Smoked Beef Jerky Marinade

Smoked beef jerky marinade

The key to making great jerky is a marinade with a variety of complementary flavors. A good jerky marinade should be sweet, sour, salty, and slightly bitter with a hint of heat.

Start with a lean cut of beef, like sirloin, flank steak, eye of round, or London broil. Slice it against the grain into thin strips of about 1/4 inch thick.

Popular marinades

Smoked beef jerky is a protein-packed snack that’s easy to make at home. This delicious treat comes from a centuries-old process of drying and curing meat.

Popular marinades for smoked beef jerky include Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, and soy sauce. These ingredients help bring out the flavors of the beef and are a great way to create your own signature jerky flavor.

The best cuts of beef to use for jerky are lean and low in fat, but with some marbling (in the muscles) to ensure tenderness and flavor. These cuts include lifter and pectoral cuts, as well as flank steak.

After slicing the beef into 1/4-inch strips, add it to a plastic resealable bag and cover with your favorite marinade. Refrigerate it for a few hours or overnight to allow the meat to soak up the flavor.

Creating your own

Creating your own marinade is the key to a delicious and mouth-watering jerky. You can add as many ingredients as you like, and experiment with different seasonings to find your favorite flavors!

When you’re making a batch of jerky, start with a lean cut of meat. Meat with a lot of fat does not dry out properly and can accelerate spoilage, so it’s best to use a lean beef round or sirloin tip roast for your first time.

After trimming, cut across the grain into 1/4-inch slices. You can use a meat slicer to help you with this step, but it’s also pretty easy to do by hand.

Once you’ve sliced your beef, transfer the strips to a large Ziploc bag and add the marinade. Cover the strips with as much marinade as possible, and place the bag in your refrigerator for 6-24 hours to allow the flavor to set in.


A marinade is a great way to flavor your beef before smoking. However, marinades require time to absorb into the meat. You can also use dry rubs if you prefer a quicker process and more focused on flavor.

To start, cut the beef into strips a quarter-inch wide and no thicker than 1/8 of an inch. If possible, slice against the grain of the meat, which will make it tender and pliable while drying.

When the meat is sliced, trim away as much fat as you can. This will help prevent the jerky from drying out too quickly and allow for a more consistent smoking time.

Once the beef is trimmed, place it in your preferred marinade and let it sit for a few hours. Next, place the strips on a smoker and smoke for a few hours until it’s firm but still chewy.


To keep your smoked beef jerky fresh for longer, it’s best to store it in an airtight container. It can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to two months.

If you’re planning on storing your jerky for an extended period, consider vacuum sealing it in an airtight container with a desiccant or oxygen absorber packet. These help prevent bacteria and mold growth, which are common issues with jerky storage.

Vacuum seal bags can be a little pricey, but they’re worth the investment if you plan on storing a lot of beef jerky over time. You can also freeze a few of your vacuum-sealed bags to extend their shelf life even further.

After smoking your jerky, place it on a wire rack and cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container or zip-lock bag. It should last for up to 2 weeks at room temperature, but it’s most delicious when eaten within 4 days.

Read more great BBQ articles at Bob's BBQ Tips