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  • Writer's pictureMountain Girls Homestead

Homemade Beef Jerky: A Survival Food

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

Homemade beef jerky
Beef Jerky

What are the benefits to making your own homemade beef jerky? Making homemade beef jerky is just one effective and efficient way to preserve meat.

There are numerous reasons why I make my own beef jerky. For one, I know what the ingredients are, and I know that I am feeding my family good, wholesome nutrition. Beef jerky is a high-protein, low-carb, and low-fat snack. In this recipe, there is no MSG, nitrates, nitrites, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, coloring, or sugar. (Click the links to read more about these certain preservatives and educate yourself about why they are not good for your health.) For this recipe, I also use organic grass-fed beef. Why? Because, what the cow eats, you eat also.

For short term storage use, jerky is great for an on the go snack, road trips, hunting, camping, skiing, and back-packing trips. For the short term storage, you will need an air tight container or jar, and eat within a few weeks, or up to a month.

It is entering fall season here in Montana, and this is the time that I get my storage shelves ready for hunting season, the heavy winter months, and just to restock the shelves with my preparedness "survival" food. If we don't end up eating the jerky during this time period, we bring it camping, fishing, hiking, skiing or for road trips. The end of summer is when my dehydrator really works hard. There are other types of equipment people can purchase to help preserve the harvest, meats, meals, and other items, but for me right now, certain equipment is a little to costly, so I have came up with other creative ways to sustain me and my family.

I recommend a food dehydrator, like the Cosori dehydrator. I chose this one after much research and the reviews were excellent and positive. I use this dehydrator constantly for drying fruits, vegetables and herbs, but mostly for beef jerky. It has stainless steel mesh trays that are breathable, sturdy and easy to clean. It is made for high temps for dehydrating meat, has overheat protection, is FDA compliant, shuts off when the timer goes off, has a digital LED control display, has a glass front door so you can look at your food, low noise, is sturdy and fits perfectly onto my counter. It even has built-in side handles and is easy to pick up and move.

For long term storage, I recommend a vacuum sealer. I use this Food Saver for everything. Why should you vacuum seal for long term storage? Because oxygen causes food to spoil. I vacuum seal our lake fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, trail mixes, leftovers, and of course, my beef jerky. There are so many benefits vacuum sealing. It is cost effective. You can seal family sized portions, by choosing the portions you want to seal. You can seal leftovers, use what you want, then reseal the bag, and that is cost effective. Vacuum sealing preserves the food and holds in the flavor of the food. It also extends the shelf life of the food by depleting it from oxygen. Mold and bacteria also need oxygen to grow, so by eliminating oxygen, you're storing food that won't spoil for a long time. For freezing purposes, it protects the food from getting freezer burn. Vacuum sealed foods are easier to organize.

I also keep jerky on hand for those long winter months. Making beef jerky also serves a preparedness purpose. I call it "emergency preparedness", "winter survival" or the "what if events." You never know when the power is going to go out, and I don't want to entirely depend on the freezers. I like preserving certain types meat that do not depend on freezing, refrigeration or preparation. Beef jerky is one of the staples I keep on stock for my "survival list of foods."

For making homemade beef jerky, you will also need 3 pounds of a top round roast, beef eye of round roast or a rump roast. You can also use this recipe for venison, like elk. Trim off any excess fat. Fat causes the meat to go rancid, so be sure to trim that excess fat off. The leaner the meat, the longer the shelf life. Slice against the grain, because that will make the jerky more tender. Place the meat into the marinade and mix together well. Marinate in a large bowl or in Ziploc bags for 12 hours. When done marinating, discard the leftover marinade. Place the strips of meat evenly onto the trays, leaving space in between the strips for air flow. Dehydrate at 165 degrees for 6 hours, or longer until done.

For the marinade, you can choose your own ingredients. Be bold and experiment with your ingredients, but, I must admit, this marinade is the best I have ever made. I use Aminos (a soy alternative), ginger powder, onion powder, garlic powder and worcestershire sauce.

Store in an air tight container or jar and eat within a few weeks, or up to a month. Or vacuum seal and eat within a year to a year and a half.


1) 3# top round roast, (or)beef eye of round roast, (or) a rump roast.

2) 1/2 cup of Aminos (soy alternative)

3) 1/4 tsp ginger powder

4) 1/2 tsp onion powder

5) 3/4 tsp garlic powder

6) 2 Tblsp of worcestershire sauce


1) Clean and dry off the roast

2) Trim off excess fat

3) Slice roast against the grain, into 1/4 inch thick slices

4) In a separate bowl, mix the marinade ingredients together

5) Place the meat into a large bowl, or ziploc bags, pour the marinade over the meat and mix together well.

6) Let the meat marinate for 12 hours

7) When done marinating, discard the leftover marinade.

8) Place the strips evenly onto the mesh trays. Do not overlap the strips. You need space between them so the hot air can circulate and dehydrate the strips.

9) Turn dehydrator on to 165 degrees, and dehydrate for 6 hours, or longer until done.

10) When meat is cooled to the touch, store in an air tight container or jar or vacuum sealed bags.

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Homemade Beef Jerky
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I am not a doctor, nor do I diagnose or treat people. While I do seek scientific confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of the herbs and natural remedies that I use, remember that using herbs and natural remedies are a personal choice. The information that I share on my blogs are not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. All things on these blogs are my opinions and shared knowledge, based on my research or the research of others. Also, if you have a medical condition, are taking pharmaceutical drugs, or are pregnant, please consult with your physician prior to taking herbs or attempting natural remedies.

Mountain Girls Homestead (MGH) is a personal blog written and edited by Michelle, Jocelynn, Sophia, and Nikole Norman. If you have any questions, please contact us.

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