This jerky “cooks” in the sun all afternoon and comes out quite spicy because of all the goodies in the marinade.  For those living under cloudy skies, there are directions for oven drying at the end of the recipe.


1 pound

Top Round or Flank Steak, very lean

4 teaspoons


1 teaspoon


1 teaspoon

chili powder (spicy hot)

1 teaspoon

garlic powder

1 teaspoon

onion powder

¼ teaspoon

cayenne (very spicy hot)

3 dashes

liquid smoke (this comes in a small bottle)

½ cup


Trim the meat carefully, removing any fat or connective tissue, and place in the freezer to partially freeze (about 1 hour).  While the meat is in the freezer, mix the salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and liquid smoke in a bowl.  Pour in water,  stirring to blend well.

When the meat has firmed up enough to make thin slicing easy, cut across the grain in slanting slices about 1/8 inch thick.  Place the strips in the marinade, stir, cover and chill several hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.  (Alternately and what I do, is put the marinade and strips in a plastic gallon sized freezer bag, with all or most of the air removed.  This is also a good way of ensuring the marinade gets distributed evenly.  Instead of stirring, occasionally kneed the bag contents.)

Remove the strips from the marinade, drain and spread on cake racks placed on baking sheets.

For Sun Drying:
Expose to hot sun until thoroughly dry but still somewhat pliable (6-7 hours).  Arrange cheese cloth over the jerky strips while they are drying to protect from insects.  Do not leave your jerky strips out over night.  If they are not done at the end of the day, finish drying them in the oven.

Sun drying is not recommended if you have less then triple digit temperatures and if you don't have a very arid desert like climate .  There is a real risk of food poisoning if using the sun drying method especially under situations taking more then 6 to 7 hours for drying.

For Oven Drying: 
Arrange meat on racks the same way you would for sun drying as above and place in 150 to 200 degree oven with the door slightly ajar.  Dry until a test piece cracks but does not break in two when you bend it (about six hours.)  Remove and let cool.

For sun or oven drying; when done, remove from racks and store in airtight containers at room temperatures or in the refrigerator.  This recipe yields about 8 ounces of jerky.

Note: This is not my original recipe but rather one passed along by a friend from some unknown magazine. This recipe is tried and true after having made several batches of this jerky myself, with no rejects or complaints.   You should use it as a great basis for developing your own jerky flavors without all the sugars usually added to store bought jerky.  Personally, I don't like spicy that much so I cut back on the !HOT! as well.  I pretty much follow the rest of the recipe to the letter using the oven drying method.  I would note that salt is a preservative so it would not be a good idea to cut back on the amount of salt unless you can keep the dried jerky in the refrigerator and you can eat it right away.