GAPS Snacks: Homemade Beef Jerky from a Roast


Homemade Beef Jerky GAPS Friendly

Homemade beef jerky is a protein packed healthy snack food.  I make a big batch and then separate it into snack sized ziplocks to keep in the fridge for snacks on the go- not the most environmentally friendly, but it keeps us easily eating nutrient dense food even on busy days.  Paired with a veggie or fruit, beef jerky can be a meal replacement in a pinch.

If you’re nervous about making jerky because of the expense, if your batch doesn’t turn out for whatever reason you can chop it up and add it to soups.  I’ve only had one batch not go well, because I dried it too long and it was too tough to eat.  Homemade beef jerky is best stored in the fridge since it contains no preservatives.  Using more salt can preserve it better, but to be safe, I’d still store it in the fridge or freezer.

Making jerky is a great solution for a cram-packed freezer, as it often can be after a bulk meat order or if you need to make room for something else.

 Homemade Beef Jerky

3 lbs meat (roast, sliced) (buy grassfed meat here)
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
6 cloves garlic, crushed (garlic can be easily grown in your garden- see gardening resources here)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (buy organic herbs and spices here)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil (buy olive oil here)
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons sea salt


For ease of slicing, place thawed roast in freezer for 45-60 minutes; a slightly frozen roast is easier to slice.  Set a timer so you don’t forget- a solidly frozen roast is not easy to slice ;)

Use a sharp knife to slice roast into thin strips (1/4 inch thick or less if you can) and place strips into a freezer bag or bowl.  Cover with remaining jerky ingredients and toss to coat meat evenly.  Place in the fridge for 12-24 hours (covered if using a bowl), stirring or flipping the bag once half way through to evenly distribute marinade.

After marinading, place strips of meat on dehydrator tray- they can be touching but not overlapping.  Dry on the highest setting your dehydrator (this is the dehydrator that I have and love) has for 7 hours.  Store in the fridge or freezer.


 Disclosure: I wrote this post while participating in the Sowing Millions Project by Real Food Media on behalf of Seeds of Change. I received product and exclusive content to facilitate my post. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own and not of those of Real Food Media or Seeds of Change.   Visit them on Facebook and share about your garden!

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  1. Anisa Taft says

    I’m excited to try this! I have heard of making your own jerky quite often in our “real food/GaPS adventure” but this is the first time I viewed a recipe–the marinade sounds like a winner! Looking forward to making this! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Pam says

    Just wondering, this looks raw when finished? Do you have to worry about bacteria? I’ve never eaten any raw meats so I would have to overcome that hurdle. Does it have to be raw?

    • Cara says

      It doesn’t seem raw when it’s finished. The dehydrator cooks it pretty well and it tastes like ‘store’ jerky, but better :)

  3. Lisa M says

    Thank you for this recipe. We were just using our dehydrator the other day and my son asked about making beef jerky – something we have been wanting to try since we got our dehydrator this summer. Now I do not have to research recipes or take the time to make one up.

  4. Donna says

    Can this be made in a standard dehydrator ? Like the cheaper kind …mine was bought at dept store…havent tried it yet.

    • Norma S says

      Raw meat needs to be dehydrated at 155 degrees. If your dehydrator does not have a thermostat. you can put a thermometer in your dehydrator and see how hot it gets.

  5. says

    Thanks for posting this! How long do you think it’s ok to store in the fridge for? Also, have you ever tried dehydrating it in the oven?

    ps – I haven’t been on the blog since you redesigned it – it looks so nice – much more soothing on the eyes!

  6. says

    Hi Cara! I wanted to try contacting you privately, but since I’m not on Facebook, I hope this is ok. We are on Day 4 of GAPS Intro. We have already been able to introduce egg yolks and whites and ghee using the sensitivity test. My children, ages 6 and 7, are hating this diet. They are refusing the broth and soups, and I have resorted to using bribing and counting the bites techniques to get just a little into them. We have not left the house in four days, and our days have not been good. I’m ready for a good, easy-going day again. I was just wondering if you could offer any help. I am trying to progress through Intro quickly, but not too quickly. I hope to introduce avocado tomorrow, but I already know I’m going to be met with argument and refusal. Any help or advice you can give is welcome, if you have a chance. Thank you in advance!

    • Shauna says

      This post is probably way too late for Lindsey, but I thought I’d reply for anyone else with the same problem. My 8-yr-old son and I started the GAPS Diet 3 days ago. He, too, refused all soup and broth, and nothing I did would make him try them. After some research, I found that sensory perception issues are common with GAPS children, and in a test of wills, you WILL NOT WIN. I was advised to put my son on Full GAPS Diet, then I let him highlight all the foods on the ok list that he would agree to eat. He isn’t going thru the Intro right now, but he’s still doing the diet, with much less fighting and arguing. My house is at peace again, and I know that my son is not eating foods that would be harmful to him.

  7. says

    My family is always on the go and I love making homemade beef jerky. My recipe isn’t that “great” – I’m excited to try your version. Thanks for posting!

  8. Pam says

    Thanks so much! I tried it with some meat that was needing cooked very soon (a steak) and it was fabulous! I will do this again!

  9. Julie Sanders says

    Is it possible to do this in a low heated oven? My oven’s lowest setting is 170. Would that work? I’m eager to try this for my son, but I can’t afford a dehydrator right now.


  10. Celeste says

    Here’s a thought. My mother-in-law had some jerky made from ground beef. Any thoughts on that? Could you just mix in the marinade and use a jerky “squirter”? She said to use the jerky packet from the store. Well, I obviously couldn’t do that. So I’ve been looking for an alternative.

    • erin says

      Substitute chopoed raisins for sodium nitrite for preserving the jerky made with ground beef. The Oregon State Food Science department used 10% raisins and found it was preferred to store bought nitrite preserved jerky in flavor and texture.

  11. Melanie says

    What cut of roast works best for this? I’ve got 1/4 of a grass fed cow in the freezer and have been making jerky with hamburger but haven’t tried any sliced meat yet as I don’t know which cuts to use. thanks!

    • eli says

      try a few maybe? if it works with hamburger which is the roughest crap all mashed up then it will work with any other cut i would assume. since they are all better than whats used in burger meat.

  12. Alina says

    Like Melanie, I would also like to know what roast is best (shoulder, round etc.) or maybe it does not matter?
    Thank you.

    • Anne says

      I live in Australia my butcher slices topside roast into thin slices for me. It is imperative you remove all fat before you dehydrate the meat as the fat won’t dry & it will not store. I have done it 4 times now & this marinade would have to be the best I have ever tasted.

  13. Kylee says

    I have used this recipe quite a few times now and we live it! I’ve found that sliced cube steak makes for the best jerky and I’ve never had to worry about gristle or fat. It is very easy to cut when partially frozen, just make sure to cut against the grain.


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