Homemade Beef Jerky and the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smokehouse

This Homemade Beef Jerky recipe is easy and delicious…it makes for a great snack when you’re on the run!

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Homemade Beef JerkyLast weekend was awesome!  College football kicked off last weekend, and the NFL season kicks off this weekend.  I spent the better part of last Saturday watching college football…and I couldn’t have been happier!  In addition to having the game on, I also made a batch of Homemade Beef Jerky.  What better way to celebrate the return of tailgate season than with some tasty smoked meat?  I used Masterbuilt’s Digital Electric Smokehouse to smoke the jerky, and the entire process was incredibly easy.  Marinate the meat.  Put it into the racks in the smoker.  Shut the door.  Turn it on.  Sit back and watch the game while the meat smokes.  The only thing I had to do was occasionally load a new handful of wood chips into the smoker…which was easily done in about 30 seconds.  Talk about smoking made easy!

Masterbuilt Digital Electric SmokehouseIn breaking in the new smoker, I decided to go with a recipe from John McLemore’s latest book “Dadgum That’s Good, Too.” John wrote this book with the Masterbuilt smoker in mind, and a whole section of his recipes are dedicated to smoked foods.  As soon as I flipped to the Homemade Beef Jerky page, I knew what recipe I would be making…and I wasn’t disappointed at all!  After marinating the beef overnight, I loaded it into the smoker the next morning.  About 4 hours later, I was enjoying some delicious smoked jerky while watching the game.  (While I used a beef roast from the market, you could easily substitute in wild game like venison.  With hunting season approaching, I know some of my friends will be lining up to borrow this smoker so they can make their own tasty treats!)

Masterbuilt Digital Electric SmokehouseOne really cool feature of this smoker is the fact that it comes with a remote control.  That’s right, I can monitor the temperature and time remaining all from my sofa inside.  (I could even start and stop the entire smoker with the remote if I wanted to!)  I can imagine how handy this remote will be when I’m doing other things around the house or in the kitchen.

Masterbuilt Digital Electric SmokehouseAll in all, I found the Masterbuilt Smokehouse ingeniously designed and easy to use.  The grease trap and wood chip loader are both external to the unit, so once the door shuts, it can stay shut until your meat is done.  (If you’ve ever smoked meats before, you know how important it is to maintain a steady temperature inside the smoker.)  The controls on the smoker itself are simple to use, and the remote just makes it that much easier!

This smoker is a great addition to my grilling toolkit.  It’s large enough to be able to smoke a substantial amount of meat, but still small enough to be portable.  I foresee many more Autumn weekends of football and smoked meats in the near future.  I also noticed some recipes for smoked side dishes like peppers, onions, and even cabbage.  Now if only I could decide what meats to smoke during tomorrow’s games….and yes, I am already planning how to smoke my turkey for Thanksgiving this year!

"Dadgum That's Good, Too!" by John McLemoreClick here to learn more about the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smokehouse!

Looking for more jerky recipes?  Try this Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe, too!

Homemade Beef Jerky

Homemade Beef Jerky

This Homemade Beef Jerky recipe is easy and delicious…it makes for a great snack when you’re on the run!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 8 hours
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 199kcal



  • Slice roasts into 1/4" strips. (Freezing the roasts for about 30 minutes before slicing will make this easier.)
  • In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, kosher salt, brown sugar, molasses, hot sauce, and onion powder. Heat over medium heat until boiling. Reduce heat and stir. Cool to room temperature and add 1 can of Coca-Cola.
  • Place strips of meat into glass casserole dish and pour marinade over each layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. (If meat is not entirely covered with marinade, then turn meat at least once.)
  • Remove meat from marinade and pat dry.
  • Preheat smoker to 180F degrees. Fill water pan with remaining can of Coca-Cola, 1/2 cup water, and 2 Tbsp minced garlic. Sprinkle meat strips generously with Jane's Krazy salt and place meat directly on middle and top racks of smoker. Do not let strips touch.
  • Smoke for 3.5 hours, adding soaked wood chips as necessary. Check for doneness: meat should be a dark color inside and out.
  • Let cool. Store in a resealable bag in refrigerator or freeze up to 3 months.


Recipe courtesy John McLemore and "Dadgum That's Good, Too!"

Disclosure: Masterbuilt provided the Digital Electric Smokehouse and a copy of John McLemore’s book at no charge, but all opinions are my own.

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  1. Boy, does that Smoker jump up and yell, “Buy me for the Man Cave!” [Remember Ladies, Smoked Beef and Bacon are to men what CHOCOLATE is to women.] My husband would love one of these.

    I have a neighbor who recently built an outdoor man cave, er, shed, and I could see him putting one of these out there.

    And what guy doesn’t love a remote control. Too cool!!

    1. Ummm, as a woman who is getting a Masterbuilt, i’m a bit excited for this too. It’s not just a man’s world on this one. 🙂

      1. You are absolutely right, Christi! I’ve had a number of female readers who love this smoker. I hope you enjoy it as much as they (and I) do! 🙂 In fact, I just had some smoked ham out of this smoker…and it turned out amazing! Happy Holidays!

        1. Awesome! Thanks so much for commenting, Debbie. Nothing beats a batch of beef jerky in the winter…especially when it’s homemade. Happy (early) New Year! 🙂

          1. Mine is being delivered today! My hubby is not allowed to use ANY kitchen/cooking items, as it is always a ddsaster. IE, he burned up my microwve.

            Can’t wait to get smokin’!!

  2. Hey, wake up and smell the present day. Single women have “women caves” and remote controls too! I bought one of these too and I totally love it!!!!! As a gadget girl I love remote controls, robotics and the latest in technology, especially fun things and toys. I even own a remote control pool skimmer that looks like a boat, fire place insert with remote control, fake flames and real heat, you name it. Now I’m happy to say I own a Masterbuilt digital remote control smoker on my porch that has already smoked two briskets, turkey, beer chicken, ribs and now jerky and it’s only been three weekends. My co-workers love my new smoker too because they get to taste test for me.

    1. I agree with you 100%, Michele! My wife absolutely loves using the digital smoker, too! And I share your love of remote controls. Sometimes I get a bit confused about which remote goes to which gadget…but that’s a good problem to have, right? Sounds like you’ve been smoking away the past couple of weekends. It’s still a bit cold up here in upstate New York, but I plan to get the smoker going again in another couple of weeks here. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!!

  3. I’m using our Masterbuilt smoker today to make beef jerky. I started with a five lb. eye of round roast with absolutely no fat on it. I used a super sharp filet knife to cut it into about 1/4 ” slices and marinated it overnight in Allegro liquid marinade. I’ll sprinkle the slices lightly with a mixture of coarsely ground black pepper and garlic powder prior to putting in in the smoker. I don’t have hickory chips, so I’m using Applewood – I hope the results are good. However, I usually only use Applewood for pork.

    BTW: I am female, and I know my way around grills, smokers, and the country!!!

    My four teenage Grandchildren anxiously await trying this jerky, as I’ve made lots of jerky, just never in an electric smoker. Suggestions???

    1. Hey Nonnie! Thanks so much for stopping by…and I’m totally jealous that you have a batch of this jerky going today. 🙂 Makes me want to get out there and get a batch started myself! It sounds like you have a pretty good start so far. (I agree that I also use applewood with pork, but I don’t think it will make that big of a difference!) My best recommendation is just to keep an eye on the soaked wood chips…you will likely have to pull the tray out and add more several times throughout the process. (And be careful when you do…that tray gets hot!) I really hope the jerky turns out tasty for you!! Let me know what you think!

      1. I asked Frank, the mgr at my local HEB, the same thing when I bought a 3.3 lb. top round roast today to make jerky and he told me that they couldn’t slice it thin enough. I have an electric slicer so I’m doing the job myself. Always had the butcher do it before but I wasn’t going to argue with him on this point.

  4. Ya I got a master built smoker and its about the coolest thing I’ve ever owned. I got mine on special form the qvc channel and used it the day it arrived. I believe all relationships begin as they mean to go on so the first thing I made was ribs and chicken wings. The ribs were the best I’ve ever made so I was quite pleased. The smoker itself it simple to assemble and use I only wish the wood tray was a little bigger but at least its easy to fill. So in summery get this smoker it RULES!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Alex! I also love this smoker. It’s so easy to pull out and get a batch of awesome ribs going. And now I’m inspired by your wings…I’ll have to smoke a batch of chicken wings soon! I agree that the wood tray is a bit small, but I usually just keep an eye on it and refill it a couple of times with soaked wood throughout. Have a great day!

      1. For chicken wings because they are small I would suggest a higher temp for less time than ribs as they can dry out. I will say though smoked wings with home made Buffalo sauce, magical.

        1. Ok, cool. Thanks for the tip on the chicken wings, Alex! And I totally agree with you about homemade Buffalo sauce…nothing beats it!

  5. I have made large batch smoked beef jerky at the restaurant. I’d like to try it at home on my MES. However, I’m concerned it won’t produce smoke at 150 or below. (temp I’ve always done it at) How do you over come this? Tips tricks would be welcome, thanks!

    1. Hey Lesa! Great question about smoking temp. I’ve never made this beef jerky at 150° (I typically go around 180°), so I don’t have any personal experiences here. However, as long as your wood is soaked well (and then drained, of course) you should be ok. I know at 180°, I have to add more wood chips occasionally…so I would think they would at least smoke well at 150°F. When in doubt, just give it a shot! You could always bump up the temperature just slightly if you realize the wet chips aren’t smoking at 150°. I hope this helps! If you do end up making it, come back and let me know…I’m always game for learning a new trick or two. 🙂

    2. To combat the problem of smoking at or below 180 ° f, I purchased an awesome little attachment called the masterbuilt cold smoking kit. It attaches dirrectly to the existing wood chip hole on any size or style of masterbuilt electric smoker, and will allow you to produce tons of smoke at Temps of 100° f and below.. I initially bought this to do smoked cheeses (which are awesome ), but quickly discovered that it was far more convenient even at higher temps, as you only need to add wood every 3-4 hours. I got mine at cabellas for ~$60 on sale.

      1. Interesting! I haven’t heard about the Masterbuilt Cold Smoking Kit…but now I totally want to get one. I’d love to make smoked cheese. I wonder if you could use that to make cold-smoked salmon, too? Thanks for the heads up, Crislipm!

        1. You absolutely can, the tricky part is the brine and cure process that goes on before the smoke itself (assuming you are going for lox style). This can take up to 14 days. I have done it, and the results are awesome, and about 25% the cost of store bought. Due to the time investment, I usually do this in large (ish) batches around the holidays for when family arrives.

          1. Correction to my last post. It was supposed to be 1-4 days, not 14 days. Sorry for the typo.

          2. Awesome! At one point, I went and read up on cold smoking, but then I guess I just got distracted and never got back around to it. Now you’ve totally inspired me to give it a shot! And thanks for the correction there…14 days sounded like a really long time. haha!

  6. Thanks David! I just got a Masterbuilt for Christmas yesterday and after reading this article, I believe I’ll be breaking it in with some jerky this weekend! Cheers!

    1. Awesome! Congrats on getting this awesome smoker for Christmas! Beef jerky is definitely one of my favorite things to make with it. A friend just used his Masterbuilt for smoking a ham (He used a pre-cooked ham, but then he smoked it for flavor), and it turned out great. Have fun experimenting with different recipes! Happy Holidays!!

  7. we bought our Masterbuilt smoker in August of this year. We have smoked ribs, chicken, turkey, prime rib, and an eager to try the beef jerky. I can’t wait to do a pulled pork after reading recipes.we have a large smoker we tow behind the truck for big events but this is perfect for the backyard and wonderful wonderful flavor.I also bought John La mores cookbook and recommend that to everyone who owns a Masterbuilt smoker or who BBQs a lot.

    1. Pulled pork is one of my go-to smoking recipes, Daunita! It freezes well, too, so we always keep a bunch in the freezer packed in enough for 1-2 night servings. Nothing beats enjoying a pulled pork sandwich on a cold winter night…it almost makes it feel like summer! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by my site…I really appreciate it! I hope you have a great rest of the holidays and a Happy New Year!

  8. Thanks for the info Dave,
    I got a 30″ Masterbuilt last week. Smoke a full 11lb Packer Brisket for our Christmas get together.Came out awesome! I have my deer jerky marinading now going to get it in this afternoon.

    1. No problem, Nick! Just hearing you talk about the brisket and deer jerky is making my mouth water. I hope you enjoy the smoker as much as we do…it’s pretty awesome! Thanks so much for stopping by my site…I really appreciate it! Have a great rest of the holidays and a Happy New Year!

      1. Btw… Turkey jerky is a go to this time of year. When the turkeys drop to 50 or 60 cents a lb, I buy something like 9 or 10 and break them down. I use the thighs for gumbo, but the rest gets smoked. The breast get used for jerky and the legs gets turned into super bowl party smoked turkey legs( putting 15-20 smoked turkey legs on the table really goes over well).

        1. Now that is an awesome idea! Pretty soon here, turkeys will be crazy cheap…but I’ve never thought about making turkey jerky. I usually use chicken thighs in my gumbo, but turkey would totally work, too. And the legs? That is perfect for the Super Bowl! Thanks for the ideas and suggestions…I hope your holidays are going well! 🙂

  9. I purchased my smoker a month ago and I love it. I cooked the Christmas ham in it as well a chicken ribs and deer shoulder. So far everything has been excellent. I am amazed at how juicy everything is. I have deer jerky in it right now.

    1. I just had a friend use the smoker for Christmas ham, too, Cheryl! He brought me over a little bit to taste, and it was amazing. I’m definitely planning on picking up a ham when they go on sale after the holidays…smoked ham sandwiches sounds like a delicious lunch for mid-January, right? 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by and for commenting, too…I really appreciate it! Happy New Year!

  10. The only problem I see with my new 40″ 200 Series smoker is the size of the smoke tube and pan. You can’t lad enough in it to leave it 3-4 hours without reloading it. Also my unit came without a remote. I made the fatal mistake of assuming that it would come with. Is there a after market remote I can buy?

  11. Thanks for sharing this recipe! It is so cool that you can make beef jerky to eat at any time. However, I don’t have that smoker, so I can’t make beef jerky myself. I’ll just have to find some really good jerky that I can buy!

  12. I just tried this recipe and the jerky is awesome. I was just wondering if the refrigeration is necessary. Wouldn’t it keep fine at room temp?

    1. Hey Brian! So glad you liked this recipe…it is indeed delicious, and your comment reminds me that I should make some more soon. You do not need to refrigeration the jerky, but if you plan on keeping it around more than 2 weeks, then you should store it in the freezer. Enjoy!

  13. Bought my MES 40″ (1st gen) last week and currently have the sirloin strips marinating in your recipe (although swapped coke for Dr Pepper and added an extra spoon of hot sauce!). Can’t wait to get them in the smoker tomorrow morning and even more looking forward to eating them!

    1. Dr Pepper would be a tasty switch there, Matt! I’ll have to give that a shot next time I make jerky. Speaking of that, I haven’t made any in a while…I might need to get the smoker out soon! I hope the jerky turns out great for you today! 🙂

    1. Hey Jerry! I often use mesquite smoked wood chips, but this is totally a personal choice. Cherry and apple wood are both great options as well. Play around with different ones to see which flavor you like the most. And I hope you enjoy the jerky!

  14. Smoked like a charm..i use pellets and chips..becareful with chips not too many at a time..last weekend i smoked 4 5lb whole chickens and 8 sausages no issue at one time..u can easily do 3-4 racks of ribs..cutting is required if u cut them into 5-6 bone length u can get 2-3 per rack..now i need to order the stand:)

    1. Awesome! I’m so glad this worked for you, Terry! Sounds like you are definitely ready for the stand…you’ve got quite the smoking operation going on over there. Thank you so much for coming back to comment, too. Have a great day…and happy smoking! 🙂

  15. I was actually just looking at that book on Amazon a few days ago and was thinking of getting it as I have a Masterbuilt myself. Beef jerky is actually one thing that I’ve never made with the smoker because I’m the only beef eater in the house – this looks like a pretty good recipe, might end up investing in that book yet.

    1. It’s a good book for sure, John! It’s kinda fun to make your own beef jerky, too. And the good news is it lasts a while…so that means more snacks for you, right? 🙂 Thanks so much for leaving a comment! Happy smoking!

    1. Hey Dave, you’re absolutely right! You could ask the butcher to slice the sirloin for you. However, that freezing tip works pretty darn well, too. Either way, I hope you enjoy the jerky! Happy Memorial Day! 🙂

  16. I also am a woman smoker. My husband purchased my Masterbuilt 30 inch Smoker. I have made ribs, beer can chicken, beef jerky. I love it… My next project is smoking salmon. My friends think it is complicated but it is so easy just start it and relax. I check the wood chips from time to time..

    1. We love this smoker, too…it’s been running quite a bit lately now that the weather is nice again. Smoking salmon is indeed much easier than people think…and it’s so impressive to make. My wife has been begging me to make smoked salmon, so maybe I’ll have to get some going soon. Thanks so much for your comment, Andrea!

  17. Planning to do 5# of moose ground jerky. Can I keep temp low enough so as to not cook it? Have a nifty “caulk-type” gun to squeeze out strips. How long does ground meat take to dry?

    1. Hey Jim! That’s a really great question. I’ve never made ground meat jerky, but I have read about it online before. Unfortunately, I can’t answer your question though since I’ve never used this smoker for anything but ‘regular’ jerky. I did a quick Google search, and found this: http://gnowfglins.com/2010/01/20/not-so-tough-jerky/

      It looks like that recipe uses a dehydrator at 145-150°F for 12-18 hours. This smoker does go all the way down to 100°, so it could smoke at that range. Might be worth giving it a shot with a test batch? If you do, come back and let me know. Now I’m curious about trying out a batch of ground jerky myself! Thanks!!

  18. I have a Masterbuilt smoker, although not this one…mine doesn’t have the window. Got it about a month & a half ago.

    We’ve made a few things including 2 rounds of beef jerky, a brisket, and recently “Bacon wrapped turkey breast” for Thanksgiving, which was awesome!

    The wife is outside putting in the latest project now…she got her hands on some deer meat & she’s making a go of Venison Jerky. If it turns out as awesomely as everything else has, it’ll be great.

    1. Hey, Scott! You know, I think my friend might have the same Masterbuilt smoker as you as his doesn’t have the window either. We were actually down visiting him for Thanksgiving, and he made a smoked turkey breast. Woah! That was delicious. But wrapping it in bacon sounds even more impressive. I bet that was one heck of a Thanksgiving meal! I hope the jerky turned out well yesterday, and thanks so much for leaving a comment!

  19. I just purchased my first, only and last smoker, the masterbuilt signature series. I as well as my family and friends are highly impressed. I cannot get enough of this beautiful tool.. Thank you to my mom and dad for the best birthday gift ever.

    1. Hey Mike! I’m glad you got this smoker…and it sounds like you enjoy it as much as we do. We just smoked some salmon and ham last week…delicious! Happy smoking, my friend! And thanks so much for leaving a comment here. 🙂

    1. Why thank you very much, Ted! I often keep several different kinds of wood chips around. My favorites are the fruity ones (like cherry or apple), but mesquite is right up there, too. It just depends on my mood that day! 🙂

      1. Looks like a great recipe for beef jerky; I bet it turned out great. Apple is probably my favorite wood to smoke with overall, but with beef jerky, I’ve always stuck with hickory. I really like the flavor it gives my jerky.

        1. Thanks so much, Tom! This beef jerky recipe really is quite delicious, and I agree with you about hickory wood…it’s one of my favorite flavors to add whenever I get the smoker out!

  20. I love our smoker and I have one question what is the Janes Krazy Salt recipe? I have both of John McLemore’s books and I can’t find it? will you post it please?

    1. Hey Maureen! So Jane’s Krazy Salt is actually a brand. It’s fairly readily available in our area, but check out their website (http://janeskrazy.com/c/products/) and click on ‘Store Finder.’ It’s also available on Amazon (https://amzn.to/3l8ycrR). Finally, another blogger shared her copycat recipe for it – I can’t speak to this recipe as I haven’t tried it, but making your own blend is another option – https://barefeetinthekitchen.com/crazy-salt/. I hope this helps!!

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