Sweet, savory, and dangerously snackable, once you discover how easy it is to make your own Teriyaki Beef Jerky, you’ll never go back to store-bought again!
Beef jerky is one of our favorite trail snacks because it’s loaded with protein and keeps us powered for hours. We’ll burn through a carb-heavy granola bar in 20 minutes, but a few strips of jerky can keep us going until meal time. The only problem is it can be expensive to buy from the store. But now that we’ve purchased our own dehydrator, it just takes little foresight and we can have all the beef jerky we want!
What is the best meat for beef jerky?
When dehydrating meat it’s recommended to find the leanest possible cut. Fat might be where the flavor is at, but it doesn’t dehydrate well. So we look for cuts like eye of round, top round or bottom round. If it comes as a roast, we partially freeze the meat to make it easier to cut and slice it into small ⅛” – ¼” thick medallions. If it comes in steaks, we cut widthwise into thin strips.
Teriyaki Beef Jerky Marinade
This recipe tries to replicate the classic teriyaki flavor of store-bought jerky by using fresh ingredients. Of course, you could use your favorite premade Teriyaki sauce if you like, but we prefer to make it from scratch ourselves.
Our biggest gripe about most store-bought teriyaki beef jerky is that the teriyaki flavor itself is too bold. It’s fine for one or two pieces, but it quickly wears out its welcome. Our recipe produces a milder, more subtle teriyaki flavor, which we find to be more suitable for beef jerky. The last thing we want to is to make a large batch of jerky, only to be burnt out on it after a few pieces.
Including the Prague powder #1 in the marinade is optional, but it can help the jerky last longer as it acts as a preservative. Or, if you prefer to avoid additional preservatives, just leave it out. When using the Prague powder #1, jerky may last a few weeks in the fridge or two weeks in an airtight container at room temperature. Without using the Prague powder, your jerky can last for two or so weeks in the fridge.
How to Make Beef Jerky in a Dehydrator
Mix the beef into the marinade, seal completely, and let sit 12-24 hours in the refrigerator. Once it’s ready, load it up on the dehydrator racks and turn the temperature to 160F. We cook ours for about 4-6 hours, depending on how thick the cuts are. At around 4 hours, we start taking out the thinner slices so they don’t overcook, patting down any oil that might have risen to the surface.
At the end, we have a giant batch of delicious homemade beef jerky that should last us way longer than it actually does!
Teriyaki Beef Jerky
- 1 pound eye of round or top round
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 -inch piece fresh ginger, minced (or 1 tablespoon pre-grated)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon Prague powder #1 or Instacure #1, optional
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Slice the meat into ⅛ - ¼ inch thick pieces, removing as much visible fat as possible. Place in a large zip-top bag and set aside.
- Mix the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, minced ginger & garlic, salt, and Prague powder, if using, in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Pour into the zip top bag with the meat, taking care to ensure that the meat is evenly coated. Place in the fridge to marinate 12-24 hours.
- After the meat has marinated, place the strips onto your dehydrator trays. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Dehydrate at 160F for 4-6 hours, until the meat has dried. The general rule of thumb is if you bend a piece and it cracks, it’s done - if you bend a piece and it breaks it’s been cooked too long.
- Remove from the dehydrator and set aside to cool completely before sealing in a bag or tupperware.
- Jerky that has been marinated with Prague powder or Instacure will last a few weeks in a sealed bag at room temperature. Jerky marinated without any cure will last two weeks in your fridge.