Beef jerky is so addicting, and this spicy sweet beef jerky with honey, brown sugar, and red chile does not disappoint. I’m constantly in search of tasty and lightweight food that we can bring with on hikes and backcountry camping trips. Beef jerky fits that bill perfectly. It’s delicious, relatively lightweight, and packs a good amount of calories and nutrition for the weight
But jerky comes with one major drawback…the price! Even a small bag can be close to $10. The solution? Make it yourself! When you make your jerky from scratch, you can control the cut of meat (and therefore the overall price) and all ingredients. I used bottom round for this recipe, and the meat came in right around $17. The rest of the ingredients were already in my pantry, so this recipe came in under $20. Not too shabby!
The easiest way to make your own jerky is to use a dehydrator, and that’s what this recipe uses. It adds a little bit of expense to the jerky initially, but if you’re a hiker or backpacker, it’s extremely worth it. You can save a lot of money over time making your own dehydrated food. Not to mention that you can control all the ingredients that are fueling your body on long hikes.
You could also adapt the recipe to use in the oven. Since ovens can’t got quite as low temperature-wise as a dehydrator, the texture and flavor can be altered a bit. I didn’t test this in the oven, but I’m almost certain that you’ll be able to get similar results.
Okay, now for the recipe. Start by placing your meat in the freezer for about 2 hours. This will help you to slice the meat thinly. Don’t let it freeze beyond that or you won’t be able to cut it.
Using a very sharp knife (a fillet knife worked well for me), slice the meat into strips between ¼ and 1/8 inch thick. You don’t want to slice any thinner or your jerky will dry out faster and get too hard.
Place all remaining ingredients in a large zip top bag and mix well. Then place the sliced beef into the bag with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, layout your dehydrator trays and place meat in a single layer on top. You want to make sure that each piece has plenty of breathing room around all sides. Discard the marinade.
Once the beef is arranged on the trays, stack them and start your dehydrator. Then set it at 160 degrees and allow the jerky to dehydrate for 7 to 8 hours.
The Recipe: Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky with Honey, Brown Sugar, and Red Chile
- 3 to 4 lbs bottom round or top round
- ½ c. Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ c. soy sauce
- ⅓ c. brown sugar
- ⅓ c. honey
- 1 tsp crushed red chile flakes
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- Place meat in freezer for approximately 2 hours to make slicing easier. After 2 hours, remove roast from packaging and place on a cutting board.
- With a very sharp knife, trim all visible fat from roast. Then slice in ¼-inch to ⅛-inch strips, cutting against the grain and at an angle. Trim any visible fat from each slice.
- Mix all other ingredients together in a bowl.
- Place beef into a gallon-size zip top bag. Add marinade to bag. Zip closed, then massage bag to distribute marinade.
- Place in a shallow pan to catch any drips. Place pan in refrigerator and allow to marinate 8-24 hours. Flip bag periodically for even marinating.
- Place strips on dehydrator trays with plenty of room for air to move around strip. Then dry at 160 degrees for 7-8 hours.