How to Make Ground Beef Jerky

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Video how to use jerky gun

Ground meat jerky can be a great alternative to whole muscle jerky. Many people prefer ground meat jerky because it is easier to chew, they prefer the texture, it’s easy to make, etc… To find out if you like ground meat jerky you have to make some!

Below are two ways of making ground jerky. One is with a jerky gun and the other is with common household appliances. So let’s get started!

Jump to:

  • Using a jerky gun
  • Ground Jerky Without a Jerky Gun
  • Food Safety Tips:
  • Related Posts:
Ground meat on slate with spices

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Using a jerky gun

Choose a LEAN package of ground beef. Don’t use any beef that has more than 10% fat. When I make ground beef jerky I use 96% Lean / 4% Fat meat.

ground beef with basil

Season the meat with your favorite recipe, mix well with your hands, and refrigerate for 3-24 hours so the meat can bind together. Don’t have a recipe? Not to worry, I have dozens of tested beef jerky recipes you can choose from. Most of these recipes were used on whole muscle jerky, but many will work for ground beef as well! Choose a recipe that has VERY little liquid ingredients. 1-2oz of liquid per 1 pound of meat is about the perfect amount. (1oz liquid = 2tbsp) If there are no liquid ingredients, COLD water can be used to help mix seasonings and meat.

Jerkyholic Original Beef Jerky made with an LEM Jerky Gun

After taking your meat out of the refrigerator, pack the ground beef into a Jerky Gun a little at a time. Make sure that there are no air pockets within the meat when packing the tube. Air pockets will prevent the meat from being packed together and in long strips. I personally use an LEM Jerky Cannon which works great!

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Jerky Gun Being Filled

Shoot strips of jerky onto your dehydrator trays or on baking sheets if using an oven. Have a knife handy to cut the beef away from the nozzle after you make your strip the desired length so you can start another beef jerky strip. Shown below are trays from my Excalibur Dehydrator.

Shooting strips of jerky on dehydrator tray

Dry at 160°F for 3-8 hours. Check after 3 hours and dry as needed checking every half hour.

Jerky will be finished when it bends without breaking in half. The jerky should still feel soft to the touch and not hard on the outside. ENJOY!!! You just made ground beef jerky! Yep, it’s that easy….

Ground Beef Jerky Finished Bending

Ground Jerky Without a Jerky Gun

Start with the same LEAN package of ground beef that you would use if using a jerky gun.

Season the meat with your favorite recipe, mix well with your hands, and refrigerate for 3-24 hours so the meat can bind together. Don’t have a recipe? Not to worry, I have dozens of tested beef jerky recipes you can choose from.

Below you can see my Coconut Ground Beef Jerky.

pouring marinade into ground meat

Most of these recipes were used on whole muscle jerky, but many will work for ground beef as well! Choose a recipe that has VERY little liquid ingredients. 1oz of liquid per 1 pound of meat is about the perfect amount. (1oz liquid = 2tbsp) If there are no liquid ingredients, COLD water can be used to help mix seasonings and meat.

mixing marinade into ground meat by hand

After taking your meat out of the refrigerator, place it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. With the use of a rolling pin, flatten the beef to about a ¼ inch thick.

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Midwest Ground Beef Jerky Lean Beef Rolled Out

Score the jerky into strips with a dull knife or pizza cutter about an inch wide. Don’t worry about making sure if they are completely cut all the way to the paper. You are just trying to score the strips so it will break apart easily after drying.

Midwest Ground Beef Jerky in Oven

If drying in an oven, preheat the oven to 300° F. Place the beef inside and bake for 10 minutes with the door closed to pre-heat the strips to an internal temperature of 160°F.

Now turn the oven to 170°F or your ovens lowest setting and bake for 2 hours with the oven door partly open. (Stick a wooden spoon in the door to leave a small gap for air to circulate and escape) Flip the meat after 2 hours, pat dry with a paper towel, and continue to dry another 2 hours or until the jerky is finished.

The ground beef jerky will be finished when it bends without breaking in half. The jerky should still feel soft to the touch and not hard on the outside.

ground beef jerky strip being bent in half

Food Safety Tips:

When making ground meat jerky you are dealing with meat that has been processed and ground making it have more surface area than whole meat and therefor more susceptible to bacteria. For this reason I recommend:

  • Using latex gloves when mixing the ground meat with the spices as well as when loading the meat into the jerky gun.
  • Make sure that a curing salt is used when making ground meat jerky. This step is optional when making whole muscle jerky, but for food safety, I highly recommend always using it when making ground meat jerky.
  • Pre-heat the beef strips to an internal temperature of 160°F to help kill any potential bacteria. This should be done at the beginning of the drying process.
See also  Paul Kirtley

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How to Make Ground Beef Jerky

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>