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

After completing your big hunting trip this year, it’s time to put your Pit Boss® Pellet Grill or Smoker to work so you can enjoy the delicious fruits to your labor. What better way to prepare the meat from your hunt than with a perfect batch of jerky?

This article will take you through the different cuts of meat make the best jerky, as well as some marinade recipes. Or, you can use our tasty and convenient Pit Boss Jerky Kits, featuring 3 brand new flavors: Hickory, Sweet Heat, and Peppered.

jerky kits

What is the best cut of meat for beef jerky?

When learning how to make jerky, it is important to select the right cut of lean meat, as it makes all the difference when making great-tasting jerky. By selecting a meat cut with as little fat as possible, your jerky will keep its integrity and taste for longer and will protect against spoiling.
If you are an outdoorsman, or just have a friend who gave you a nice cache of elk or venison meat, you are in a great position to make your own homemade jerky, since wild game is typically extremely lean.

Lean beef cuts

If beef is your preference, the following cuts are best to use for 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


When your meat is prepared, you’ll next need to bring it to life with the perfect marinade. Whole there are many wonderful marinade recipes available , the most 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 Jerky Marinade!

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 six hours. Go as long as you like (without it spoiling), but 24 hours should be plenty. If your meat is marinating in a bag, be sure to mix it up in the bag every few hours to ensure it is sitting evenly in the marinade.

How to make jerky in a smoker


After your meat is marinated, it’s time to fire up your Pit Boss Grill or Vertical Smoker

  1. Set your Pit Boss to SMOKE and wait for it to reach 160° -200°F. Any lower than 160°F and you might not dry the food fast enough before it spoils.
  2. If using a grill, make sure your Flame Broiler Lever™ 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- 1 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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