Easy Beef Jerky For the Road

Hello and welcome to the blog!  It seems like a person never has enough snacks on hand while camping.  One of the favorite lower carb foods that fills the belly is beef jerky.  Unfortunately it is pretty doggoned expensive!  I made some this last weekend and was pretty happy with the results… enough to share the recipe with the blog friends.

There are a number of cuts of beef that work well such as eye of round, top or bottom round, flank, etc.  I chose to use some slices of shoulder blade roast.  Why?  Because it was dirt cheap on clearance.   Shoulder meat (yellow area on the chart) is not the best for jerky because it does have some fat (which makes the jerky spoil faster) but the dried meat will be kept cool and will be eaten promptly and let’s face it — fat does add flavor!  In actuality, shoulder meat is pretty tender, too!

The meat had been purchased a couple weeks ago during the Anamosa Pumpkinfest.  It was frozen.  Partially thawing the blade roast worked great for prepping.  The silver skin (membrane) was removed because it is tough to chew.  The excess fat (really not that much) was trimmed off (saving it for frying my eggs and potatoes in the morning).  The meat was cut into 1/4 inch strips with a super sharp fillet knife.  Who needs kitchen knives with a fisherman in the house?


It’s never been used much but it sure will be utilized from now on. There’s not potpourri like the smell of teriyaki and beef!

The sliced meat went into the dehydrator for about 4 hours.  I set the machine to the maximum temperature of 165 degrees F.  If using a conventional oven, set it to around 175 degrees.  The icing on the cake was having the machine turn off right before the beginning of Battlestar Galactica.  (By design, of course!  What a snack!)

Here is the recipe.  I’ve seen a number of versions online, all tweaked and claimed by a number of people.  This recipe is not that much different and contains a lot of salty goodness… just a lot less sugar.  Future versions will include more spice such as some hot sauce.  The final product was pretty delicious!  I might add a bit more sugar  or pineapple juice the next time but as-is, this homemade jerky tasted fresher and better than the store bought stuff.

Teriyake Beef Jerky for the Road

2-2.5 pounds beef blade roast, cut against the grain to 1/4 inch thick slices.
Round, eye of round, flank would work great.

3/4 cup inexpensive teriyaki marinade (i.e. Kikkoman, LaChoy, store brand, etc.)

2T dark brown sugar

1T onion powder

1t garlic powder

1.5T Worcestershire sauce

1t liquid smoke

Combine all the ingredients into a  gallon freezer bag.  Add the meat slices and mix periodically.  Marinate 12 to 24 hours.  Place the meat slices on racks in a dehydrator and set to 165 degrees.  Dry for 4 hours or to the desired consistency (longer time yields thinner, tougher jerky).  No dehydrator?  Put the marinated meat slices on a baking rack in the oven, set the temperature to 175 and watch the strips for doneness.  The jerky should come out just fine!

I would recommend refrigerating jerky when made with the more marbled cuts such as blade roast.  Fat can turn rancid and ruin the flavor.  This meat can stay for weeks in the fridge.   UPDATE  — I had it eaten in two days.   🙂

There are more tweaks to try but one of the co-workers loved the dried meat when I tried it on her today.  It will be fun to make some batches for work camping in the coming weeks…

By the way, there is some news about the job.  I ran out of work!  Our group of contractors finished up the temporary job way too early.  But having done a good job with perfect attendance, the door was kept open and now I have a long term, open-ended assignment at the same company doing nearly the same type of work.  It should eventually lead to permanent employment rather than this temping stuff.  The work is a good fit and reason to be excited!  It’s also been possible to save a lot of money in short order.  As an old friend once advised in the 1980s, “Liquidity is freedom!”


“Come on, Daddy! We can still go higher!”


Jenny is up to her old tricks.  She took me for a walk and hike the other night.  We climbed about 20 feet up a steep embankment at the nearby concrete company.  Well, sort of.  She saw a rabbit and pulled the leash out of my hand and I had to go after her.  Pleading with her, she patiently sat at the top of the very steep hill watching Daddy struggle to reach her, climbing and sliding down a pile of loose gravel.  Once at the top, I picked up the leash and we went strolling and climbing about, exploring together.  It was a reversal.  She showed me where SHE likes to play when she gets out.


What a view of the neighboring farm… Seeing any stars? I was after trying to scale the *&%# hill.


That’s about it for now.  I’m planning an out of town trip this weekend.  They are stocking trout at a pond in southeast Iowa just 2 blocks from buddy Johnnie.  It’s too tempting not to go!  Jenny may or may not ride along; I’m not certain yet.  But it will be a fun time in any case and there will, of course, be pictures!  Not to beat a dead horse but I didn’t realize how life was passing me by while working every weekend at the fast food job.  Time to make up for lost time!  It’s been a wonderful end to the summer and beginning to a memorable autumn season.

Take care and thanks for visiting!  Happy and safe camping travels always!

Brad, Jenny, and…  maybe a new edition soon?
Jones County and Linn County, Iowa



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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

4 Responses to Easy Beef Jerky For the Road

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    You are a master in the kitchen I swear. Keep up the good work to. It’s good when a company was pleased with your work. They will always remember the good people.
    Cant wait to see and hear about your next adventure

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Thanks for the kind words! It’s fun coming up with new cooking ideas. The blood sugar has been terrible lately (sedentary job) so I started buying salad bar toppings (lettuce, shredded carrots, olives, etc.) and adding meat and cheese and low carb tortillas from home. It’s fun coming up with cool on-the-road ideas.

      It is looking for sure like camping on Friday and Saturday with Jenny. The plans are loose right now – we might hit campgrounds to plug in the heater – or curl up together and hunker down. I’m hoping for some fun pictures. Take care! I’ll check your blog right now while downloading some TV shows to watch on the laptop later tonight at the camping spot. 🙂

  2. my_vantasy says:

    I got a kick out of Jenny’s hike. Hopefully you can read what you wrote and laugh about it now. Have fun camping! I love reading your adventures! And you dropped another cliffhanger “…maybe a new addition soon?” I’ll be on the edge of my seat until you explain that one!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi and good morning. Sorry that I didn’t get around to responding to your comment. Jenny has been a pistol lately. We’ve been camping the last two days and it’s been kind of fun. We’re headed home later today. I’m working on a post on-the-fly at McDoanld’s along the Mississippi River. She certainly keeps something interesting. Jenny gets a little lonely at times and an opportunity has come up for a companion for her… a rescue kitty who has until been unadoptable. His background and demeanor would be perfect for a camping buddy. That’s about all I can say until things come together… He’s a cute little guy and would be perfect company (for Jenner and I both!) Take care!