Teriyaki Beef Jerky Recipe: Your Guide to Savory Snacks

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Teriyaki beef jerky offers a mouthwatering combination of savory and sweet flavors that snack lovers adore. This Asian-inspired snack has gained popularity across various cuisines due to its distinctive teriyaki glaze—a mixture usually made from soy sauce, sugar, and a variety of spices. Jerky itself is a timeless classic, providing a high-protein, portable option that’s perfect for on-the-go lifestyles.

Creating teriyaki beef jerky involves marinating strips of beef in a teriyaki concoction, which not only tenderizes the meat but also infuses it with rich flavors. Once marinated, the beef is dried and smoked, resulting in chewy, flavor-packed strips. The process is straightforward and can be fun to experiment with, allowing one to tweak the recipe to their own taste.

Whether enjoyed as a snack during a busy day or packed for a hiking trip, teriyaki beef jerky serves as a scrumptious treat. It blends traditional jerky-making techniques with the iconic flavors of Japanese cuisine, creating a snack that’s both satisfying and delightfully tasty. Now, let’s explore how to prepare this delicious jerky at home, ensuring it’s packed with all the flavorful punch you expect from a high-quality snack.

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Selecting the Right Beef Cut

When making teriyaki beef jerky, the choice of beef cut is crucial for optimal flavor and texture. Lean cuts are typically the best options to ensure the jerky is not too tough or fatty when dried.

Eye of Round

The eye of round is a top choice for beef jerky due to its lean nature and minimal fat. Found at the rear leg of the cow, this cut provides a consistent texture and is ideal for slicing into perfect jerky strips.

Top Round

Top round comes from the inside of the hind leg and is another lean cut that’s popular for jerky making. It’s more tender than the bottom round but slightly tougher than the eye of round, striking a good balance between texture and ease of chewing.

Bottom Round

Located on the outside of the hind leg, the bottom round is a lean cut that’s tougher than the top round. It’s a more cost-effective option and with proper preparation, it can yield flavorful and satisfying jerky.

Preparation Basics

For successful teriyaki beef jerky, one must master the preparation steps. This includes efficiently removing excess fat and properly slicing the meat to ensure even dehydration and flavor absorption.

Trimming the Fat

Before anything else, one should start with trimming the fat from the beef. Excess fat can cause the jerky to spoil more quickly. It’s essential to use a sharp knife and remove as much fat as possible. Lay the meat on a flat surface covered in aluminum foil or paper towels to keep the area clean.

Slicing the Meat

Once the fat is trimmed, the next step is slicing the meat for beef jerky. For a tender chew, cut the beef into thin strips, against the grain. To make slicing easier, one can partially freeze the beef prior to cutting. This firmness allows for more uniform pieces that will dry consistently. The prep time for slicing can vary, but a steady hand and a good eye for thickness will help maintain even slices typically about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.

Creating the Teriyaki Marinade

The cornerstone of any flavorful teriyaki beef jerky is its marinade, a sweet and savory mixture that tenderizes the meat while infusing it with bold teriyaki flavor. A balance of soy sauce, sugar, and seasonings is key to creating this classic taste.

Traditional Ingredients

In making teriyaki marinade, the traditional ingredients include:

  • Soy sauce: Serves as the salty base of the marinade.
  • Sugar: Often brown sugar is used for a deeper flavor, but white sugar will also work.
  • Garlic: Freshly minced or garlic powder can be used to add a sharp, aromatic flavor.
  • Ginger: Freshly grated or powdered, ginger adds a warm, spicy note.
  • Rice vinegar: For a touch of acidity to balance the sweetness and saltiness.
  • Sesame oil: Provides a nutty aroma to the marinade.

The mixture is usually combined in a bowl with a whisk to ensure the sugar completely dissolves and flavors meld.

Variations and Substitutes

For those wishing to customize their teriyaki marinade, various substitutes and additions are available:

  • Honey can replace sugar for a smoother sweetness.
  • Worcestershire sauce adds complexity with its fermented essence.
  • Onion powder: Introduces a subtle depth to the overall profile.
  • Sesame seeds: Can add texture and enhance the nutty flavor from sesame oil.

One can marinate the jerky anywhere from 6 to 24 hours, depending on how deeply they want the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Marinating Process

The success of teriyaki beef jerky lies in its marination. A well-prepared marinade infuses the meat with flavor and tenderizes it. When preparing teriyaki jerky, one should first gather the ingredients for the marinade, which typically includes teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and a selection of spices and aromatics.

Begin by:

  1. Mixing all marinade ingredients in a bowl until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Slicing the beef into consistent, thin strips to ensure even marinating and drying.

Transferring the beef slices into a ziplock bag is the next step. Pour the marinade over the meat, seal the bag, and ensure that all pieces are well-coated. To marinate properly, lay the filled bag flat in the refrigerator.

Marinating time is crucial. Beef jerky benefits from a total time of at least 4 hours to absorb the flavors fully. However, for best results, letting it marinate overnight, which can be up to 24 hours, is often recommended.

During this period, it’s important to keep the marinating beef at a safe temperature to prevent bacterial growth. Keeping it in the refrigerator does this well, and one should avoid leaving the meat at room temperature.

Once the marinating time is complete, remove the beef from the marinade and pat the pieces dry. The beef is now ready for the drying process, which will transform it into delicious teriyaki beef jerky.

Drying Techniques

When making teriyaki beef jerky, removing moisture correctly is crucial to avoid spoilage and achieve the perfect chewiness. Various methods can be used, each offering distinct benefits and requiring different tools and time investments.

Using a Dehydrator

A dehydrator is a convenient tool to make beef jerky because it provides consistent heat and airflow. Users should arrange the marinated beef evenly on the dehydrator trays, ensuring the pieces do not overlap for uniform drying. The typical drying time in a dehydrator can range between 4 to 12 hours, depending on the thickness of the slices and the desired level of dryness.

Oven Method

The oven is an alternative for those who do not have a dehydrator. Users should place the marinated beef on an oven rack over a baking sheet to catch drips. Setting the oven to the lowest setting, usually between 175°F to 200°F, one can achieve a good dry while preserving the teriyaki flavor. Incorporating liquid smoke into the marinade can add a smoky flavor that mimics a traditional smoker. Cook time in the oven may vary from 4 to 8 hours.

Smoking Technique

Using a smoker to make teriyaki beef jerky introduces a distinctive smoked flavor that can’t be replicated with liquid smoke. The jerky is smoked over low, indirect heat which gradually dries out the moisture. Smoking can take longer than other methods, sometimes up to 12 hours, but it infuses the jerky with complex flavors. Patience during the smoking process ensures that the jerky achieves the correct texture without becoming too brittle.

Storage and Preservation

The proper storage and preservation methods ensure that teriyaki beef jerky remains fresh and tasty. This section explains how to cool and condition the jerky after it’s made and how to store it for long-term enjoyment while maintaining safety and flavor.

Cooling and Conditioning

After cooking, teriyaki beef jerky should be allowed to cool at room temperature. Once cooled, it’s important to condition the jerky, which involves letting it sit out to ensure it’s pliable. This step equalizes the moisture and prevents spoilage.

Storing for Longevity

For optimal longevity, teriyaki beef jerky should be stored in a ziplock bag with as much air removed as possible. The jerky can then be refrigerated to extend its shelf life. A preservative such as a silica gel packet can also be added to absorb any excess moisture, helping to keep the jerky fresh when stored.

Nutritional Information

Teriyaki beef jerky is a tasty snack that comes with a range of nutritional values. A typical piece of teriyaki beef jerky might have different amounts of calories and nutrients, depending on the recipe and how it’s made.

Calories: An ounce (around 28 grams) of teriyaki beef jerky generally contains about 116 calories. Calories are a measure of energy from food.

Protein: It is a good source of protein, with about 9.4 grams per serving. Protein helps build and repair muscles.

Fat: This jerky has around 7.3 grams of total fat, which includes both saturated and unsaturated fats.

Carbohydrates: Each serving typically has about 3.1 grams of carbohydrates, which the body uses for energy.

In terms of vitamins and minerals, teriyaki beef jerky provides:

  • Cholesterol: With around 14 milligrams, it’s a point for those monitoring their cholesterol levels.
  • Sodium: It’s quite high in sodium, around 590 milligrams per ounce. People watching their salt intake should be mindful.
  • Sugars: Generally, it contains about 2.6 grams of sugars due to the teriyaki sauce.

Despite being a convenient source of protein, teriyaki beef jerky can be high in sodium, which can affect blood pressure. However, it’s low in carbohydrates, which might be suitable for those on low-carb diets.

Always check the packaging for the most accurate nutritional information, as recipes and brands can differ significantly.

Safety Tips

When making teriyaki beef jerky, safety is essential to prevent foodborne illnesses. Proper handling of raw beef and the correct use of curing salts are key.

Handling Raw Beef

Raw beef should be handled with care. Always start with clean hands and clean surfaces. Use separate cutting boards for meat and other foods to avoid cross-contamination. Additionally, refrigerate the beef at 40°F or below until ready to use, and marinate it in the refrigerator to keep it safe from bacteria growth.

Using Curing Salts

Curing salts, such as Prague Powder #1 or Instacure #1, contain sodium nitrite and are used for short-term cures. When preparing beef jerky, one must accurately measure the curing salt; typically, it’s 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of meat. It’s crucial to follow the recipe precisely to ensure the meat is cured properly, which helps prevent bacterial growth.

Serving Suggestions

When one prepares teriyaki beef jerky, they should keep in mind the versatile ways it can be served. Teriyaki beef jerky pairs well with a variety of cuisines and can be a staple in anyone’s snack selection.

For Individual Snacking:

  • Place pieces of jerky in a bowl or on a plate for easy access.
  • Pair with crackers or cheese for a more filling snack.

As a Party Appetizer:

  • Jerky can be cut into bite-sized pieces and served on bamboo skewers for a fun and easy-to-handle treat.

Incorporated Into Dishes:

  • Chop jerky into small pieces and sprinkle over salads for added protein.
  • Add it into a trail mix for a savory element.

Serving Note:
One should not forget that teriyaki beef jerky is already flavorful, so it’s unnecessary to add extra sauces or condiments.

By using these serving suggestions, teriyaki beef jerky can be a delightful addition to any snacking occasion or meal. Whether enjoyed alone or shared with friends, it offers a delicious way to savor this classic snack.

Advanced Tips for Jerky Making

Making the perfect batch of teriyaki beef jerky involves attention to detail, especially when it comes to testing for doneness and slicing techniques. These advanced tips will help elevate the quality of your homemade jerky.

Testing for Doneness

The key to knowing when your beef jerky is done is to check its texture. Jerky should be leathery and bendable, but not brittle or overly dry. A simple method is to take a piece and bend it to a 90-degree angle. Properly done jerky will crack but not break apart. The exact thickness of the slices can affect the drying time, so thinner slices may require less time than thicker cuts. Consistent testing during the drying process ensures that the jerky maintains the desired texture and prevents over-dehydration. If you’re using a dehydrator, periodically check your jerky after the first few hours, especially if the slices vary in thickness.

Slicing Techniques

A uniform thickness in your beef slices is crucial for even drying, so it’s recommended to use a jerky slicer if available. If one isn’t at hand, ensure your knife is very sharp and partially freeze the meat beforehand. This makes it easier to achieve consistent thickness throughout all slices, which should be around 1/4 inch for the ideal balance of texture and drying time. The direction in which the meat is cut also impacts the texture; slicing against the grain results in a more tender jerky, while slicing with the grain gives a chewier bite. Experiment with different thicknesses and grains to find the texture that best suits your preference when it comes to making teriyaki beef jerky. Remember to incorporate spices evenly as well; a spice rub or marinade should be thoroughly mixed and massaged into the meat for a rich, consistent flavor.

Exploring Flavors

Teriyaki beef jerky offers a palate of tastes ranging from bold sweetness to rich savoriness. One can experiment with the balance of flavors to achieve the perfect jerky.

Sweet and Spicy Options

This tempting category blends the signature sweetness of teriyaki with a kick of heat. Ingredients like cayenne powder and red pepper flakes introduce a spicy contrast to the sweetness. For example, adding a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the usual teriyaki marinade can elevate the flavor profile, offering a warm burst of spice that complements the natural sweetness of honey or brown sugar that is often used in teriyaki beef jerky recipes.

Herbal and Savory Twists

Herbs and savory seasonings like black pepper and sesame seeds can add depth and complexity. Incorporating a tablespoon of roasted sesame seeds to the marinade not only enhances the texture but also infuses a nutty flavor that pairs well with the sweet teriyaki base. Adding a mix of ground black pepper provides a sharp, pungent counterpoint to the sweet and herbal notes, creating a full-bodied taste experience.

Handy Equipment and Tools

When making teriyaki beef jerky, having the right tools can make the process smoother and more efficient.

Dehydrator: A dehydrator is ideal for making beef jerky because it circulates air and maintains a constant temperature. Many recipes recommend using a dehydrator set to 160°F for about 4-6 hours.

Oven or Smoker: For people who don’t have a dehydrator, an oven or a smoker can be used. The oven should be set to the lowest temperature, and the door should be kept slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape. Smokers add a unique flavor but require monitoring.

Jerky Slicer: A jerky slicer helps ensure that the beef slices are uniform, which is crucial for even drying. If the slices are not of consistent thickness, they will dry at different rates.

DehydratorDries meat evenly at a set temperature
Oven/SmokerAlternative drying methods with added flavor from the smoker
Jerky SlicerCuts meat into uniform slices for even drying

Colander: After marinating, using a colander helps to drain off excess marinade and makes it easier to lay out the meat.

Refrigeration: It is important to refrigerate the beef as it marinates. The cold temperature helps the beef absorb the teriyaki flavors and ensures food safety.

One should consider all these tools to make delicious teriyaki beef jerky. Each tool serves its purpose to ensure that the jerky is flavorful, safely prepared, and properly dried.

Recipe Variations and Ideas

When exploring the world of homemade teriyaki beef jerky, there are numerous variations to consider. Each recipe brings its own unique twist to this classic snack.

Sweet and Spicy Twist:
To add a kick, one can include a blend of red pepper flakes to their marinade, enhancing the teriyaki’s sweetness with a spicy undertone. Those with a penchant for heat will appreciate this bold choice.

  • Ingredients to add:
    • 1¼ tablespoons of red pepper flakes
    • Increase or decrease quantity for desired heat level

Traditional Flavors:
For a more traditional approach, the use of soy sauce and ginger offers a deeply authentic teriyaki taste. Fresh ginger brings a warm, zesty flavor that complements the sweetness of the sauce.

  • Ingredients to focus on:
    • Soy sauce for a savory base
    • Fresh ginger for zestiness

Acidic Touch:
Incorporating rice vinegar adds an acidic touch that can brighten the overall flavor profile. It cuts through the richness and adds a subtle tang.

  • Suggested addition:
    • ¼ cup of rice vinegar for balance

Enhanced Sweetness:
For jerky enthusiasts preferring sweeter notes, adding maple syrup or honey to the marinade contributes a natural sweetness and helps create a stickier, glaze-like coating on the beef.

  • Sweetening agents:
    • Maple syrup or honey to taste
Sweet and SpicyRed pepper flakesAdjust amount to suit heat preference.
TraditionalSoy sauce, fresh gingerFresh ginger adds a distinctive warmth.
Acidic BalanceRice vinegarAdds a tangy note.
Extra SweetnessMaple syrup or honeyProvides natural sweetness and glaze.

The key to homemade beef jerky is to experiment and find the perfect balance of flavors that suit one’s preferences. Reviewers of various beef jerky recipes often suggest starting with a tried and true base recipe and then branching out with different variations to keep the taste buds intrigued.

Cleanup and Maintenance

When making teriyaki beef jerky, keeping equipment clean is crucial for food safety and ensures that it works well for the next use. Here is a simple guide to cleaning up and maintaining your tools:


  • Knife: After slicing the beef, wash the knife with warm, soapy water and sanitize it.
  • Bowls: Rinse any marinade bowls immediately to avoid residue setting.
  • Bamboo Skewers: If reusable, soak in warm water, then wash and dry thoroughly.

Dehydrator Racks:

  1. Remove: Take the racks out of the dehydrator once cooled.
  2. Soak: Fill your sink with hot, soapy water and let the racks soak to loosen any dried-on bits.
  3. Scrub: Using a brush, clean the racks, paying close attention to any crevices.
  4. Rinse and Dry: Rinse with hot water and dry completely before storage.

Maintenance Tips:

  • Check the dehydrator’s fan and heating elements regularly for any signs of wear or damage.
  • Ensure the dehydrator’s airflow is not obstructed by food particles or dust by wiping it down with a damp cloth.
  • Store bamboo skewers in a dry place to prevent mold or mildew.

By following these steps, one can maintain their equipment and ensure a safe, clean environment for making delicious teriyaki beef jerky.

User Reviews and Feedback

Teriyaki beef jerky receives varied reactions from those who try different recipes. Some users have shared that marinating the beef for a long time, such as 8-12 hours, enhances the deep, savory flavor they love in a beef jerky snack. Others appreciate recipes that suggest a moderate sweetness level, such as one that involves mirin, a sweet Japanese cooking wine.

Feedback often highlights the importance of slicing the meat properly. Jerky enthusiasts recommend slicing beef into pieces about ⅛ – ¼ inch thick, which can be found in instructions from Fresh Off The Grid. Thin, consistent slices ensure even drying and a better chewing experience.

Here’s a breakdown of common points from reviews:

  • Flavor: Users looking for a less traditional approach find that adding a bit of spice like jalapeno provides an exciting twist to the usual teriyaki flavor.
  • Texture: Achieving the perfect jerky texture is crucial. Feedback often praises using a dehydrator or an oven set at low temperatures, around 170°F, for several hours.
  • Ease of Recipe: Simplicity is key for many home cooks. They prefer straightforward recipes such as the one from Jerkyholic that feature common household ingredients.

User Tips:

  • Pat the meat dry after marinating to avoid steaming.
  • Use bamboo skewers to hang the strips in the oven, allowing all-around airflow.

Reactions to teriyaki beef jerky vary from person to person, but those who take the time to follow expert tips tend to report the best results.


Making teriyaki beef jerky combines the rich flavors of the teriyaki sauce with the traditional method of drying meat. The key is to select lean cuts of meat, such as eye of round, top round, or bottom round, as these dehydrate well and reduce the risk of spoilage due to fat content. Precise ingredients like rice vinegar and ginger, or additions such as maple syrup and honey, can greatly influence the flavor profile of the jerky.

The process includes marinating the thinly sliced beef to infuse it with the teriyaki taste. Thickness of the slices can alter the final texture; a common choice is around 1/4″ thick. After marinating, the jerky is dried using a dehydrator or an oven, until it achieves the perfect chewiness.

Teriyaki beef jerky is a versatile snack fitting a variety of occasions. One can explore different levels of sweetness or heat in their recipe, adjusting ingredients like brown sugar or red pepper flakes to match personal preference. With patience and attention to detail, chefs and home cooks alike can prepare a delicious batch of beef jerky that captures the essence of teriyaki.

Zesty Orange Teriyaki Beef Jerky

Zesty Orange Teriyaki Beef Jerky

This Zesty Orange Teriyaki Beef Jerky offers a delightful fusion of classic teriyaki flavor with a citrus twist. Marinated in a homemade teriyaki sauce enriched with fresh orange juice and zest, this jerky provides a unique, tangy taste experience. It’s a perfect snack for those who enjoy a combination of sweet, savory, and citrus flavors in their jerky.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine Wild Game
Servings 16 servings
Calories 90 kcal


  • 2 lbs lean beef like eye of round, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange juice freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional for added heat


  • Begin by slicing the beef into thin, even strips.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together soy sauce, orange juice, honey, sesame oil, minced garlic, grated ginger, orange zest, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to create the marinade.
  • Place beef strips in a large ziplock bag and pour in the marinade. Ensure each piece is well coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Preheat your dehydrator or oven to 160°F (71°C).
  • Arrange the marinated beef strips on the dehydrator trays or oven racks, making sure they do not overlap.
  • Dehydrate or bake for 4-6 hours, or until the jerky reaches the desired level of dryness.
  • Let the jerky cool before storing it in an airtight container.
Keyword beef, dehydrated, jerky
User Review
5 (1 vote)