By Kali Gray, Dietitian

By Kali Gray, Dietitian

Have you ever wanted to make your own jerky?

I did. But up until 3 weeks ago, making jerky seemed an enigma - a specialty kinda thing. 

But after running our recent Healthy Snacks workshop with Chef Amanda, I’ve learned it’s actually really easy! You simply need:





  • An oven or dehydrator
  • Sharp knife
  • Freeze
  • The ingredients (obviously!)

The process of making jerky is actually very basic. The main thing to know is how to do so safely. 

How Can I Make Jerky Safely?

With Jerky, there are a few Food Safety factors that we must take into consideration. After all, we’re dealing with a raw meat product that will quickly turn nah-stay if we don’t treat it right. 

Food borne pathogens need a moist environment and the right temperature in order to survive. Therefore, all safety precautions are aimed at ensuring we control these two factors. Here’s what you gotta know:

  • It is critical to reach a sufficient temperature in the jerky-making process to kill pathogenic bacteria. (These include nasties such as Salmonella & E.Coli!)
  • Use only lean meat in premium condition. Fat makes jerky spoil faster, so trim as much away as possible. 
  • Slice your pieces of jerky to no thicker than ¼ inch. Freeze your meat first – it will be easier to cut finely!
  • Slice meat with the grain if you want a chewy jerky. 
  • Marinate meat only in the fridge.
  • Separate raw meats (and juices) away from other foods, and store on appropriate drip dray. 
  • Use a dial stem thermometer to check your dehydrator or oven – when it is operating empty. (Seriously, please don’t rely on your oven or dehydrator thermometer reading!)
  • Set dehydrator to max. temp and oven to 70oC. To safely make jerky, your dehydrator or oven MUST be able to maintain temp of 70oC
  • Clean your kitchen, utensils, chopping boards etc with water and a food-safe sanitising solution.  
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap before and after handling raw meat. 
  • Never reuse your marinades – make a fresh batch for each recipe of jerky. 
  • It’s important to heat treat jerky at START of process – not at end of dehydration. Bacteria can become for heat resistant during drying. 
  • Curing salt is another line of defence to protect against bacteria. 

How do I make my jerky chewy or soft?

It’s this easy:

Slicing WITH grain = chewy/tough jerky

Slicing AGAINST grain = less chewy/softer jerky. (It makes the jerky easier to tear apart.)

By working with or against the natural meat fibres, we can easily manipulate the texture of the meat. 

So now that you now the basics…Here’s how to make it!

Recipe: Easy Buffalo Jerky

Note: This is the first time we’ve ever sourced buffalo meat! These buffalos are raised by a lovely local family out at Witta amongst green rolling hills. 


450g topside/round buffalo 

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup soy sauce

1.5 tsp honey

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

Few grinds of fresh pepper


Freeze steak until it is hard enough to be sliced into ¼ cm slices.

Slice ACROSS grain for SOFT.

Slice WITH grain for CHEWY.

Place strips of meat into a sealable plaster bag with marinade ingredients. Marinate for minimum six hours. Remove strips from the marinade, pat dry with paper towel before laying on dehydrator racks. 

Dehydrate/oven at 70oC for 6 to 10 hours. 

Allow jerky to cool on paper towel. (This absorbs the fat/moisture.) Place in airtight container. 

Other Jerky Flavour Combo’s

Chinese Marinate

1.8 to 2 kg topside/round

4 cups soy

1 cup brown sugar

4 tbsp garlic minced

4 tbsp minced ginger

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp ground pepper

Sprinkle of sesame seeds

*Harissa Spiced

1.130kg topside/round

2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp chilli powder

1 tbsp smoked paprika

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp caraway seeds

¼ tsp cayenne

Toast spices until aromatic. Run over sliced meat. Marinate. 


My personal favourite was the Harissa Spiced marinade. It’s got a little chilli kick and SO much flavour!! 

For questions on the recipes or making Jerky, please don’t hesitate to reach out on Facebook @MalenySupaIGA or email

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