Homemade Jerky Recipes

Homemade Jerky Recipes

Dried meat has been popular for thousands of years and it's not hard to see why. It's delicious, virtually fat free, a great source of protein and best of all homemade jerky doesn't have the addition of preservatives or chemical additives so you can be sure that you are eating healthy whole food.

There is no science behind making any meat jerky, all you have to do is know what flavours you like, use the freshest of fresh meat and you can be assured of a yummy snack.

One of the things we get asked for most frequently is how to make meat jerky. Here is a selection of recipes, tried and tested and completely delicious, which you can create using your own food dehydrator!

Homemade Jerky: The Basics

Beef Jerky

  • Select only the leanest cuts of meat as fat can affect the drying times and will become rancid very quickly meaning that your jerky will not last as long
  • Be sure to allow adequate space in between slices to allow for air circulation
  • Partially frozen meat is much easier to slice into thin strips. For a chewy jerky cut strips along the grain, for a more tender jerky cut against the grain
  • The thicker you slice your meat the longer it will take to dry
  • Keep your strips as uniform in size as possible to ensure even drying
  • Be sure to let jerky cool completely before storing as any moisture will cause the jerky to spoil. Always store in an airtight container.
  • Use times as a guide only, if you prefer a crispy jerky dry for longer.
  • You may need to use a fine mesh sheet on top of your dehydrating trays depending on how big the holes are in the trays
  • Experiment with different flavour combinations and have fun!

New & Exciting Flavour Combinations

Just as you will see from our recipe collection below, the possibilities are endless for jerky flavour combination and types of meat - it really just depends on your taste! Once you've got the basics down-pat, you'll be on a roll.

Mexican Beef Jerky


  • 2 large jalapenos, halved (1 seeded)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 380ml beef stock
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 kg trimmed beef topside steak
  • Sea salt flakes, for sprinkling before drying the meat


Add both jalapenos to a mini food processor and process until very finely chopped. Transfer into a large bowl. Stir in the lime juice, stock and soy sauce.

Take the beef and cut it into 1/4-inch-thick slices, either with or against the grain.

Add the beef to the marinade, stirring well to coat each slice. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.

Set your dehydrator to 65 degrees Celsius.

Take your beef out of the fridge and pat dry with a paper towel, lay out on your dehydrating trays being careful not to overlap any of the meat. Sprinkle with the sea salt flakes.

Dry for 5-8 hours until meat is dry with no moisture left. Depending on if you have cut the meat with or against the grain your meat with either be quite crisp or more pliable.


Lamb Jerky


  • 750g lamb fillets
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed



Cut meat into thin slices with the grain running length-wise.

Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl, mix well and add lamb.

Put on a plate or shallow dish, cover and marinate overnight in refrigerator. Turning once or twice to re-coat is a good idea.

Set your dehydrator to 60 degrees Celsius.

Dehydrate for 6 - 8 hours or until dry with no moisture left.


Goat Jerky


  • 1kg goat meat trimmed of all the fat - should be available from most good butchers
  • 1 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 drops Tabasco (you can put up to 10 drops if you like a fiery jerky)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika



In a large mixing bowl add all the marinade ingredients and whisk together until well combined.

Cut the goat meat into 1/4 inch strips and add to marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Set your dehydrator to 65 degrees Celsius.

Remove goat meat from the fridge and pat dry with paper towel making sure there is no excess marinade left on the meat.

Lay goat strips out on your dehydrating trays making sure not to overlap any of the meat.

Dry for 5-8 hours until goat is dry with no moisture left.


Cidered Venison Jerky


  • 1kg venison meat
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried mushroom powder



In a large mixing bowl add all the marinade ingredients and stir until well combined.

Cut the venison meat into 1/4 inch strips and add to marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Set your dehydrator to 65 degrees Celsius.

Take venison out of the fridge and pat dry with a paper towel.

Lay venison strips onto dehydrating trays ensuring that you do not overlap any of the meat.

Dehydrate for 5-8 hours or until meat is dry with no moisture left.


Salmon Jerky


  • 1kg salmon
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper



Place the soy sauce, molasses, lemon juice, black pepper and paprika in a bowl and mix well.

Using a very sharp knife, remove skin and cut into thin strips against the grain.

Add to marinade, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Set dehydrator to 65 degrees Celsius.

Remove from liquid and pat dry with paper towel.

Dehydrate for 3-6 hours until dry with no moisture left.

Benefits of Homemade Jerky

Once you start making homemade meat jerky using your food dehydrator you will never go back to the store-bought kind. There are lots of benefits to making your own jerky including the two major benefits highlighted below.

Homemade Jerky is Cost Effective

Save yourself some serious money by making your jerky at home. Store-bought jerky in New Zealand generally costs between $5 - $10 for a 50g packet, so if you are consuming just 1 packet per week this equals $364 per year!

Homemade Jerky: 1 kilo beef rump steak (at $20 p/kilo) will make six times the amount of jerky as you would get for an average $7 packet, which comes to a total of just $173 per year.

$364 for store-bought jerky vs $173 for homemade beef jerky, per year? A food dehydrator virtually pays for itself with the savings!


Due to the perishable nature of meat, a standard packet/store bought jerky can contain a plethora of different preservatives, as well as MSG and sodium nitrate, so that it can sit on supermarket shelves for months on end and still look appealing to the unsuspecting customer!

Making your own jerky ensures you know exactly what is going into your food and there is absolutely no need to use preservatives of any kind. Just natural ingredients, spices and herbs. You can also choose very lean cuts of meat, which reduces fat content.

Vitality 4 Life recommend the use of the BioChef Kalahari Range Stainless Steel Dehydrator or the BioChef Arizona Sol 6 Tray Dehydrator depending on how much you are going to dehydrate at any particular time.

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