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If you’re a fan of jerky, but looking for a way to change things up — consider learning how to make beef jerky in your favorite smoker. It’s one of the easiest, and tastiest ways to make jerky. Grab a drink and your lawn chair and let’s get started.
How to Make Smoked Beef Jerky
Smoked beef jerky, made correctly, is full of flavor and so much more affordable than the “fake” jerky you can get at the grocery store.
To get started, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Round steak or a round roast
- Beef Jerky Recipe Marinade (GET RECIPE)
- Hickory smoker pellets (or wood chunks)
Getting Started: Slicing and Marinating the Beef
To get started, place the thawed beef in the freezer for an hour or two. Placing it in the freezer for a few hours makes it easier to remove any fat and slice the beef as thinly as you’d like.
For the best cut strips, cut the beef against the grain.
While slicing the beef, make sure you trim off any silverskin and fat. Both the silverskin and the fat do not smoke well, plus, the extra fat makes jerky more difficult to chew.
Once all the beef has been sliced, heat up your stove and get your marinade ready.
Now, simply place the beef and the marinade in a large ziplock baggy or closed container, ensure that the marinade covers the meat completely, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours — for optimal flavor, we recommend leaving it to marinate for 24 hours.
Make sure to check out my beef jerky marinade (HERE)
Making the Tastiest Smoked Beef Jerky: Time to Start Smoking
Start by preheating your smoker to 175-185°F. Once it’s up to temperature, add your hickory wood. I highly recommend using hickory wood for beef recipes because it adds a wonderfully sweet flavor to savory smoked meats.
After the meat has marinated, grab a baking rack and remove the jerky from the refrigerator. Place the jerky strips onto the baking rack, grab a paper towel, and blot the strips of beef for any extra moisture.
As much as you may want to skip this step, it’s important that you don’t.
Soaking up any extra liquid is the key to allowing the meat to smoke more consistently — after all, we want to dry out the meat quickly and easily.
Place the beef strips right onto the smoker’s grates and allow them to smoke for three to four hours, checking it every hour to ensure it’s cooking evenly.
Don’t be afraid to move pieces around throughout your smoker to ensure that even smoke.
You’ll know your jerky is done when you can bend it slightly and it begins to crack — but it doesn’t break — this is usually around the 3-hour mark, but can take a little more time.
Once you’ve removed the jerky from the smoker, place it on a cooling rack (like this one), place it in a sealed bag or container, and store it in your refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
That’s it. Smoked beef jerky to snack on for weeks to come. Also, makes for the perfect camping snack!
Tips for Making the Best Smoked Jerky
- Consider buying a leaner piece of meat to save you time and effort in removing the fat.
- Not a fan of hickory wood? Consider an apple or cherry wood for a mild, but sweet, flavor. Here is a best wood for smoking meat reference guide.
- Enjoy a little heat? Add a small amount of ground chili to your marinade.
- If you’re sharing with friends or family, I highly recommend you double the recipe, the jerky will be gone in no time.
Smoked Beef Jerky
- 2-3 lbs Round steak or round roast
- Beef Jerky Marinade
- Place beef in a freezer for 1-2 hours, remove and trim any fat from the outside of the meat, and slice into ¼ inch thick slices. Slice across the grain for best results.
- Transfer marinade and sliced beef round into a shallow dish or ziplock bag covering completely.
- Place into the refrigerator and marinate for 12-24 hours.
- Remove from the refrigerator and place on a baking rack to allow excess marinade to drain. Blot meat strips with a paper towel to remove any remaining moisture.
- Preheat your smoker to 175-185 degrees F. Add hickory wood when the temperature has settled.
- Place the meat strips directly onto the grates and smoke for 3-4 hours.
- Check the jerky every 45-60 minutes to make sure it is cooking evenly. You may need to move pieces around.
- After 3 hours check for doneness, the jerky should bend slightly and crack. But not break.
- When done remove the jerky from the smoker and place it on a cooling rack. When it has come to room temperature transfer it into a sealed bag and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.