Craft Your Own Protein-Packed Snack: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Beef Jerky Nuggets

Beef jerky nuggets have become a wildly popular high-protein snack. These bite-sized morsels of intensely flavored dried beef are satisfyingly chewy and packed with protein. Making your own homemade beef jerky nuggets is easier than you think. With just a few simple ingredients and steps you can create a tasty batch of these addictive snacks right in your own kitchen.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk through everything you need to know to make tender and delicious DIY beef jerky nuggets. From choosing the right cut of beef to flavoring and storing, let’s embark on a journey into the world of beef jerky nugget creation. Grab your apron and let’s get cooking!

Selecting the Best Beef for Jerky Nuggets

The first step is choosing the right beef. Opt for lean cuts of beef with minimal marbling and fat content. The best cuts of beef for jerky nuggets are:

  • Flank steak
  • London broil
  • Top round roast
  • Eye of round roast

These lean cuts will produce a chewy and tender texture perfect for homemade jerky nuggets. Fattier cuts of beef may become overly tough and dry when made into jerky.

Preparing the Beef

Once you have your lean cut of beef slice it across the grain as thinly as possible about 1⁄8 inch thick. Cutting against the grain shortens the muscle fibers which results in a more tender jerky texture once dried. If the slices are too thick, the jerky may end up fibrous and chewy.

Use a very sharp knife or meat slicer to get uniform paper-thin slices for the best results. Trim off any excess fat or connective tissue before slicing the beef.

Flavoring with a Simple Marinade

Now it’s time to infuse the beef slices with finger-licking flavor using a homemade marinade. Whisk together:

  • 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon each onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper

Place the beef slices in a shallow baking dish and pour the marinade over the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight. This allows the beef to fully absorb the flavors.

Dehydrating for the Perfect Texture

After marinating, we need to dehydrate the beef slices to create that signature jerky chewiness. You can use a dehydrator, oven, or air fryer to dehydrate the nuggets.

Using a Dehydrator

  • Place beef slices in single layers on dehydrator trays
  • Dehydrate at 155°F for 4-6 hours

Using an Oven

  • Place slices on wire racks set on baking sheets
  • Bake at 170°F for 6-8 hours with the oven door propped open

Using an Air Fryer

  • Place a single layer of slices in air fryer basket
  • Dehydrate at 155°F for 2-3 hours, flip halfway

Check for dryness and desired texture periodically when dehydrating. The jerky nuggets should be dry but still slightly pliable when done.

Cutting into Nugget Shapes

Once the beef slices are fully dehydrated, it’s time to turn them into fun little nuggets! Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut the dried slices into bite-sized pieces.

Aim for roughly 1 inch pieces for the perfect poppable jerky nugget size. Cut them into squares, rectangles, or interesting shapes for fun.

Boosting Flavor with Seasonings

Here comes the exciting part – seasoning the jerky nuggets to perfection. Toss the nuggets with any of the following:

  • Cracked black pepper
  • Chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • Onion powder or garlic powder
  • Dried parsley or basil
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

Add seasonings to your taste preference and toss thoroughly to coat each piece. The options are endless for customizing flavors.

Storing Your Homemade Nuggets

Once seasoned, store the finished beef jerky nuggets in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. They will keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, place in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Now relax and enjoy your homemade jerky nuggets anywhere on-the-go! They make the perfect high-protein snack packed with meaty flavor.

Recipe Variations

Once you master the basics, get creative with your own signature jerky nugget flavors.

  • Use coconut aminos and maple syrup for a sweeter teriyaki marinade. Add sesame seeds or ginger when seasoning.

  • For a smoky flavor, add 2 tablespoons liquid smoke to the marinade. Season with smoked paprika, chipotle powder, or cumin.

  • For a spicy kick, use sriracha instead of Worcestershire and add 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the marinade.

  • For an Italian flair, use balsamic vinegar, basil, oregano, rosemary, and fennel in the marinade.

Make a variety of different flavors so you always have an exciting jerky snack on hand!

Jerky Nugget Tips and Tricks

Follow these tips to ensure beef jerky nugget success:

  • Freeze beef for 30 minutes before slicing to make cutting easier.

  • Use paper towels to soak up any excess marinade on the meat before dehydrating.

  • Rotate trays and flip jerky pieces during dehydrating for even drying.

  • Let jerky cool completely before cutting into pieces to avoid crumbling.

  • Use kitchen shears for easier cutting into nugget shapes.

  • Store in refrigerator for maximum freshness and shelf life.

The Takeaway

Homemade beef jerky nuggets make for a protein-packed, flavorsome snack you can feel good about eating. With a few simple steps, you can easily create a batch of these crave-worthy morsels in your own kitchen for a fraction of the cost of store-bought.

Get creative with flavors and seasonings to make them your own. Just remember to use lean cuts, thinly slice beef, and dehydrate thoroughly for the perfect chewy texture. Enjoy your DIY jerky nuggets as a satisfying snack anytime!

Smoked Beef Jerky Nuggets


How long to dehydrate jerky nuggets?

Dehydrate for about 3 ½ to 5 hours at your dehydrators highest setting until beef jerky has reached 160°F and has dried. I used my Excalibur Dehydrator which took me only 3 ½ hours to dry this batch. If using an oven, heat the strips for 10 minutes at 300°F with the oven door closed.

What is the best cut of meat to make beef jerky?

The best cuts of meat for beef jerky are Top Round, Bottom Round, Lifter and Pectoral, but a variety of cuts can be used such as Flank Steak and Skirt Steak. These cuts of beef check all the boxes for beef jerky—economical, lean, and full of flavor.

How does Jack Link’s make beef jerky?

MADE WITH 100% BEEF: Our Hickory Smoked Beef Jerky starts with carefully selected cuts of lean, 100% premium beef. Marinated with brown sugar and slow cooked over hickory smoke means that each bite is sweet, smoky, meaty perfection.

Can you make jerky from any meat?

Essentially, you can use any cut as long as it’s super lean (which is why venison lends itself to being such great jerky, too). It’s a fantastic way to ensure that even the less-awesome muscles are being used and enjoyed.

How to make beef jerky?

This is a straightforward beef jerky recipe with just 5 ingredients. Although the jerky takes some time to make, the preparations are pretty easy. You just slice the meat, let it marinate overnight, spread onto a baking rack, let bake for about 6 hours at a very low temperature, and you are done.

Can you consider beef jerky a healthy snack?

No, as this is high in salt and other preservatives to main both its structure, taste and longevity. As a processed meat, beef jerky is also higher in saturated fat. All the salt, preservatives and saturated fat can be harmful to primarily your heart health. It is best to swap this out for some chicken breasts that have been cubed or homemade turkey balls.

How do you make teriyaki beef Nuggets?

Simply use the recipe down below and replace the amount of ground beef with your choice of meat. For those interested in adding the sauce to make “teriyaki beef nuggets” simply use premade teriyaki sauce or a mixture of ⅓ cup of soy sauce, mirin, sake, and 1-2 tablespoons of sugar mixed in a pan, simmering till it has a sauce like texture.

How do you make breaded beef Nuggets?

Here is how you can make these breaded beef nuggets: Create a base mixture of ground beef, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, paprika, and parmesan. Mold these using your hands to your choice of shape-a simple nugget, or for kids, a heart, star, or even a character using a mold.

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