How Long To Smoke Jerky – (The Best Timing for Perfection)

Hey there, BBQ master! Are you ready to discover the mysteries of making that perfect smoked jerky? I know I am.

Welcome to my step-by-step guide on how long to smoke jerky! This tried and true method will have you making the best jerky your friends have ever tasted in no time. Plus, you don’t need any special equipment or ingredients – just a few simple tools and some patience.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll cover:

  • What kind of meat is best for smoking jerky
  • How to properly season your meat
  • The ideal temperature for smoking your jerky
  • What type of wood chips are best for smoked jerky
  • Recommended timing for different kinds of meat

So what are we waiting for? Put on your chef’s hat and let’s get smoking!

With this guide, you’ll be chowing down on delicious homemade beef, turkey, or pork jerky in no time!

Selecting the Right Meat for Smoking Jerky

The first step in making perfect smoked jerky is selecting the right cut of meat.

The best cuts for making jerky are the lean ones due to their low fat content.

Fat can spoil your jerky and give it a rancid taste over time, so it’s best to go for lean cuts to ensure its longevity.

Best Beef for Making Jerky

When it comes to beef, top round, bottom round, lifter, and pectoral cuts are the way to go.

These cuts are low in fat, which makes them perfect for smoking jerky.

You might also consider using other cuts such as chuck roast, brisket, tenderloin, and even ground meat.

If you’re feeling adventurous, don’t shy away from trying lean meats like shank, sirloin and flank steak.

How to Slice Beef for Jerky

Once you have chosen your cut, it’s time to slice it.

For this, you’ll need a sharp knife to cut away any extra fat and to slice the meat into thin pieces, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.

It’s important to cut against the grain of the meat.

This not only helps the marinade to penetrate the meat more effectively, but also gives the jerky a tender texture that’s easier to chew.

Preparing the Meat for Smoking

Now that we have our meat sliced, it’s time to prepare it for smoking.

This primarily involves marinating the meat to infuse it with flavors that will permeate the jerky as it smokes.

Marinating the Meat for Smoked Jerky

When it comes to marinades, the possibilities are endless.

A typical marinade for smoked jerky could include soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, honey, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, ginger powder, and a meat tenderizer.

This blend of sweet, salty and spicy gives the jerky a well-rounded flavor profile.

Pro Tips on Slicing and Marinating the Beef

Remember to remove excess liquid from the meat before starting the smoking process, as it contributes to achieving the desired dry texture of the jerky.

Also, ensure that you marinate the meat for at least a couple of hours, or overnight if possible, for the flavors to adequately seep into the meat.

Setting Up the Smoker for Jerky

The next step in the jerky-making process is setting up your smoker.

This involves prepping the smoker and selecting the best type of wood.

Prepping the Smoker for Beef Jerky

You can smoke your jerky using a dehydrator, but if you don’t have one, smoking at 180 degrees in a traditional smoker for about 7-8 hours will do the job.

Before starting, soak your wood chips in water.

This process helps to create more smoke and slows down the burning process, which is crucial for smoking jerky.

Best Wood for Smoking Beef Jerky

When it comes to choosing the right wood for smoking your beef jerky, Hickory is a popular choice due to its strong, hearty flavor.

Additionally, you might consider other options such as maple, cherry, apple or oak.

These woods each impart a unique flavor to your jerky, so feel free to experiment to find your favorite.

The Process of Smoking Jerky

The smoking process is where the magic happens.

It’s where your meat transforms into delectable, smoky jerky.

How to Smoke Beef Jerky

Smoking jerky involves slow-cooking meat with wood smoke at low temperatures.

Set your smoker to 180°F and allow the meat to smoke for about 2-3 hours.

This slow and low process is what gives jerky its unique texture and deeply smoked flavor.

Drying the Jerky in the Smoker

Following the initial smoking, continue drying the jerky in the smoker until firm.

The ideal jerky should have a dry, leathery appearance.

It should bend under light pressure without tearing or appearing red/pink.

Pro Tips on Smoking the Jerky

Take note that while the edges of the jerky should be dry, it should still retain some moisture in the body.

This balance is what makes jerky so enjoyable – the combination of a dry, chewy exterior with a somewhat moist interior.

Pointers to Determine When the Jerky is Done

Determining when your jerky is finished can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re new to the smoking game.

Here are some pointers to help you out.

How to Determine When It’s Finished Drying

The trick to knowing when your jerky is done is to check its texture.

It should be firm but still slightly pliable.

If it bends without tearing and doesn’t have any red or pink spots, then it’s likely done.

It’s better to err on the side of over-drying than under-drying, as under-dried jerky can spoil.

Preserving Your Smoked Jerky

After all your hard work, you’ll want to make sure your jerky lasts as long as possible.

That’s where proper storage comes in.

Storing the Smoked Jerky

The key to storing smoked jerky is to keep it in an airtight container.

This could be a ziplock bag, a Tupperware container, or even a vacuum-sealed bag.

If refrigerated after opening, your jerky can last for up to a week.

How to Store Beef Jerky

If you plan on storing your jerky for a longer period, dry canning in mason jars or vacuum sealing are the best options.

Stored this way, your jerky can last for one to two months.

Vacuum sealing is the most convenient and safest method for long-term storage of beef jerky.


What are the most popular ingredients for making beef jerky?

The most popular ingredients for making beef jerky include soy sauce, red pepper flakes, onion powder, and a marinade.

How is beef jerky typically prepared?

Beef jerky is typically prepared by marinating it in the desired seasonings or sauces overnight, slicing the meat into strips with a very sharp knife, and then smoking it in either a pellet smoker or electric smoker.

What is the best way to make homemade smoked jerky?

The best way to make homemade smoked jerky is to start with good quality sirloin tip roast and cut it into thin slices using a very sharp knife. Then combine all of your desired seasonings and sauces in a bag and add the meat strips before letting it marinate overnight. Finally, cook your jerky in an electric or pellet smoker until you achieve your desired results.

What are some tips for achieving delicious homemade smoked beef jerky?

Some tips for achieving delicious homemade smoked beef jerky include using high-quality cuts of meat such as sirloin tip roast, being careful not to use too much marinade as this can cause excess smoke from burning off during cooking, allowing plenty of time for marinating (at least 8 hours) so that all flavors penetrate fully into the meat strips before smoking them in an electric or pellet smoker. Additionally, always keep an eye on your finished product so that you don’t overcook it; if done correctly you should be able to enjoy some delicious homemade smoked beef jerk!

What is the best way to prepare a round roast for creating jerky?

To prepare a round roast for creating jerky, you should start by slicing it into thin strips with either a sharp knife or meat slicer. It is also recommended to partially freeze the roast before slicing it, as this will make it easier to cut. Additionally, you can use a dry rub made of brown sugar and spices such as garlic powder and ground black pepper. Once the dry rub has been applied, let the meat sit in an airtight container overnight before beginning the smoking process.

How do you ensure that your jerky does not have an over-smoked flavor?

To ensure that your jerky does not have an over-smoked flavor, keep an eye on the thick white smoke produced during smoking and avoid letting it become too dense or billowy. Additionally, make sure to avoid using too much wood chips when beginning the smoking process and be mindful of how long you are allowing your meat to smoke for – any longer than necessary will result in a bitter taste due to overexposure.

What equipment is needed when making jerky from scratch?

When making jerky from scratch you will need certain pieces of equipment including lean meat (such as sliced beef or lean cut), a sharp knife or meat slicer for slicing, curing salt or Worcestershire sauce for marinating/flavoring, wood chips for adding smoke flavor, plastic wrap if needed to cover any exposed ends during marinating, containers with lids such as ziplock bags or airtight containers for storage/marinating purposes and ground black pepper (optional).

Which types of meats produce more flavorful jerkies?

The types of meats that produce more flavorful jerkies are typically lean cuts like beef (sliced steak), turkey breast or wild game such as venison. These type of meats tend to produce richer flavors compared to other fattier cuts like pork shoulder which may lead to dulled flavors due to their higher fat content.

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