The Southern Food Junkie: Smoked Beef Jerky Marinade

Smoked Beef Jerky Marinade from Southern Food Junkie

This marinade recipe from the Southern Food Junkie for Smoked Beef Jerky has a little heat, a little sweet, and a little smoke.

Smoked beef jerky has been enjoyed for a long time. According to Hi-Country Snack foods website, the word jerky comes from a South American Native tribe called the Quechua. They called it Ch’arki, which means to ” burn (meat).” Drying out meat is an age-old process that people used to preserve the meat. Natives and cowboys dried meat so they could pack it with them and have something to consume in between hunts or herding cattle across the plains. Today, the Southern Food Junkie is going to show you our marinade recipe and process to make smoked beef jerky on an upright propane smoker.

I hate to admit it but the 2 lb beef roast I turned into smoked jerky was all gone in 3 days. What makes this recipe so good – or what I would call the star of the show – is the pineapple juice I use to marinade the meat in.

Click here to check out the Southern Food Junkie’s Beef Jerky Marinade and how to use the smoker for a delicious snack

Course: Snack food
Cuisine: Southern
Prep Time: 24 Hrs
Cook Time: 4-12 hrs
Servings: 4

2lb roast (A lean cut of meat works best. For this recipe, I used a eye of round roast. You could use sirloin tip too.)
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup soy sauce
1/2  cup teriyaki sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
3-4 cloves whole peeled garlic. If you prefer, you could mince the garlic

1 Tbsp minced ginger. I did not use ginger in this recipe, but it would be a great addition.

Click here to check out the Southern Food Junkie’s Beef Jerky Marinade and how to use the smoker for a delicious snack


It is best to start with a roast that is slightly frozen but not completely frozen. To start, put roast in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours until it is firm.

Next, trim off all the fat that is visible on the roast.

Slice meat into 1/4 inch slices. *If you want your jerky to be tender, slice across the grain. If you prefer it to be a bit chewy, slice with the grain.

After you have sliced the meat, go back and cut it into strips about two inches wide.

Add meat to a bowl that has a lid or a ziplock bag. *If you place the meat in a ziplock bag, you can lay the bag in a bowl and not have to worry about clean up.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl then pour over the meat.

Place a lid on the bowl or zip your bag up.

Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Click here to learn how to make smoked beef jerky with the Southern Food Junkie’s marinade


After you have marinaded your meat for 24 hours you are ready to smoke it. Check out my video on how to hang the meat in the smoker as well as tips and tricks for smoking the meat. I used Hickory wood chips for my smoke. I think the flavor profile was great and marries well with the other flavors. You could also use apple chips. I would steer away from mesquite unless you mix it with hickory or applewood. It tends to be harsh or stronger and would not match well with the pineapple juice that really sets this marinade off. Pecan might also be a great choice to use. This is something you can experiment with.


Beef Jerky Marinade Recipe Card
%d bloggers like this: