Beef Jerky

beef jerky
This is an excellent thing to have on hand. It travels well and makes for a satisfying savory snack.


2 lbs. flank steak, cut into thin strips, about 1/8 inch thick. (see note below)


2 tsp liquid smoke (see note below)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup pineapple juice (see notes below)
2 tsp toasted sesame oil (dark color)
2 Tbsp honey
6 cloves garlic, flattened (see this video for easy peeling)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp salt
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 tsp ginger, ground
1/8 tsp cloves, ground

1. Combine marinade ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Remove from heat, add 2-1/2 cups of cold water and liquid smoke.
3. Cool marinade completely before adding to meat in a 1 gallon freezer zip bag.
4. Remove as much air as possible from bag before sealing.
5. Refrigerate for 2-3 days before drying, kneading the bag once or twice a day.
6. Drain the meat in a colander for about 5 minutes.
7. Dry for 6-8 hours in your dehydrator on the meat setting.
8. Let cool completely then store in airtight container.

Will keep at room temperature for weeks.

It is important to use the leanest meat possible as fat can lead to spoilage. Trim as much fat from your meat as possible before cutting into strips.

If you don’t drain your meat before putting it in the dehydrator, you will end up with a mess under your dehydrator as it drys.

Regarding pineapple juice: Commercial pineapple juice used to be legal, but is no longer so. See this post. Either make your own pineapple juice, substitute fresh orange juice or eliminate all together.

Regarding liquid smoke: I covered this somewhat controversial topic in my Barbecue Sauce #2 recipe notes. Be sure to review.

13 Responses to “Beef Jerky”

  1. 1 Melanie Blackmer November 12, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Just found your jerky entry. I am trying to help my son who is 14 with UC. Prepare for a 14 day hiking trip. I am determined to help him go by preparing SCD foods he can carry in his back pack. Do you think this jerky will do well out doors for 14 days? Also, the 20 minute simmer is to kill bacteria? And have you done this with chicken, turkey or other meats. Also, do you know how well dehydrated fruit holds up unrefrigerated? Thank you any help would be so appreciated! Melanie Blackmer

  2. 2 Paul Stocker November 13, 2008 at 11:26 am


    I’ve not tested my jerky on a hiking trip for two weeks, but I have kept it fine on car trips that long that included a little camping. I do think it can be made to keep well for his trip. The 20 minute simmer of the marinade is to get maximum flavor from the ingredients into the liquid and hence into the meat, not to kill bacteria.

    There are three key factors to determine how well the jerky will keep:
    1. Fat content of the meat.
    2. Thinness of the slices of meat.
    3. How dry you dry the meat.

    For maximum stability, you want to choose very lean meat and remove all fat before you begin. Slice it as thin as you can and dry it until it’s tough. Even when the meat is completely dry, you may notice some fat has rendered out of the jerky. You can dry this with a paper towel just to be extra sure. Having said all that, I have not followed the 3 key factors above and had it last for several weeks in my pantry. And one time it molded quickly – I must have done something different that time.

    I have not tried making jerky other than from beef. I have a pretty strong stomach, but the idea of poultry made into jerky makes me a little nervous. I know it can be done, but I have not pursued it myself. Check the Google.

    Regarding dried fruits, I have experimented with bananas. I put a sample of them in a small container in my pantry in May of 2007 and left them alone. I just ate one and it was fine. That wasn’t a typo – I just ate a dried banana chip that was a year and a half old. The quality suffers some over time, but they have not molded or otherwise shown obvious spoiling.

    I did the same experiment with my savory almonds and my candied pecans. Both taste fine today! I’m most surprised at the stability of the pecans as they are a gooey treat with egg.

    Other foods that are stable for camping include raisins and nuts. Another handy food for hiking would be some of the LARABARS. An SCDer has contacted the company regarding the legality of their products and at least some of them appear to be legal. They are considered advanced though and since they are a processed food you may not want that risk. However, myself and other SCDer have used them without noticing adverse reactions. Of course you could always make your own to be safe. Check the label on each bar for illegals and note that for the bars that contain banana, we have no way of knowing if the bananas were SCD ripe when processed.

    I hope the weather holds out for your son.


  3. 3 Melanie February 3, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Hey Paul
    Sorry it has taken me so long to let you know how the hike went. The jerky was a big hit. Jacob loved it and the candied pecans did well also. All the other scouts tried his food and were envious because all they had was dried prepackaged food. So thank you for all the help and advice. He hiked all 30 miles and except for a lack of water one day he did great. He is leaving on another hike this weekend only 2 nights and 1 day so not so bad. But he has already requested the jerky and pecans! Take care Melanie

    • 4 Melanie May 28, 2009 at 8:43 am

      Hey Paul

      Here I am again. It is down to the wire on this camping trip and time to really start preparing the food for the actual trip. Everything up to this point was just practice. My question this time is do you think I could put the meat in the marinade and freeze it till I am ready to dry it. He leaves on June 26 and the week before will be crazy with me trying to prepare everything he will need and make it fresh. Just wondering what you thought. Melanie

      • 5 Paul Stocker May 28, 2009 at 10:24 am

        Hey Melanie,

        I don’t know what would happen if you froze it, but some questions come to mind. When frozen, would the meat be able to absorb the marinade? Would the freeze/thaw cycle affect the jerky unfavorably?

        Can you make it early? And maybe a little dryer that usual? I keep my jerky in the pantry and I’ve only had it go bad one time. I think I didn’t dry it well enough. I don’t know exactly what the shelf life is, but it think I’ve had some around for 2-3 weeks before I finished it all. Perhaps you could make the jerky three weeks before the last day you’ll eat it and just make sure that the package stays closed to keep out extra air.

        Another idea to help with your time would be to make the marinade well in advance of when you need to soak the meat. It should keep in the refrigerator for quite a while.

        I’ve got to get my dehydrator going for my trip too…

        I hope you have a great time.


  4. 6 Melanie June 22, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Hey Paul
    It’s me again! ;D Still at it. And not crazy yet! I don’t think at least! Day of departure this Friday! Got my jerky marinating! I have something to pick your brain about. Have you ever dried ground beef jerky? My husband thought it would be a good idea to have two textures of jerky and I thought that would be great. But not sure how to cure it for jerky. So I went at it with all kinds of seasonings and some vinegar and pinapple juice from your recipe. Just kind of stiring it in to season the meat. Do you think this will make it ok to dry and backpack with? Melanie

    • 7 Paul Stocker July 8, 2009 at 3:16 pm


      I have not experimented with ground meats.

      I think a standard at-home ground jerky goes something like this: Buy commercial jerky seasoning, add to ground meat, “shoot” onto dryer sheets and dehydrate. What you are doing is the same except for the liquids.

      I don’t know if the liquids will present a problem or not. I suppose you’ll be able to tell me though. I would guess the main if not only difference between ground and sliced meats would be how well it holds together.

    • 8 Caroline March 4, 2012 at 8:26 am


      I know this thread on Paul’s blog is over 2 years old but I was hoping you’re still out there in internet SCD land:)
      How’d the ground beef jerky experiment turn out? Can you share with us any tips you learned a bout how to make the best jerky?


  5. 12 Melanie Blackmer August 17, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Hey Paul
    The SCDlist serve group has asked me to share all the recipes I used and instructions for dehydrating meals with them. I was wondering if it would be ok if I copied the jerky and candied pecans and sent it as well. I will put your name and web site along with it. Let me know. If not I can jsut post the link. Thanks Melanie

  1. 1 SCD Legal Beef Jerky - Gut Harmony Trackback on July 19, 2015 at 5:32 pm

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