Budget-Friendly Homemade Ground Beef Jerky Recipe

Budget-Friendly Homemade Ground Beef Jerky Recipe

Budget Friendly Ground Beef Jerky Recipe

Beef jerky is a popular snack for preppers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Its long shelf life, high protein content, and portability make it a great option for emergency food supplies or a quick energy boost on hiking trips.

However, store-bought beef jerky can be quite expensive, especially if you are looking for high-quality options. Fortunately, you can easily make your own ground beef jerky at home without breaking the bank.

In this article, we will share a budget-friendly ground beef jerky recipe that is both delicious and economical.


  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper for a spicier flavor


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Make sure the spices are evenly distributed throughout the ground beef.
  2. Place the mixture in a ziplock bag or airtight container and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. This will allow the flavors to meld together and enhance the taste of the beef jerky.
  3. Prepare a food dehydrator or preheat your oven to 175°F (80°C).
  4. If using a dehydrator, line the trays with parchment paper to prevent the ground beef from falling through the cracks. If using an oven, place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and place the meat on the rack.
  5. Using clean hands, take small portions of the marinated ground beef and flatten them into thin strips, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Place the strips of ground beef on the dehydrator trays or the wire rack in the oven, making sure they don’t overlap.
  7. Depending on the thickness of the beef, dehydrate or bake for 4 to 6 hours, or until the beef jerky is firm and dry, but still pliable. You can test the jerky by bending it – it should not break but should have a slight give.
  8. Once the beef jerky is done, remove it from the dehydrator or oven and let it cool completely.
  9. Store the beef jerky in an airtight container or resealable bags to maintain its freshness.

Now that you have your homemade budget-friendly ground beef jerky, here are a few tips to make the most of it:

  • Rotate your stock – Beef jerky has a long shelf life, but it is still important to periodically check and rotate your emergency food supplies. Use and replace your beef jerky every six months to ensure its quality.
  • Portion control – While beef jerky is an excellent source of protein, it is also high in sodium. To prevent excessive sodium intake, portion out the beef jerky and enjoy it in moderation.
  • Experiment with flavors – The recipe we provided is a basic one, but you can get creative and add your favorite seasonings, such as smoked paprika, chili powder, or even a hint of maple syrup for a touch of sweetness. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your own signature flavor.
  • Jerky as a seasoning – Ground beef jerky can be crumbled and used as a seasoning in various dishes. Add it to soups, stews, or even pasta sauces to enhance the flavor and add a protein boost.
  • Make it a family activity – Making ground beef jerky can be a fun family activity. Get your kids involved in the process of mixing the marinade, flattening the beef strips, and monitoring the dehydration. It’s a great way to teach them about self-sufficiency and food preparation skills.

My 2 Cents

Making your own ground beef jerky is not only cost-effective but also allows you to control the quality of the ingredients used. Store-bought jerky often contains preservatives and additives that are not ideal for long-term consumption.

With this simple and budget-friendly recipe, you can enjoy the satisfaction of making your own delicious and nutritious beef jerky while saving money in the process. Plus, by making it yourself, you can customize the flavors to suit your taste preferences.

So, why not give it a try? Whip up a batch of homemade ground beef jerky and enjoy this tasty and protein-packed snack whenever you’re on the go!