My Search for the Ultimate Protein Snack: Homemade Beef and Pork Jerky

homemade beef and pork jerkyPLEASE HELP ME by providing your feedback on my questions below!

Hey, Steve Hefferon here from the Healthy Back Institute…

Last weekend I did an experiment with beef and pork jerky. I have had a dehydrator for almost six months, and to be quite honest I was afraid to use it …

It would be a very expensive mistake to cook five pounds of meat and then have to pitch it if it turned out to be an epic failure.

So I set my intentions on making the best jerky I could. I went to the store and bought 2.5 pounds of beef (brisket flat cut) and 2 1.5-pound pork tenderloins.

The pork came pre-seasoned and the beef was a store-bought brand. I knew the seasoning could make or break the meat, but being the first time I was more interested in just seeing how it all worked versus getting too caught up with the spices or even the cut of meat.

I cut the meat the night before, let it marinate overnight and then at 8 am I put all five pounds of meat on the trays. At 1 pm I checked it. I like my jerky a bit on the moist side, and I found that the pork cooked much faster than the beef — so I pulled them both after five hours. I even started the temp at 160 degrees F for three hours and then reduced the temp to 130 degrees F for the last two hours, as I saw the pork cooking faster than the beef.

Both the beef and the pork had very good flavor and texture, and I enjoyed the finished product.

So I have some questions for all of you …

What are Your Jerky Secrets?

homemade beef and pork jerkyI have the Nesco GardenMaster, Model1010, 1,000-watt food dehydrator with four trays.

> Has anyone else used a 1,000-watt unit with more than four trays?

> Can anyone give me some ideas for good store-bought jerky sauces?

> Can anyone tell me if you have mixed meats and vegetables at the same time and were there any issues?

> Can anyone tell me the best cut of beef to use? I really liked the brisket flat cut.

I will say that even being my first attempt and not understanding all of the specifics, I’m hooked …

Please everyone, share with us your jerky-making secrets and ideas for recipes in the COMMENT area below. Next week I will be dehydrating some vegetables and then trying some fruit after that …

–Steve Hefferon

Filed Under: Healthy Eating
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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7 thoughts on “My Search for the Ultimate Protein Snack: Homemade Beef and Pork Jerky”

  1. Steve says:

    Hay, big questions, for anyone that is skilled in using a dehydrator…

    Do you have to refrigerate the meat after you are done?

    I would like to know, the opinions of those that use dry rubs vs those that marinate their meats?


  2. Zach says:


    Back health and good meat…two things close to my heart!

    I can’t comment on your methods because I don’t own a dehydrator, but I’ll tell you how I do it here in Alaska with venison, an old method:
    Any cut of meat, so long as it’s fat free. Late season buck is best, for venison. Cut thin strips along the muscle grain.
    Soak in a mixture of soy sauce and water, individual taste varies on the concentration. I always forget percentages. You watch it for a few hours, and can tell when the pre-jerky has much of the water removed. Rinse with fresh water quickly. Throw the pre-jerky in maple syrup (that should appeal to your VT folks) and put on stainless racks, grind pepper on top.
    Then I put it in the smoker with a cold alder smoke, and slowly bring the temperature up to 190 over an hour plus. Just like smoking salmon. You open the door and kill the smoke once the jerky is pretty hard.
    Let it cool slowly, not too fast.
    You’ll see a little salt on the surface, and the jerky is usually almost black.

    As for shelf-life, I once had a jar in the back of the pantry for years. Pulled it out, fresh as the day it was finished. I think the key issue is how dry the jerky is, and keeping it dry. Otherwise refrigerator would be necessary.

    Have fun!

  3. kcannone says:

    posted this on facebook and did get a few comments…

  4. Steve says:


    Thank you for the old school lesson… I will tell you that learning how to do it, at a very basic level is so important, as I bought, the beef unseasoned and the pork pre-seasoned in a bag, and the pork, was not nearly half as good as the beef that I took control of and proportioned the seasoning.

    Lesson learned, Take the 5 minutes and find a seasoning blend, thanks for the tip about maple syrup, to me there is nothing better the sweet protein…

    Ok this weekend Im going to make Vegie chips, will update you on Monday…


  5. Dianne says:

    Anyone who has a convection oven can make jerky, dry veggies, make raw food bars, etc. No need to buy a dehydrator.
    My favorite recipe is made with 3 tbsp coconut aminos or Braggs live aminos, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice, and 2 tsp ” Herbamare Zesty” spice mix. This can be adjusted to taste, more or less sweet, spicy, etc. No junk like in boughten spices and marinades!
    I prefer to use wild meat, bison or grass fed beef instead of regular store bought meat.

  6. Steve says:

    Dianne, Let me ask you, how long on average do you keep your oven on for and at what temp?

    I did try to dehydrate, vegies this week end and it was a flop, all but the sweet potatoes, at his point im going to stick with beef and will try some wild meat as I have friends that have deer and I can get bison…


  7. Steve says:

    Im going to do 6 pounds of beef this week, but Im going to do them in cubes or nibblets maybe
    1 x 1 inch x 3/8, as i found that the thicker pieces were better and some times the longer stripes we to much for what I wanted, plus the kids like the smaller pieces, I will let you know on Monday


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