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How to Make Jerky in a Home Oven

By far the easiest way to make homemade jerky is to use a dehydrator.   However, if for whatever reason, you don’t have a dehydrator or don’t want to purchase one, then making jerky in a home oven is an option.

The preparation process is basically the same with the main difference being in the drying process.

  • Purchase a good cut of lean meat
  • Trim the fat
  • Marinade
  • Slice
  • Dehydrate / Dry
Oven Temperature

When making jerky in a home over, we’ve seen oven temperatures vary any where from 165 degrees to 250 degrees. While you certainly wouldn’t want to use anything any lower than 165 degrees (not hot enough to kill bacteria) nor anything higher than 250 degrees (makes it too tough), our opinion would be to use a temperature somewhere in between…. say 175 – 200 degrees. After all the heat is not intended to ‘cook’ the meat but rather to ‘evaporate the moisture’.

Note:  A gas oven works much better for this than an electric one.


Oven temperature, humidity and thickness of the meat slices will determine how long you will need to process your jerky in the oven. Once you have the meat prepared – all of the fat trimmed off, marinated, and sliced – you are ready to proceed.

Place the meat slices on wire racks that are sitting on foil lined baking sheets – eliminates a messy clean-up. Slices should be placed at least 1/4 inch apart – no touching. Then place the prepared jerky strips – uncovered – into a pre-heated oven.

This process can take anywhere from two (2) to six (6) hours depending on the variables previously mentioned. Check the consistency regularly – particularly after 5 hours . . . or sooner if your strips are very thinly sliced. Checking can be done by cutting into one of the pieces of jerky to see if it is still raw inside. You are looking for your jerky to be a nice deep brown or burgundy color.

Tip: When making jerky in a home oven, use two (2) wooden spoons to hold the oven door slightly open. This will help ensure that your jerky dehydrates and does not scald or boil in it’s own liquids. Keeping the vent fan on will help eliminate some of the heat from the room.

For those planning on making jerky only once in a while, this is an acceptable option – if steps are followed making sure the jerky is properly dried. However, if plans are to make jerky frequently, your best investment is a dedicated dehydrator.   For more information on how to choose the best dehydrator, visit this link.

And, for the best jerky you’ll ever make – get your copy of Perfect Jerky. Not only will you get step-by-step directions . . . you’ll also get Free – Jerky Marinade Recipes to make at home and Great Dessert Recipes perfect for any occasion.



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