I would like to make beef jerky at home, is there a way to do this?


This is Alton Brown's recipe for homemade beef jerky, including a way to kludge yourself a dehydrator. You place the meat between AC filters and bungee them to a box fan to blow air through them for 8-12 hours.

  • It boils down to season to taste, then dry. Alton likes to put the jerky between cheap furnace filters, and use a box fan to suck the air through, no heat needed. – Ronald Pottol Jul 31 '10 at 4:54
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    I tried Alton's trick with the filters and fans after watching that episode a while back just out of curiosity and it worked great. This is what I was going to suggest also. – squillman Jul 31 '10 at 20:44
  • Let's hear it for the BlowHard N-thousand! Of course, your kitchen (or even your whole house) smells of jerky for days, and the thing makes a heck of a racket. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Aug 24 '11 at 18:25

Yes, you can make beef jerky with a dehydrator, or at a very low temp in the oven. It's really more curing than cooking.

If you're asking this because of the high price of beef jerky, remember that most of beef is water. It takes about 5 pounds of beef to make 1 pound of jerky.

Unlike steaks, you want really lean meat for beef jerky (at least if you don't intend to eat it within a day).

  • Is it 'curing' or just dehydrating. I thought curing involved salt/brine. Am I missing terminology? – Ocaasi Jul 31 '10 at 4:46
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    @ocaasi Usually beef jerky is soaked in a very salty marinade before dehydrating. It's a little of both really. – Daniel Bingham Jul 31 '10 at 5:28
  • Gotcha. I guess plain dried-out beef would be pretty bland. – Ocaasi Jul 31 '10 at 5:42
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    +1 on the lean meat. Fat doesn't evaporate it goes rancid fast. – Sobachatina Sep 14 '10 at 12:41

I have had great success with Lex Rooker's $10 cardboard box dehydrator, powered by a light bulb. Temperature stays around 120 degrees, which seems to really make a better flavor than higher temperatures. I agree with the comments on fat content. Eye of round has been the best non-sinewy lean cut for me.


  • I wanna try this one :) – Vinicius Kamakura Jul 6 '11 at 23:58
  • 120 degrees Fahrenheit or Celcius? – Peter Taylor Aug 24 '11 at 12:19
  • @PeterTaylor I have made deer jerky in the oven set at 200f, but leaving the door 1/2 inch open and hanging strips from the rack with a crosswise toothpick or two in the top of the meat (meat hangs vertically with the toothpick horizontal across the rack). This was good, but I was still concerned with food safety so I put it in the freezer when I was done until ready to consume, unsure if it was risky or not. – Mike Graf Feb 25 '16 at 0:05

I've tried making jerky at home and at the end of the day you have to spend 4 hours doing it, it usually costs twice as much what you have to pay for it online or in the store.

I've used this recipe before and it was pretty tasty "depending on your favorite flavor"- http://www.bowhunting.net/susieq/jerky.htm

I prefer to buy the jerky, I've tried bulk beef jerky before and they have a pretty good selection. http://www.bulkbeefjerky.com/beef-jerky-4.html The most interesting part is if you find a recipe you like, they will make it in mass quantities for you! *$400 to get started though - I called and asked.

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    This isn't true. 1- jerky takes longer than 4 hours of drying time but it only takes 30 minutes of actual labor. 2- around here, after taking into account the reduction of weight, store-bought jerky still costs about 3X homemade. Cheap meat is $2-3/lbs and reduces in half to $4-6/lbs of jerky. I've never seen jerky that cheap anywhere. – Sobachatina May 18 '14 at 21:57

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