Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky (2024)

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Thisbeef jerky recipe is a great one that has an amazing sweet flavor followed by a spicy zing at the end. Rave reviews were received when I passed this jerky around at home and work. Everyone loved it!

Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky (1)
Jump to:
  • Why this recipe works
  • Choosing and slicing the meat
  • Making the marinade
  • Drying the jerky
  • FAQ
  • Old Pro Tips
  • Other spicy jerky
  • Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky

Why this recipe works

The brown sugar and honey give this spicy beef jerky a nice sweet flavor when you first start to chew. After a couple of seconds the salty soy sauce flavor will come out making it very savory. Finally, when you are finishing up your piece the heat from the red pepper flakes and black pepper will have you reaching for some water.

This jerky was very popular at home as well as at work. Everyone that tried it LOVED it. It's easy to see why with the ingredients and flavors that are packed into this meaty snack. Definitely put this recipe on the top of your 'to try' list!

Choosing and slicing the meat

Using lean cuts of meat for jerky is the #1 rule to remember when making beef jerky. Fat spoils faster than meat, so the less fat you have the longer shelf life the finished jerky will have.

Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky (2)

Best meat for beef jerky

  • Beef eye of round roast
  • Beef top & bottom roasts
  • Flank steak
  • Ground beef (10% fat or less)

Being short on time, I purchased already thinly sliced Beef Top Round. This helped since I didn't have to break out my jerky slicer and slice the meat myself. A lot of times butchers will slice meat for you if you ask. ⅛" to ¼" is the best thickness when slicing the meat.

Once you have finished slicing the meat, place it in a gallon size zipper top plastic bag.

Making the marinade

This spicy beef jerky recipe has a lot of ingredients, but they are all needed to create the amazing flavor this beef jerky has to offer. Simply add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly, using a blender can be used to really help get the honey mixed in well.

Pour the sweet and spicy jerky marinade over the previously sliced meat in the plastic bag and mix around making sure the marinade is evenly distributed throughout the bag. Marinate in the fridge for 6-24 hours mixing up the bag several more times while marinating.

Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky (3)

Drying the jerky

After marinating, strain the meat in a colander to remove any excess marinade. Patting dry with paper towels will also remove extra marinade and speed up the drying process.

Removing this extra marinade on the surface will also prevent the jerky from having a sticky feel when finished drying. Don't worry, most of the red pepper will remain and you will still have a nice spicy beef jerky.

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Decide how you want to dry your jerky, whether it be in a dehydrator, smoker, or oven. A Excalibur Dehydrator was used when making this jerky.

If using a dehydrator, place the strips on the trays making sure no pieces of meat are touching and leaving a little space in between to allow air to flow around freely.

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Dry on the high setting (165°F) for about 4 hours for a perfect finish. Start checking 3 hours into drying to see if it's finished.

This spicy beef jerky will be finished when it bends and breaks, but doesn't break in half. White fibers will also be seen when ripping the piece of jerky apart. These are all signs that the jerky is finished.


Can this recipe be made into ground beef jerky?

Yes! Simply omit the water from the recipe and keep everything else the same.

How long will the jerky last once finished dehydrating?

It depends on whether you used curing salt or not. Visit my storing beef jerky page for everything you need to know about storing jerky.

What else can I use instead of red pepper flakes?

Any hot pepper can be substituted. I like habaneros because they give a great spice, don't overpower flavor wise (like jalapenos), and can be found at local supermarkets year round.

Old Pro Tips

  • Marinate for 24 hours for full flavor.
  • Sprinkle on extra red pepper for more spice!
  • Don't leave out the sesame oil, it really adds a great flavor to this recipe.
  • Allow jerky to cool for 5 minutes before checking to see if it is finished drying.
Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky (6)

Other spicy jerky

  • The Ultimate Beef Jerky Recipe
  • Wicked Fiery Ground Beef Jerky
  • Beef Jerky Recipes (75+ Homemade Jerky Recipes)
Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky (10)

Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky (11)

Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky

This spicy beef jerky recipe is a great one that has an amazing sweet flavor followed by a spicy zing at the end. Rave reviews were received when I passed this jerky around at home and work. Everyone loved it!

4.3 from 135 votes

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Course: Beef Jerky

Cuisine: American

Type: Beef Jerky

Flavor: Sweet

Servings: 4

Calories: 267kcal

Author: Will


  • 1 lb Beef Top Round
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (ground)
  • 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup water (cold)


  • Trim all visible fat from the beef and place in freezer for an hour or two to partially freeze.

  • While the meat is in the freezer, combine marinade ingredients in a bowl or ziplock bag.

  • Remove the meat from the freezer and slice ¼" strips against the grain for an easy chew. Cut with the grain for a more chewy jerky. (I did not freeze the jerky since I bought already thinly sliced meat. I sliced the thin meat into 1" wide strips)

  • Add sliced beef to the mixture in the ziplock bag or bowl and marinate for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator.

  • After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and strain excess marinade in a colander and pat dry with paper towels.

  • Dry with your Dehydrator, Smoker, or Oven. I used my Excalibur Dehydrator and dried for 4 hours at 165F.

  • The jerky is finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half.

  • Store jerky in air tight containers in a cool, dark, and dry place such as a fridge or cabinet.

Pro Tips

  • Marinate for 24 hours for full flavor.
  • Sprinkle on extra red pepper for more spice!
  • Don't leave out the sesame oil, it really adds a great flavor to this recipe.
  • Allow jerky to cool for 5 minutes before checking to see if it is finished drying.


Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 884mg | Potassium: 301mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 295IU | Vitamin C: 1.5mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 3.3mg

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

More Beef Jerky Recipes

  • Kentucky Bourbon Beef Jerky
  • Homemade Dog Jerky
  • Tangy Flavored Beef Jerky
  • Smoked Beef Jerky with Frank's RedHot

Reader Interactions


  1. Jake

    I love this site thanks so much i had one question Why is it that some recipes only require 4 hrs like this one and others like the original require 7 hrs of drying shouldn't it take the same amo7nt of time to dehydrated the meat?


    • Will

      The drying time is really going to vary on the dehydrator you are using, what cut of meat you use, & how thick you cut your slices. Some ingredients will also coat the outside of the meat better and make drying take a little longer. Don't dehydrate for a certain amount of time. Start checking it at 4 hours and then keep drying as needed. Hope that helps!

  2. Lauri Peterson

    I plan on making this for gifts using ground venison. I'll be adding cure. If I vacuum seal (should I) would I need to add a desiccant pack?


    • Will

      I recommend vacuum sealing it in small amounts, snack sizes. You do not need to add any packs when doing this.


  3. Bruce A

    Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky (18)
    I just started getting into Jerky and have made four different recipes. So far I’m rating yours in first place! Delicious! Thanks!


  4. Brian R

    Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky (19)
    I found this recipe about a year ago. I’ve been playing around with it but to be honest the base is excellent on its own. Mostly the changes that I make are on the pepper side as I’ve got a ton of different pepper flake blends from family in Texas.


  5. Rob Endenburg

    Hi Wl,
    Made 3kg of this exceptional recipe since November 26 2021 and all is gone!! Going to get more meat today!.....Friends love it and now selling bags of it. Will look at your other recipes! Honed my skills some years ago living in the US but sometimes hard to get the good ol US fashion ingredients down under. 5 stars mate!


  6. Brenda

    If I was to dry it in the oven, how long would I dry it for and at what temperature Fahrenheit? Thank you!


    • Will

      Set your oven to it's lowest temperature, normally about 170°F and prop the door open about 1" or less with a wooden spoon to allow moisture to escape. Time will depend on how thick the jerky is, but start checking at about 4 hours.


  7. Mike

    Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky (20)
    How many times would you multiply this recipe for 12lbs of meat?


    • Will

      I would start with 8x and see if the marinade covers all the meat. If it doesn't, then make a little more marinade to cover.


  8. Rob Endenburg

    Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky (21)
    Made this recipe a couple of days ago with a few minor modifications on ingredients. Turned out excellent, tender, and tastes just like the description given. Nice sweet flavours followed by a hot zing release in mouth. Won't last long in my household! Top notch! You can regulate heat by chilli amount. Thanks Will. Rob from down under.


    • Will

      Thanks Rob! It normally doesn't last long when it tastes good! Ha.


  9. shawn

    If I wanted to put this in my PitBoss Vertical smoker, what Temp should I smoke these at and for how long? Also what Pellet flavor would you recommend? I am using the weber GrillMaster Blend Pellets right now.


    • Will

      Hey Shawn! I would smoke at 180-200°F and smoke for 2 hours and check. I have found that my Recteq pellet smoker will finish beef jerky VERY fast. Start at 2 hours and continue if not finished. Make sure to take a piece out of the smoker and allow it to cool for 5 minutes before testing. If you don't allow it to cool, you will most likely over dry the jerky.
      I have had good results with most of the competition blend pellets, but would smoke this with an apple wood or cherry wood. The grillmaster blend should work just fine on this jerky. Let me know how it turns out.


    • Sean

      Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky (22)
      I love this recipe! I also use a Pit Boss vertical and I'm a fan of a good smokey jerky so I run it at 150 till dry, usually 4 hours or so the way I slice em. Also, if you're a fan of heat like I am sprinkling a touch of hot pepper powder on the strips before smoking works great! I've spiced these up with a dusting of habanero and ghost pepper (separate batches) and it's fire! In a good way!!


  10. Brandon

    After 4 hours can you eat it? I see you mention store it.


    • Will

      Yes, you can totally eat it right after you take it off the dehydrator, smoker, or oven.


  11. Scott

    Made this 4 times now this is my go to snack.I really like the stack of flavors.I am hooked make it twice a month.thanks for such a good blend recipe.


    • Will

      Nice! No problem, I like this one a lot too!


      • Mike

        Could you adjust the recipe to do it with ground beef instead of sliced? Omit the water and maybe let it sit in a colander for a little while to get as much liquid out as possible before putting it in the jerky gun?

      • Will

        Definitely. Just omit the water like you mentioned.

4.25 from 135 votes (130 ratings without comment)

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