Paleo Homemade Jerky

homemade beef jerky

Homemade Beef Jerky

Homemade Jerky is the perfect Paleo snack food. It is pure protein to go. Jerky is really easy to make at home and does not require any special equipment. You don’t need a smoker or dehydrator, your oven will do just fine!

It does take a bit of time to make but don’t let that scare you off. The actual prep time is only a few minutes. The rest of the time is either marinating in the fridge or the drying time and both of those are hands-off so it isn’t like you are tied to the kitchen while making it. You could even make it while you sleep if you wanted to.

Jerky is basically just dried meat. You don’t have to add flavorings if you don’t want to. It would be perfectly fine and stable protein source just as is. That is how the cavemen preserved their meat. Today we add spices and flavorings to enhance the taste. The most important thing to remember is that the meat HAS to be lean! It is the fat in the meat that can go rancid so do be sure to only select the leanest cuts and trim all fat from it before turning it into jerky. Since the leanest cuts are usually also the cheapest, this makes it perfect!

Any meat can be turned into jerky. My favorites are beef and pork but you can also make jerky from fish and poultry. I am going to share some of my favorite recipes for homemade beef jerky and homemade pork jerky but don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors! I tend not to add much salt to my recipes and some of my¬† jerky recipes do not have any salt at all if they contain ingredients that are already salty.

How to Make Homemade Jerky:

Equipment Needed:

Very Sharp Knife

Baking racks (the kind you use to cool your cookies on) or you can use your oven racks but that is a pain to clean up afterwards

Cookie sheets or tin foil (to catch drippings)


Container or zip storage bag to marinate in


Trim all fat from the meat and slice into very thin slices/strips. The meat will shrink up a bit when dried so don’t make them too small. Tip: if you find it tricky to thinly slice meats try putting the meat in the freezer for a short time until it is that semi-frozen state that is easier to slice. You will be able to get thinner, more uniform slices that way.

Combine marinade ingredients from your favorite recipe (see below) in your container or zip bag and place meat in the marinade. toss well so all of the meat slices are coated with the marinade. Place the container in the fridge at least overnight, 24 hours is even better.

homemade jerky in the oven

Making Homemade Jerky in the Oven

Place your baking racks on cookie sheets and lay the strips of marinated meat on the racks. Be sure there is plenty of room for the air to circulate around each strips. Don’t place so close together they are touching. I usually do 4 trays at a time, 2 on the top rack and 2 on the bottom of the oven. A small roast will fill 4 racks or more. Usually I get a small eye of round roast or pork center loin roast, cut off a couple of steaks or chops for dinner and then cut the rest into jerky strips.

Heat your oven to the lowest setting possible. Usually this is just a warming temperature. When you put your hand in the oven it should feel just slightly warm but not hot. Remember that you are not cooking the meat, you are just dehydrating it.

Put your trays of meat in the oven and just forget about it for several hours. The drying time will depend on the type of meat you are using and how thick you have cut the slices. Typically it will take at least 8 hours to fully dry. Perfect jerky should be firm and dry but still pliable. If it breaks when you bend it you have likely dried it a bit too long. It’s still edible, but it will be a bit chewier than you may like. If that happens don’t throw it out! You can always add it to stews or soups that will rehydrate it.

Homemade Beef Teriyaki Jerky Recipe (can also be used for pork or chicken)

1/4 c soy-free, gluten-free soy sauce (use your favorite brand or here is a recipe for it)

2 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp minced ginger

1 tbsp liquid honey

Homemade BBQ Beef Jerky Recipe

2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

2/3 cup soy-free soy sauce (see recipe link above)

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

2-3 teaspoons Tabasco sauce (optional)

2-3 teaspoons crushed red peppers (optional)

Honey Dijon Pork Jerky Recipe

1/4 c Dijon or grainy mustard

3 tbsp liquid honey

2 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp black pepper

Pineapple Ginger Pork Jerky

1/4 c pineapple juice

2 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp minced ginger root

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp soy-free soy sauce

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chili Pork Jerky Recipe

2 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp liquid honey

2 tbsp soy-free soy sauce

2 tsp curry powder

4-8 spur chilies finely chopped (Thai chili), depending on how spicy you like it

1/3 cup lemongrass, finely diced

homemade pork jerky recipe

Homemade Pork Jerky

So there you have it. 5 homemade jerky recipes to get you started. Everything from traditional BBQ flavored jerky to more exotic Asian tastes. Just have fun with it and try all different flavors in your jerky recipes. You will love that you made it yourself, it is far cheaper than buying it in the store and you control the ingredients so it is chemical additives-free and nitrates-free and sodium-free if you choose.

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  1. How much meat do you use for these ratios of marinade?
    Specifically the lemongrass version doesn’t seem like it has much liquid to really transmit the flavor into the meat.

    • Hi Melissa,
      That amount of marinade will do 1-2 pounds of meat. When combined it makes about 1/3 cup of marinade. Most of the ingredients have fairly intense flavors that will transfer to the meat when it marinades for 24 hours. Just put it in a zip lock bag with your meat and shake/rub it well. That will coat all of your meat pieces and then let time do the rest. You can always double the recipe if you want to do larger quantities.

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