A simple recipe for a sugar-free keto beef jerky that you can make in your oven. There's no need to marinate the beef!
The spice mix and slow cooking are responsible for the jerky's great texture and amazing flavor.
Jerky is one of my favorite snacks. It's tasty and filling. But it's very difficult to find commercial brands that aren't made with lots of sugar.
This homemade recipe is not only chewier and tastier than many commercial versions. It's also made with no sugar. Apart from thinly slicing the beef, it's quite easy to make. It's a simple recipe, made with just a few basic ingredients. Ever since I learned how to make it, I rarely buy commercial jerky.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make keto beef jerky. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Flank steak: This is a tough cut but it has a great beef flavor. Slow cooking tenderizes it, and as explained in more detail below, it's really important to slice it against the grain.
To season: I use kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder. You can definitely experiment with using other spices.
How to make keto beef jerky? It's surprisingly easy. Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Your first step is to slice the beef thinly against the grain. This means finding the direction of the muscle fibers, then slicing against them, not alongside them. Cutting into the muscle fibers makes the meat easier to chew.
Once you have your slices, they're probably a bit too thick for jerky. So take each one and slice it lengthwise in half into a thinner strip, as shown in the video below. This is much easier to do with partially frozen meat.
Assuming your meat was partially frozen, now you should let the slices rest for a bit - around 15 minutes - and soften. Now, cover the meat strips with cling wrap and use a meat pounder to pound the meat strips thin.
The next step is to toss the meat slices with salt, pepper, and spices. Then, arrange the seasoned beef slices on two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets.
To turn these beef slices into jerky, you bake them for 3 hours at 225°F, then cool them for around 30 minutes on cooling racks.
Slicing each meat strip lengthwise into a thinner strip is quite challenging unless your meat is partially frozen - then it's easy, as you can see in the video.
That's why I use frozen meat when making this recipe. I let it partially defrost in the fridge overnight. Typically after 12 hours it's not yet fully defrosted, but it's pliable enough that I can unfold the steak, slice it into strips, and then - quite easily - slice each of those into two thinner strips.
Before the next step, which is pounding the meat thin, I allow the slices to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes or so, to ensure that they are soft enough to be pounded thin.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! It totally gives you the pleasurable experience of eating dried, chewy, very flavorful beef strips that take a long time to chew.
You don't need a special smoker or dehydrator. You can use your oven on low heat. Granted, the result will be jerky that needs refrigeration since not all the moisture is removed this way.
But it also means this homemade jerky is better tasting and has a better texture than completely dried-up meat strips.
You could, but it's not mandatory, and I don't. I simply slice it, season it, then bake it in the oven.
No. As mentioned above, there's enough moisture in it that you should treat it as any cooked meat and keep it refrigerated.
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. If you'd like to experiment, you can do so with the spices you use. I like to use garlic powder and chili powder, but there are several more spices that you can try, including smoked paprika, cumin, and onion powder.
This tasty snack is excellent all on its own. But sometimes I use it as a dipper for cheese fondue. It's really good!
The only drawback compared to commercial products is that this homemade beef jerky does require refrigeration. You should keep it in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days.
When I pack it to go, I use an insulated lunch box with ice packs and consume it within two hours. Here are some tips from the USDA on food storage.
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Sugar-Free Keto Beef Jerky
- 1.5 lb. flank steak partially frozen*
- 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- Preheat your oven to 225 degrees F. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Unfold the steak and place it on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the beef crosswise, against the grain (so that you sever the tough, thin fibers that you can see on the steak) into 2-inch-wide strips.
- You want the strips to be around ⅛-inch thick, so if they are thicker, slice each strip lengthwise into two thinner, ⅛-inch-thick strips. This is easier to do if the meat is partially frozen.*
- Allow the meat strips to rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes so that they fully defrost and become more pliable. Then arrange them in a single layer on a cutting board, cover them with cling wrap, and use a meat pounder to pound them so that they are thinner and more even in thickness.
- Place the beef strips in a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, and spices and toss with your hands until the meat is thoroughly coated.
- Arrange the meat pieces on the two prepared baking sheets, not touching each other. Bake for 3 hours, rotating the position of the baking sheets midway, until the beef is browned and dry. The smell will be amazing!
- Remove the strips to a cooling rack placed on a tray or on foil (to catch any drips). Allow to cool and dry for about 30 minutes before enjoying. Refrigerate any leftovers. They're delicious straight out of the fridge.