Buffalo Jerky

My husband was given some beef jerky by a golf buddy one day. He came home and insisted that I try it immediately, because it was “that good.” Well, it was good, in fact great, and neither of us has ever been a beef jerky fan before.

As you can tell from the feature photo, this jerky isn’t in flat and narrow strips that take about an hour per inch to chew. These are lovely tender bits of tasty meat.

The jerky recipe requires three steps – marinating, dehydrating, then smoking.

Start with 7-10 pounds of meat. Golf buddy recommends Black Angus choice sirloin steaks, about 1 1/2″ in thickness. Also London broil is a good choice – anything lean.

For fun, I purchased lean buffalo sirloin steaks from D’Artagnan, one of my two sources for high quality meat.

Slices the meat crosswise into pieces 1/4″ thick. If the slices are any thinner they dry out too fast. The meat was still partially frozen to help me slice more consistently.

Then golf buddy slices those into smaller, bite-sized cuts, but I left mine in the short strips. My total meat weight is 8 pounds.

Golf buddy’s recipe is a mixture of Allegro Original Hot and Spicy Marinade and Teriyaki marinade, one bottle of each, then your favorite barbecue sauce and Sriracha.

I’ve never tried the Allegro brand, so I purchased both. Head Country is my favorite bottled barbecue sauce, and we’re all familiar with Sriracha!

Use a very large bowl to prepare the marinade. Obviously you can create whatever kind of marinade you want, if you make your own sauce or have bottled favorites. Personally, I’ve never liked commercial teriyaki sauce, but since I did taste this beef jerky and loved it, I’m going with golf buddy’s recipe.

The dry seasonings golf buddy recommends include onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. I used a lovely coffee and garlic spice mixture from Trader Joe’s that my friend gifted me. I thought it would be a great addition.

Submerge all of the strips of meat in the bowl of marinade. I transferred the meat to a 2 1/2 gallon zip-loc bag. Let the meat sit overnight or up got 3 days in the refrigerator.

Bring the meat close to room temperature, then place the pieces on foil-covered jelly-roll pans, without any strips overlapping.

Heat the oven to 180 – 200 degrees and place the pans of meat in the oven to dehydrate slightly for 30 – 45 minutes. I used my oven on convection bake at 180 degrees, and dried the meat out for a total of 1 hour. It helps to pat the marinade off of the meat before it goes in the oven also.

Pre-heat the smoker to 180-200 degrees F, and prepare hickory chips for the smoke. We use a Bradley electric smoker.

Following the dehydration step, place the meat on the smoker’s racks, greased, and smoke for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

This jerky is really flavorful and not overly dry like commercial jerky, which requires an extra set of teeth.

I’ve noticed that some marinade recipes for jerky include liquid smoke, which I personally don’t like. In those recipes, there isn’t a smoking step. So I must admit that I love the dehydrating and smoking combination to create this buffalo jerky.

If you’re not going to eat the jerky right away (be careful – it’s addictive!) then use a vacuum sealer and refrigerate or freeze.

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