Beef Jerky

DIY jerky is the perfect outdoorsy snack
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Beef Jerky
Photo: Rachel Vanni/Tasting Table

This June, join us as we defy the confines of the kitchen and look outside. If you need us, we'll be exploring the Great Outdoors.

These aren’t your average sticks of beef jerky: To make these flavorful strips, Kevin Hickey, chef of Bottlefork in Chicago, marinates shreds of skirt steak in soy sauce, chile flakes and soda before drying. The result is a sweet, salty and spicy jerky that is the perfect snack to take on any outdoor adventure.

In theory, you’re turning your oven into a dehydrator by cooking the beef low and slow for six hours. While this is the main drying time, cooling the meat completely is what finishes the drying process. Make sure the jerky is completely cool before putting it away in a container, or the moisture will reconstitute the jerky, ruining its shelf stability.

Beef Jerky

Recipe adapted from Kevin Hickey, Bottlefork, Chicago, IL

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours, plus cooling time

Total Time: 6 hours and 15 minutes, plus cooling time


1 cup soy sauce

1¼ cups Dr Pepper® soda

2½ tablespoons honey

2½ tablespoons crushed red chile flakes

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

½ tablespoon garlic powder

½ tablespoon ground cumin

1 pound skirt steak


1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients, except the skirt steak, until incorporated.

2. Cut the skirt steak into 8-inch-long slabs, and then slice against the grain for ¼-inch-thick slices. Using a mallet, pound the slices to a ⅙-inch thickness. Add the sliced steak to the bowl and marinate overnight.

3. The next day, preheat the oven to 175º. Remove the steak slices from the marinade, shaking off any excess marinade. Divide the slices between 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets, each fitted with a wire rack. Transfer the baking sheets to the oven and cook until dehydrated, 6 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Eat or store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

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