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Mommypotamus’ Beef Jerky Recipe

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Beef jerky is the original protein bar :) This "go to" recipe is so simple - it only has three ingredients!

Beef Jerky: The Original Protein Bar

Maybe you free climb 200 foot cliffs, play underwater hockey, or race down an active volcano on a handmade sled. Me? My version of extreme sports involves racing through the house to put pants on everyone when someone pulls up in the driveway.

No matter what adventure is ahead, we all need on-the-go sources of nourishment that won’t cause a sugar crash. Made with just three ingredients, this homemade beef jerky recipe is my favorite “protein bar.” It’s intensely flavorful and ridiculously easy, and because it’s made with ground beef instead of tougher cuts like flank steak, there’s no need to bother with marinating ahead of time. Just mix the flavor right in and dry immediately – easy peasy!

Beef jerky is the original protein bar :) This "go to" recipe is so simple - it only has three ingredients!

Beef Jerky Recipe



Dehydrator or oven (This is the dehydrator I use)


Step 1: Add ingredients to a bowl and mix thoroughly

Beef jerky is the original protein bar :) This "go to" recipe is so simple - it only has three ingredients!

Step 2: Using your hands, press the mixture onto a dehydrator sheet lined with Paraflexx or parchment paper. The mixture should be about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick, and if you’d like you can shape it into a square for more uniform pieces.

Beef jerky is the original protein bar :) This "go to" recipe is so simple - it only has three ingredients!

Step 3: Using a pizza cutter or butter knife, gently score the mixture into pieces

Beef jerky is the original protein bar :) This "go to" recipe is so simple - it only has three ingredients!

Step 4: Dehydrate at 155F for about four hours, then flip and dehydrate until completely dry

Beef jerky is the original protein bar :) This "go to" recipe is so simple - it only has three ingredients!

When the jerky is “done” is somewhat subjective. I prefer mine to be on the chewy side so I remove it after about six hours. It will firm up quite a bit as it cools, so when you’re making your first batch I recommend taking it out around the five hour mark . . . you can always pop it back in if after a few hours it’s not firm enough.

Storage: Though this jerky does contain salt (a natural preservative) due to the coconut aminos, I prefer to store mine in the freezer. If we pull a batch out on our way out the door it’s ready by the time we need a midmorning snack or lunch.

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27 Responses to Mommypotamus’ Beef Jerky Recipe

  1. ann says:

    I don’t have a dehydrator, what are the oven instructions? thanks! :)

    • Heather says:

      So here’s the thing on dehydrating with ovens. I recently came across some food safety info that indicates that drying ground beef with this method is considered “unsafe” because ground beef may have bacteria in the center that will not be killed as quickly as bacteria on the surface. Have I done it? Totally. Did I get sick? Nope, and neither did my kids. Are foodborne illnesses far less likely when the meat comes from healthy, pasture-raised animals that were properly butchered? Yes, I think so. However, I didn’t include instructions for oven drying because I want to err on the side of safety with my recommendations. (That said, I sometimes roast a pasture-raised turkey well below “safe” temperatures using a recipe that has been around for generations)

      If one wanted to dry jerky in the oven, a sirloin tip or other cut would be preferable. You’d marinate the jerky then lay it in the oven to dry at the lowest temp it will go, flipping once if desired and opening the door every once in awhile to let moisture escape. Depending on how thick it is cut it can take 6-18 hours to completely dry.

        • JohnSherck says:

          I’ve heard that if your ground beef is frozen for… some amount of time that I’m not remembering precisely… that the relevant bacteria will be killed off by the cold. I don’t have a citation for that, but since most of our beef comes from a farmer and sits in a freezer for weeks or months before we eat it, I’ve been pretty cavalier about all sorts of food safety concerns….

          • Lan says:

            First of all, I LOVE the idea of making beef jerky with ground beef. We do lots of ground beef around here because it’s the cheapest kind. I think I will make your recipe.

            Then pardon me for not being so bright :D, but how is the issue of bacteria in the center of the ground beef different when using the dehydrator (vs. the oven)? I know about healthy grass-fed animals, etc. but this will be kinda eating raw ground beef right? That I’ve never done. Could you share more why you feel safe to feed it to your children? Thanks!

      • Ron says:

        Or you could just roll it out a little thinner…set your oven temperature at about 170-200 (usually the lowest setting) …leave the oven door cracked slightly to allow the moisture to escape…pull it out in about 5 hours..test..if it needs more tempering…place it back..if not enjoy!

  2. Julia says:

    Are coconut aminos similar in taste to Braggs liquid aminos? Could you use Braggs?

  3. JohnSherck says:

    Over the past few months, since getting a dehydrator in April, I’ve been playing around with making jerky, and I’ve especially liked to make it with ground beef, both because it’s not as chewy and it’s easier to get a lot of grass-fed ground beef around here, even when I’ve run out from my farm-share. I’m looking forward to trying this nice and simple recipe. Like you, I’ve been doing my ground beef jerky without a Jerky Gun, but I really liked the idea you presented of just scoring it and breaking it apart after it’s dried: I’ve tried to cut it into pieces while it’s still raw meat, which mostly leads to it falling apart and having to sort of glop it back together. The only thing for me is that my dehydrator is circular, with a hole in the middle, so it won’t be quite as easy as what you’ve shown. Still, I appreciate the idea.

  4. Cindy says:

    Ahh, the days of chasing little ones around to clothe them. What memories! True story–when my youngest daughter was 3 (she’s now 36) she zoomed out of the house strip stark naked and up the unpaved gravel “street” in the trailer park where we lived, with me, barefoot, racing behind her! If you should own a gas oven with a pilot light, they work great as dehydrators.

  5. Marybeth says:

    Do you have a print link on your page when I try to print your recipes the gray is very light.

  6. Carolyn Ellertson says:

    I just finished a six week short course on preserving with Dept of Ag instructors. They definitely do NOT recommend storing ground beef jerky anyplace but in frig or freezer.

  7. Amanda says:

    I have a local pasture-fed deer farm that I like to buy my meat from. It’s about as natural and clean as possible and humanely slaughtered. Do you think venison jerky would be tasty and work as well as beef?

    • Heather says:

      Because venison is more lean I’m not sure it would work well for this recipe. I would probably try cutting it into thin strips (instead of grinding), then marinating with coconut aminos and drying it.

  8. Sally says:

    I just have an inexpensive food dehydrator that does not have temperature settings. Would that be safe to use for the ground beef jerky?

  9. Sally says:

    I just have an inexpensive dehydrator without temperature settings. Is that safe to make ground beef jerky?

  10. maya says:

    Hey Heather! What is the purpose of the coconut aminos? To make it last longer? Do you suppose I could use apple cider vinegar instead? Thanks, and can’t wait to make this!

  11. megan says:

    I make beef jerkey at home often. We place cookie cooling racks right over baking trays to catch any drippage. It works awesome. I don’t use a marinade. I mix garlic powder, himilayan salt, and black pepper in a dish and the sprinkle it on the thinly cut pieces of beef ( it can really be any roast or a flank) before spreading out each piece on the cookie racks. Use the ovens lowest setting until dried. I guess ground beef is more likely to be contaminated since its processed.

  12. Annie says:

    Do you think unpasteurized fermented soy sauce like Nama Shoyu would work? That’s the only thing I have on hand that is like liquid aminos.

  13. Megan says:

    So, I so want to make this as I just started the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. Only thing is, I’m supposedly allergic to beef. I have ground turkey and ground pork on hand, or I could try to find some ground bison. Think this recipe could work with any of those substitutes?

  14. Lan says:

    Would minced fresh garlic work as a sub to garlic powder?

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