Easy Beef Jerky *

Beef jerky makes a great snack and is a good source of protein. The only problem is just about all of the jerky you’ll find in stores are made with nasty ingredients and low quality meat. This beef jerky is a cinch to make at home with a jerky gun and a food dehydrator….both of which are fairly in-expensive and are a great investment. You can adjust the seasonings in this jerky easily to fit your tastes at the time.

  • 1 1/2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper

NOTE: In this recipe you will need a jerky gun and a food dehydrator. If you buy a jerky gun and it comes with seasoning packets, just throw them out…as they are filled with all sorts of bad ingredients.

Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl; mix together until completely incorporated. It is easiest to use a pair of clean hands for this step.

Transfer the meat mixture to your jerky gun. Use jerky gun, with even pressure, squeeze out strips of jerky directly onto the racks of your dehydrator….be sure to leave some space around the strips of meat and that they are not touching. Make the strips as long as you would like, you can always cut them up with kitchen shears later if you’d like. Continue until you use up all of the meat mixture.

Set your dehydrator to 150F and allow to dry (cook) for 4 to 12 hours (times vary widely, due to thickness of meat, the dehydrator, humidity, etc.). After a couple of ours in the dehydrator, blot any pooling oil with paper towels and flip the jerky over.

When jerky is done, it should be dry, “cooked” all the way through…no longer pink, but still slightly soft (as the jerky will harden up quite a bit as it cools).

Remove “cooked” jerky from the dehydrator and roll up, in a single layer in paper towels to cool. This will pull out any excess oil/fat on the surface, which would make the jerky go rancid quickly.

Place completely cooled jerky in an air-tight container in a cool dark place (removing and discarding paper towels). If you’re not going to use the jerky up within 2 weeks, place in the refrigerator. This is where I put mine anyway, just to make sure it I don’t forget about it…but we never do, it always gets eaten up too quickly 🙂

Makes 24 to 48 snack-sized servings.

*Sugar-Free / Grain-Free

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Disclaimer: The information in this post is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.


  1. Hello. If we are using ground meat, then why do we need the jerky gun. Can’t we just spread the ground meat out thinly by hand? One less step, plus cleaning. Thank You ~

    • TBL, I totally understand the need/want to be frugal and also avoid unnecessary work/clean up. Though honestly, a jerky gun is extremely helpful when making jerky from ground meats. Trying to use your hands or some other implement to spread the ground meat out in a thin “even” layer will be very messy and it just won’t work out well in the end. Ground meats are sticky. It is really important to get the meat spread out in a thin and even layer for proper drying. If it’s not spread evenly then part of the jerky will be dried (cooked) and part will be still raw… not a good thing.

  2. Interesting – I didn’t realize that you could make jerky out of ground beef. We have some ground venison left, I might have to give this a try!

    • It is so easy when you have a jerky gun. The nice thing is you can get a jerky gun fairly inexpensively too….they make for even thickness of the jerky and pretty quick dehydrating. My batch only took about 6-7 hours. And you can use any ground meat that you have available to you.

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