How to Make Homemade Beef Jerky on Your Pit Boss Pellet Grill

After buying a Pit Boss pellet grill or smoker, after conquering the brisket and cooking the perfect slab of baby backs, many enthusiasts wonder how to make authentic beef jerky on their new grill. This article will walk you through the different cuts of beef that make the best jerky as well as some marinade recipes and best practices for smoking your meat low and slow. The end product should result in delicious, chewy, and flavorfully smoky beef jerky.

What is the best cut of meat for beef jerky?

When learning how to make beef jerky, it is important to select the right cut of lean beef. The right cut of beef makes all the difference when making great tasting jerky

It’s important to select a lean beef cut with as little fat as possible. Why? Because, fat can ruin and spoil the jerky. It becomes rancid over time. So, if you want jerky that will last as long as possible without spoiling, select a very lean cut of beef.

Lean beef cuts


The following cuts are the best to use for your jerky:

Eye of Round
The most popular cut for making jerky, this cut is located in the rear leg of the cow. It is very muscular so there is little if any interior fat. Any exterior fat can be easily trimmed off the meat.

Top Round

Top round is the inside muscle of the rear leg. It is less tender than the eye of round.
Bottom Round

The least tender of the “round” cuts.
Sirloin Tip

Slightly less tender than eye of round and a little more expensive.
Ground Beef

Ground beef is an interesting choice because it can make the jerky less hard to chew. However, it’s very important to choose a lean mix. Don’t expect the classic chewy, jerky texture, although your teeth might thank you.
Flank Steak

If you decide to use flank steak, make sure you slice it against the grain. Slicing with the grain will make the jerky far harder to chew than it normally is.
Wild Game

If you’re an outdoorsman or have a friend who just gave you a nice cache of elk or venison meat, you can use it as a beef substitute. Since wild game is usually extremely lean, it is a great option for jerky.

How much meat should I get?

A good rule of thumb is that 3 lbs of raw meat will yield about 1 lb of dried jerky.

Beef Jerky Marinade


There are many wonderful marinade recipes for beef jerky out there on the internet. Some common ingredients include:

  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Soy Sauce
  • Worchester Sauce
  • Garlic
  • Onion Powder
  • Hot sauce or hot peppers
  • BBQ Sauce

Choosing a marinade recipe just boils down to personal preference in terms of sweetness, spice, saltiness, etc.

Pro Tip: Try our Pit Boss Beef and Brisket Rub for a tasty blend of salt, peppers, sugar, herbs, onion, and natural smoky mesquite flavors. Perfect for a Beef Jerky Marinade!

Slicing the meat


Before you marinade, it is important to slice the beef. You can do this either by hand or with a good old fashion deli slicer, if you have one handy. Remember, slicing with the grain will result in chewier jerky and against will be more tender. Make sure your slices are as even as possible as well.

How long should I marinade the beef?

You should marinade your beef in a plastic bag or bowl and set it in a refrigerator for no less than 6 hours. Go as long as you like (without it spoiling) but 24 hours should be plenty. If your beef is marinating in a bag, be sure to mix it up in the bag every few hours to ensure the beef is sitting evenly in the marinade.

How to make jerky in a smoker?


Now that the beef has been bathing nicely in the marinade, it’s time to fire up the Pit Boss Grill. If you don’t have a Pit Boss Grill but are using a vertical smoker, or any other smoker, the same basic principles apply in terms of temperature and length of smoke.

  1. Set your Pit Boss to SMOKE and wait for it to reach 160°F-200°F. Any lower than 160°F and you might not dry the food fast enough before it spoils.
  2. Make sure your SearSlide™ Plate is closed to ensure indirect heating.
  3. Take the meat slices out of the marinade and place them on a cookie sheet. Dry each slice with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  4. Lay the meat down on your grill grates and spread evenly.
  5. Close the lid and let it smoke for 4-5 hours or until dry. The meat should be chewy (not crispy) and you should be able to flex it with medium effort.
  6. While the jerky is still warm, transfer it to a re-sealable bag and let it rest for 45 minutes to an hour at room temperature.
  7. Make sure there is no air in the bag and put it in the refrigerator. The jerky should last for 2-3 weeks.

More of a visual person?

Watch this Pit Boss owner nail his own homemade beef jerky:

Don’t have a Pit Boss yet?

A Pit Boss Wood Pellet Grill or Vertical Smoker can allow you to make homemade, smoky beef jerky a snap! With easy to use temperature control and wood fired flavor, you can treat yourself to a delicious protein packed snack any day of the week.

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