Great Basic Jerky

  • Prep
    15 minutes
  • Total Time
    2 days


"Jerky is a great travel snack. And a great snack or appetizer platter can be assembled with a variety of jerky and cheeses or cream cheese dips!"


  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cracked pepper
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb. lean meat, thinly sliced (3/16" to 1/4" thick)


  1. 1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except meat. Stir to mix well. Place the meat slices in a single layer on a clean, flat surface. Generously spread both sides with the salt mixture. Place the meat strips in a tightly covered glass, stoneware, plastic or stainless steel container. Marinate 6 to 12 hours in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally and keeping the mixture tightly covered. (For smoke flavor, you can add a liquid smoke product according to label directions, or smoke in a home smoker.)
  2. 2. Drying: Place strips on dehydrator racks, without overlapping. Dry at 140-160 F. for the first 3-4 hours. The temperature may be reduced to as low as 130 after 4 hours to finish drying, if desired. Occasionally blot the jerky with paper towels as it dries to remove beads of oil. Test jerky for dryness by cooling a piece. When sufficiently dry, cooled jerky will crack (but not break in two) when bent. There should be no moist spots.
  3. 3. Storing: Cool and cut jerky into 2 to 4" pieces with kitchen scissors before storing. Jerky containing salt and cured without a commercial curing preparation may be stored at room temperature for 1 to 2 months. If air humidity is low, the container should have a loose-fitting lid or one with holes punched in it. Good air circulation keeps the flavor fresher. If the humidity of the air is more than 30%, store jerky in an airtight container. Jerky may be refrigerated or frozen to increase shelf life and maintain flavor.

Author's Notes

If jerky is too brittle, brush on a little Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce to soften it.