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Packed full of protein with a sweet and smokey flavor, this homemade bbq beef jerky recipe will become a must have snack in your pantry. 

I’m always looking for a healthy snack recipe for my family. You know the ones that aren’t highly processed, have low sugar, lots of fiber and protein and uses truly natural ingredients that you can pronounce? These days it’s tough to decipher a nutrition label.

Like niacinamide. What is it and why is it added to cereal?

How about maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate, bio engineered, red 40, yellow 5, BHT and artificial flavor?

None of those sound very appetizing. Nor do they sound nourishing or what the body needs to thrive.

More and more recently I have found that if I’m craving something, a sweet treat or a savory snack, it’s better for my gut health if I make it at home. There are countless tasty treats I can easily whip up such as whole wheat pita chips, sunflower seeds, applesauce, yogurt and raspberry iced tea. But my husbands new favorite snack is homemade barbecue beef jerky.

Several summers ago my parents gave me a Nesco dehydrator for my birthday. It came in handy during the summer months when I wanted to preserve food from our garden. Since then, I have found it a valuable tool to use year around. When I bring it up from our basement to dehydrate round steak, my husband comes a-runnin’. He knows the delightful aroma of sweet, smokey bbq means he will have delicious beef jerky to snack on within just a few short hours.

Homemade Beef Jerky Recipe

This jerky recipe is very simple and quick to create. I often pull out a pack of round steak from our deep freezer in the afternoon, let it thaw for a few hours, slice it, cover it in a sweet and mild marinade and let it sit overnight. In the morning I will dehydrate the meat strips and by the afternoon the snack is ready to be eaten. The bbq in the recipe gives the beef a sweet taste while the spices give the jerky a slight kick without being overly hot. The addition of the chipotle peppers contribute to the smoky flavor, as if the jerky had just come out of the electric smoker.

How to Make BBQ Beef Jerky

Makes: About 1 pound

Ingredients

2 lbs round steak
1 3/4 cups barbecue sauce
1 1/2 Tbs plus 1 tsp organic soy sauce
2 pieces of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp paprika
Pinch of cayenne

Directions

To prepare the marinade, combine the barbecue sauce, soy sauce, chipotle peppers and all of the spices in a blender. Purée until smooth. Trim any excess fat from the partially frozen meat. Slice the steak about 1/8 to 3/16 inch thick and no more than 1 inch wide.

In a glass baking dish, pour a little marinade into the bottom of the pan. Arrange the meat into a single layer on top of the marinade. Add another layer of marinade over the meat. Repeat with remaining meat and marinade. Place a lid or foil over the top of the dish and place in the fridge. Marinate overnight.

Remove the meat from the marinade and lightly pat with a few paper towels. Arrange the meat strips on the dehydrator trays. Do not overlap meat strips or overcrowd. Dehydrate at 160°F for approximately 3-5 hours. When the beef jerky is done, it will be firm but chewy.

Store in a glass jar or airtight plastic container. Keep in the fridge or freezer for maximum shelf life. 

Tips for Making the Best Beef Jerky

It is easier to thinly slice meat when it has yet to thaw completely and is still partly frozen.

Two to two and a half pounds of meat works best for this beef jerky recipe. When selecting a cut of meat, choose one that is lean. I find that round beef steak works very well.

In my experience, I have discovered it is easiest to remove the excess marinade from the beef before putting it into the dehydrator by placing a few paper towels on the countertop, adding a row of meat then another layer of paper towels on top. Gently pat the top towels to remove any overabundance of marinade.

Yield: about 1 pound

Sweet and Mild BBQ Beef Jerky

Sweet and Mild BBQ Beef Jerky

Packed full of protein with a sweet and smokey flavor, this homemade bbq beef jerky recipe will become a must have snack in your pantry. 

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs round steak
  • 1 3/4 cups barbecue sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbs plus 1 tsp organic soy sauce
  • 2 pieces of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne

Instructions

  1. To prepare the marinade, combine the barbecue sauce, soy sauce, chipotle peppers and all of the spices in a blender. Purée until smooth. Trim any excess fat from the partially frozen meat. Slice the steak about 1/8 to 3/16 inch thick and no more than 1 inch wide.
  2. In a glass baking dish, pour a little marinade into the bottom of the pan. Arrange the meat into a single layer on top of the marinade. Add another layer of marinade over the meat. Repeat with remaining meat and marinade. Place a lid or foil over the top of the dish and place in the fridge. Marinate overnight.
  3. Remove the meat from the marinade and lightly pat with a few paper towels. Arrange the meat strips on the dehydrator trays. Do not overlap meat strips or overcrowd. Dehydrate at 160°F for approximately 3-5 hours. When the beef jerky is done, it will be firm but chewy.
  4. Store in a glass jar or airtight plastic container. Keep in the fridge or freezer for maximum shelf life. 

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