better consistency for beef sticks, pork sticks, or chicken sticks.

Jerky recipes – Stuffing

This process can be divided into two methods; the first uses a stand mixer while the second uses a jerky gun.

  • Using a stand mixer: Some people have a stand mixer and a stuffing set at home. This method makes it possible to make beef sticks, but it is not very easy and convenient. Just put on a nozzle, and then stretch a casing 3-4” over the outlet. You can call someone to help push the meat slowly in the stuffer while you watch the housing so that it slides in the right moment.
  • Using jerky gun: This method is highly recommended as it will not give you stress, unlike a stand mixer. A jerky gun is designed well as it allows you to load the meat mix in the collagen casings fast and conveniently. You should not worry about the ground beef or pork slipping past the pusher when stuffing.

Cooking the beef sticks: There are three options for you to choose from when preparing your beef sticks.

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Beef jerky recipes – Using an oven

There is not too much difference between cooking with a smoker and an oven. Add some tinfoil on the bottom of the oven. This will help make cleaning easier by collecting all the grease and fat.

The next thing is to set the oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit and place the beef sticks in the oven. Leave the oven door open for the first hour. After about 3 hours of cooking, make sure the beef sticks are done. They should reach an internal temperature of 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit. To achieve this, use the right meat thermometer to monitor the temperature and make sure that the meat is done and safe to consume.

Once you are through with the cooking, wait for the beef sticks to cool down and start eating them or pack some of them in sealed plastic bags and leave them in the fridge or freezer.

Jerky marinade – Using a food dehydrator

Place the sticks in the dehydrator and wait for the temperature inside to be at least 155-160 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the type of dehydrator. Once the heat level is reached, start cooking, and measuring time immediately.

The first stage of cooking takes about 7-8 hrs. After that, you can start controlling their texture. Do it every 1.5-2 hrs to reach the desired result. It may take about 10 hrs, depending on the composition.

After taking them out, wait for 10 minutes for them to cool off before packing the rest inside a Ziploc bag and putting them in the fridge. Add seasonings such as salt and black pepper to taste, and serve with a red pepper salad for a great snack!

Best meat for beef jerky – Using a smoker

Preheat the smoker to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and then put the beef sticks in, plug in the probe and leave the meat for an hour. After achieving that, increase the temperature to about 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit and leave it for about 4 hours.

Finally, increase the heat to about 170 or even 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Wait for the beef sticks to reach an internal temperature of 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the thermometer indicates this temperature, turn off the smoker, take the beef sticks out and wait for a moment for them to cool off.

How to make beef jerky – Correcting common problems

Making beef jerky – Your meat block is too lean

If you’re making homemade snack sticks, you’ll need meat that has optimal fat content; a fat percentage of 20% or more. The fat acts as a vehicle for the seasoning and coats your mouth and tongue with the taste allowing you to get more of the flavor and allowing it to linger longer.

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Fat and salt are essential for keeping our bodies running correctly, and it is going to give you a better all-around product.

Best beef jerky recipe – You are cooking your snack sticks too quickly

If you start heating at a higher temperature, you risk creating a sturdy and dry exterior and casing, sometimes known as case hardening. This poses a problem because once the outside of the stick has cooked, it will no longer efficiently transfer heat to the center of the stick. This will leave you with an overdone exterior and an under-cooked interior. Make sure to check the internal temperature regularly.

Best Beef Jerky practices in the industry

Below are the food safety interventions in the meat industry:

  • Multiple responses make less likely bacteria will survive.
  • Some interventions are simple low-tagged, while others use advanced technologies.
  • One of the problems faced is dealing with live animals because they come from a variety of environments, from rainy to dusty and dry.
  • Livestock arrives with dirt, dust, and bacteria on their body as well as their internal organs.
  • Their job is to make sure that dirt, dust, and other contaminants won’t find their way into the meat and you.
  • One of the first lines of defense is employing simple hygiene. All employees must wear hygienic clothing and thoroughly wash their hands before entering the processing floor.
  • On the processing floor, the goal is to remove any form of the contaminant that can be seen and also take steps to remove contaminants that cannot be seen. Several interventions are used to achieve this.

Tools you can use for a jerky recipe

Below are some of the tools needed to prepare your beef sticks:

  • A meat grinder or stand mixer with a food grinder attachment
  • Cooking twine
  • Sharp knife
  • Smoker thermostat with a probe
  • Several steel mixing bowls
  • Smoker, dehydrator or oven
  • Jerky gun with small tube or sausage stuffer tubes
  • Plastic tubs big enough to fit a few lbs of meat

Beef jerky marinade – FAQs

What are beef sticks made out of?

Beef sticks are made out of the following: beef, salt, water, less than 2% of corn syrup, dextrose, natural smoke flavor, spices, hydrolyzed soy protein, natural flavor, sodium erythorbate, lactic acid starter culture, and sodium nitrite.

How long do you smoke beef sticks?

Using a smoker, preheat it to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and then put the beef sticks in, plug in the probe and leave the meat for a time of 60 minutes. After that, increase the temperature to about 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit and leave it like that for about 4 hours.