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Jerky, the timeless and satisfying snack, has long been a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. While traditionally made in dehydrators or smokers, did you know you can also create delicious and tender jerky right on your pellet grill? In this blog, we'll delve into the art of making jerky on a pellet grill, unlocking a world of flavor and convenience. Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure and craft irresistible jerky that will leave your taste buds craving for more!



The foundation of great jerky starts with choosing the right cut of meat. Opt for lean cuts like top round, eye of round, or flank steak. Trim away any excess fat to ensure a better texture and longer shelf life. Remember, the leaner the meat, the easier it is to achieve that coveted jerky consistency.



Marinades infuse the meat with tantalizing flavors and tenderize it for that perfect chew. Experiment with different marinade recipes to suit your taste preferences. Classic combinations like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and black pepper work wonders, but don't be afraid to get creative with ingredients like teriyaki, honey, chili, or even fruit juices for a unique twist.



To achieve consistent drying and flavor absorption, slice the meat against the grain into thin strips. Aim for around ¼ inch thickness for optimal results. A sharp knife or a meat slicer can make this task easier and ensure uniformity.

PRO TIP : Place the meat in the freezer for about 1-2 hours until it becomes firm but not fully frozen. This makes it easier to achieve uniform, thin slices, as the firmer texture allows for cleaner cuts. Using a sharp knife or a meat slicer, slice the partially frozen meat against the grain to ensure tender jerky with a consistent texture.



Preheat your pellet grill to a low temperature, ideally around 160-175°F (71-79°C). Ensure that your pellet grill has a direct flame option or a dedicated searing zone. This will aid in achieving that irresistible smoky flavor and sealing in the juices.



Once your pellet grill is preheated, arrange the meat strips on the grates, leaving some space between each piece for air circulation. Let the jerky smoke and dry slowly for several hours, usually between 4 to 6 hours. Adjust the cooking time based on your desired level of tenderness and dryness. Keep an eye on the jerky and rotate the racks if needed.

PRO TIP : Use hardwood pellets with mild or fruitwood flavors, such as apple or cherry. These types of pellets complement the flavors of the meat without overpowering them. Additionally, consider using a water pan or adding a small dish of water in the pellet grill while smoking the jerky to help maintain moisture and prevent the meat from drying out excessively.

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After a couple of hours, flip the jerky strips to ensure even drying and smoking. This is also an excellent opportunity to baste the strips with additional marinade or a glaze of your choice for an extra burst of flavor. Brush the strips lightly to avoid overwhelming the jerky.



Throughout the cooking process, test a few pieces of jerky to check for the desired texture. It should be firm and slightly pliable without being brittle. Remember that the jerky will continue to dry a bit as it cools, so aim for a slightly softer texture while on the grill.



Once the jerky reaches the desired texture, remove it from the grill and let it cool completely. Properly store the cooled jerky in airtight containers or resealable bags, and refrigerate to maintain freshness. It can last for weeks or even months if stored properly, but it's so delicious that it likely won't last that long!



By utilizing your pellet grill, you can create mouthwatering homemade jerky that rivals any store-bought variety. From selecting the right cut of meat to perfecting the marinade and nailing the smoking and drying process, the pellet grill offers convenience and exceptional flavor. So, fire up your pellet grill, grab your favorite cut of meat, and embark on a jerky-making adventure that will result in delectable, homemade snacks for your outdoor excursions or any time you crave a protein-packed treat!


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