Pepper Crusted Pineapple Jerky

Jerky is the perfect snack food IMHO. It has a long shelf life, a great source of protein, travels well, and is utterly delicious.

Today I’m going to share with you a couple very easy ways to make delicious jerky at home with my personal pepper crusted jerky recipe. The techniques are simple to follow and there’s a decent chance you have most of what you will need already.

Preparing the Meat

Choosing the right cut of meat is extremely important when making high quality jerky. I would recommend using top round, eye of round, or bottom round as they are great lean cuts to use and are very flavorful. What ever cut you choose, just make sure it’s lean with little to no marbling. Fat can go rancid which could possibly ruin your jerky.

When it comes to slicing the meat you can either slice the strips with the grain or against the grain. The choice is completely a personal preference. If you like a tender bite you will want to slice against the grain, and if you prefer a more chewy bite you will want to slice with the grain. Finally the thickness of the slice shouldn’t be too big. I personally like a 1/4 inch (6mm) slice but you can go a little bigger or smaller if you prefer. Just make sure your slices are around the same size so that they can dry evenly.

Preparing the Marinade

When it comes to making jerky, you can get completely wild with the flavors. Just remember that your meat will lose 75% of it’s moisture and whatever flavorings you add will concentrate during the drying time. The recipe that I wrote out for you today produces a very balanced middle of the road jerky. It’s got a very nice acidity with a sweetness that plays well with the savory BBQ Smoky elements. Use this recipe as a base and adjust as you see fit.

I do want to add that meat will naturally absorb liquid so I tend to add a total of 1/2 cup of liquids per pound of meat (along with my spices). This ensures that most if not all of your liquid gets absorbed by the meat and you’re not leaving any of those delicious flavors behind

When you add the marinade to the meat, it’s important to give the meat a good mix. Be sure to really separate all of the meat pieces in the marinade so they they can all get evenly coated. Once you feel it’s been well mixed, cover and refrigerate for 8-24 hours (I personally let mine marinate for 16 hours). Sometime during this process (usually around 4-5 hours into it) I’ll take the beef out and give it another mix. It’s optional but it ensures that the meat and the marinade get’s evenly incorporated.

Drying the meat

One easy way to dry your meat when making jerky, is in your home oven. Simply preheat your oven to it’s lowest setting (175-200f), place your marinated jerky pieces on a drying rack on a baking sheet (ensuring that they don’t overlap), then place the meat in your oven (making sure you leave the door to your oven slightly open). This will help the excess moisture escape and allow your jerky to dry out evenly. I have used this method many times and although it works great there are a few downsides.

For starters you are highly limited on space. If you only make 1 or 2 pounds of jerky then it’s not that big of a deal but if plan on making 10 pounds of jerky, the oven method will literally take you several days as you run the jerky in batches. The other issue is temperature control. Oven’s are generally not designed to cook at very low temperatures so you might find it difficult to get your oven to the required low temperature. With that being said though, if you have an oven that has a low option and you only make small batches of jerky at a time, this oven method might be a perfect inexpensive way for you to dry your meat.

Another way is by using a dehydrator. This method is a lot more efficient, as dehydrators are able to heat at low temperatures with a constant fan blowing against the food. This allows you to dry the meat in a more precisely controlled environment which tends to produce a better product.

Using a dehydrator also gives you lots of space to dry your meat. Dehydrators come with several shelves (depending on the model that you have) and you can stack these shelve vertically, drastically increasing the amount of jerky you can make at one time. 7 years ago we bought 2 dehydrators and we still use them to this day. We use a 5 tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator and a 9 tray Excalibur dehydrator. They are both well built and a worthy investment.

Enjoy the video and the recipe where I take you through the entire process of makin beef jerky. If you have any questions let me know..

Here are a few things you might find useful when making beef Jerky

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4.84 from 6 votes

Pepper Crusted Pineapple Jerky

Deliciously sweet and savory jerky with a pepper crust
Prep Time16 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time5 hrs
Total Time21 hrs 30 mins

Ingredients

For the pepper crust

  • fresh cracked black pepper add as much as you like

Instructions

Prepare the beef

  • Start by partially freezing your beef (Top Round, Eye of Round, or Bottom Round make good cuts for beef jerky)
  • Clean the beef of all silver skin and fat
  • Slice the semi frozen beef pieces in 1/4 inch (6mm) slices. If you want extra tender pieces slice the meat against the grain. If you want extra chewy pieces slice with the grain. Try to keep the slices of meat as even as possible.
  • Weigh out your cleaned and prepared meat to the amount called for in this recipe.
  • For the marinade, combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk.
  • Add the marinade to the meat and mix well. Be sure to fully separate all of the meat pieces so that the marinade will completely absorb into all of the meat evenly
  • cover and refrigerate for 8-24 hours. About half way through be sure to give the meat another good mix. This ensures that everything is distributed evenly. (I generally let the meat marinate for 16 hours)

If you plan on drying the meat in your oven

  • remove the marinated beef from the refrigerator and place the strips of meat onto a drying rack on a bake pan.
  • Preheat your oven to it's lowest setting 170f – 200f (77c – 93c). Once preheated, place the trays of beef in the oven and partially close the door. I keep my oven door open about 2-3 inches during this process.
  • After 4-5 hours check to see their doneness. If they are dry and pliable (you will notice slight creases form when you bend it) they are finished. They should bend like a green branch. Easy to bend but won't snap. If they are still too wet leave them in for longer. Monitor every 30 minutes at this point.

If you plan on drying the meat in your dehydrator

  • remove the marinated beef from the refrigerator and place the strips of meat onto a the dehydrator's drying rack.
  • Set the temperature on your dehydrator to 145f-155f (63c-68c)
  • Place the trays of meat in your dehydrator and let them dry for 3-5 hours
  • After 3 hours check to see their doneness. If they are dry and pliable (you will notice slight creases form when you bend it) they are finished. They should bend like a green branch. Easy to bend but won't snap. If they are still too wet leave them in for longer. Monitor every 30 minutes at this point.

To finish the process (pasteurize the jerky)

  • Once your beef has finished drying (regardless of the method you chose to use) we need to pasteurize it. Preheat your oven to 275f (135c). As soon as your oven has been preheated, place the dried jerky on a tray (ensuring that they don't overlap), and place it in the oven for 10 minutes. This final step ensures that 100% of any unwanted pathogens are killed off and your jerky is now ready to eat or store for later.

Storing your jerky

  • To store your jerky you can either refrigerate it for up to a month or place it in vacuum sealed bags and store in the freezer for up to 12 months

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21 thoughts on “Pepper Crusted Pineapple Jerky

  1. Robert
    Robert

    5 stars
    Nice recipy Eric! Do you have the recipein grams/liters voor Europe? Thanks in advance. Cheers Robert
    ps us and metric does not work in this case

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Thank you. Click the “Metric” option on the recipe. It should convert everything for you😉

      1. Robert
        Robert

        👍🏻 Eric! Cheers

  2. Lulu Alam
    Lulu Alam

    It’s does convert to metric….only the meat is still labelled I correctly as lbs instead of grams!!

    1. Eric
      Eric

      I see what you are talking about. The problem has been fixed😁

  3. Maris
    Maris

    Today will try this recipe with ground venison meat.
    Monday should be the result.

    1. Maris
      Maris

      In became great. Just 1st hour need to dry on baking paper, then flip it and remove baking paper. After dehydration just cut in slices.

  4. Ben
    Ben

    2 questions: 1 do I have to pasteurize jerky if it is made in a food dehydrator before eating or sticking it in a zip lock bag for storage?

    2. If I stick it in a zip lock bag with an oxygen absorber for storing at room temperature do I have to use #2 curing salt in the recipie to prevent botulism? Does storing it at room temperature eith oxygen absorbers without #2 salt make it a high risk product?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      1. Pasteurizing is an optional step for added safety. It kills any potential unwanted pathogens on you jerky. If you were to pasteurize it, you would do it immediately after it’s finished drying.
      2. You would never use Cure #2 in Jerky. If anything you would use cure #1 at the beginning of the process but that’s optional (with the correct amount of salt). Cure is added to prevent botulism. Once your meat has dried botulism can not grow on it so you can technically store it in a vacuum sealed bag and be ok. It becomes shelf stable due to the low water activity in the meat.

  5. Roger
    Roger

    In the pasteurizing section you have “heat over to 275f (80c),
    275f=135c

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Thanks you for catching that. I just fixed it.

  6. Kurt
    Kurt

    5 stars
    Hi,

    I made this over the past couple days and have a couple questions. I started with 2 eye rounds and after trimming I had 10.4# of beef. After marinating I had about 2 cups of marinade that was not absorbed by the meat, I started with about 6 cups so a lot did get absorbed but in the video it looked like almost all was absorbed. First question, is this expected and OK?

    My second question is related to the yield. I used a dehydrator running at 150 or 155 and each batch took about 5 1/2 hours to get to the point where they would bend like a green branch. My yield was 5.6# which seems high compared to the video. Is that OK or does it mean I pulled it too soon and should have dried it more?

    I did pasteurize at 275 for 10 minutes after drying and taste and texture is great. I tried 3 crust variations, one was the straight Pepper Crust, another added Calabrian Chili Powder and the other added Franks RedHot Seasoning powder to the black pepper before putting it on top. Both added heat, the Calabrian is more even and the Franks comes on at the end.

    Thanks

    1. Eric
      Eric

      As far as the marinade goes the meat will absorb what it can hold. I wouldn’t worry about that. That’s also a pretty high yield for jerky. You might have pulled it a tad early as that’s only a 46ish % weight loss. It should be pretty tender though😉. The “wetter” the jerky, the shorter the shelf life is..

  7. Tom
    Tom

    Hi. Is it best stored in the fridge in a air tight container? I have done that and it seems to have some moisture on it now. Was bone dry before? I’m pretty sure it may just be the oils but wanted to check. I’ve read it does best stored room temperature?

    Thanks

  8. Eliot
    Eliot

    Hi Eric,
    Awesome website and YouTube channel! Have a quick question if I am using Prague powder #1 At a quarter of a teaspoon per pound of meat is that sufficient to make the jerky safe after drying in a Dehydrator or do you still recommend pasteurizing the jerky in the oven at 275 for 10 minutes? Is it Necessary to do both or safer? Thanks

    1. Eric
      Eric

      If you use cure at a ratio of .25% (by the weight of the meat) then pasteurization is not needed. This measures out to 1 level tsp for 5 pounds of meat or 5.67 grams of cure for 5 pounds of meat (2270g)

  9. Bob from North Texas
    Bob from North Texas

    5 stars
    Copied the Recipe to a T

    Dehydrated for 5 hours

    Wonderful!

    Cut across Grain

    Awesome

  10. Johann
    Johann

    5 stars
    Hi Eric. First, apologies if this question gets posted twice. My computer (or my internet) glitched earlier when I tried to post it, so I’m not sure if it went.

    What about using the Biltong box for this jerky recipe? I recognize that it will max out at probably 100°F or so, and won’t get as warm as either of the regular dehydrators (ca. 145°F) or oven method (ca. 170°F).

    But on the other hand, people made jerky for centuries just hanging out in the sun at 80°F, give or take.

    Is all jerky nowadays “cooked” to at least 145°F?

    Thanks. Thanks also for your easy step-by-step tutorial on making that Biltong box!

    1. Eric
      Eric

      It would work great. Might take a few more days but shouldn’t be a problem. I’m not sure what most jerky is cooked to. I know commercial jerky is either cured with nitrites and or pasteurized for safety reasons, but at home many people dry them at much lower temps to retain their nutritional value..

      1. Johann
        Johann

        Great, and thanks for responding. I managed to find an incandescent “100 Watt power saving” bulb (draws 74 Watts). This should put off a fair bit more heat than the 40W I’ve currently got installed (approx. same as an original incandescent 75W bulb, which are of course nowhere to be found due to EISA-2007).

        I may also put a 2nd light socket on the opposite side of the box just to test out what kind of temps I can get to with afternoon ambient ~ 80°F.

        1. Johann
          Johann

          5 stars
          Eric – worked just fine in the box; very tasty and thanks again. Took about 26 hours for the pieces I cut to the correct thickness, and about 29 for the pieces where I wasn’t careful enough cutting and got pretty thick. I strung together 3 cooking racks vertically about 2 inches apart with unwrapped paper clips and got 3.7 pounds of bottom round slices on them without too much crowding.

          With the 74 Watt bulb I found I could generally keep the box about 10°F above ambient with the fan on medium speed, so it was running mid-70s at night and mid-90s by afternoon. I never got around to installing a second bulb.

          I also found out that hot glue re-melts at the temps right near that bulb! This wasn’t a functional problem as the hole for the socket is really tight, but I should have foreseen this possibility and put cardboard or something between the box and table to protect the tabletop from glue drips. Live and learn.

          A couple of other comments if anyone else comes along and wants to try this type of biltong box for jerky but with the hotter bulb. Make an arch or square box-like structure out of heavy foil to go over the top of the bulb, spaced a bit away from the bulb. If a drip from the marinade hits the hot bulb it will pop and scatter glass. Also with the bulb placement near the floor of the box in Eric’s design, it gets hot enough to cause a urethane coating (if you have the box sitting on a table top) to cloud up, so I’d recommend putting something to insulate either under the bulb or under the box itself. I used a discloth wrapped in a foil envelope and placed it between the box floor and the bulb.

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