Easy Soy-Free Beef Jerky Recipe


I wasn’t quite sure what to call this jerky? Gluten-Free Beef Jerky? Low-FODMAP Beef Jerky? Easy Paleo Beef Jerky? Refined Sugar-Free Beef Jerky? Tasty Beef Jerky (now there’s a winner)? Because all the names fit.

Easy Soy-Free Beef Jerky

I wasn’t quite sure what to call this jerky? Gluten-Free Beef Jerky? Low-FODMAP Beef Jerky? Easy Paleo Beef Jerky? Refined Sugar-Free Beef Jerky? Tasty Beef Jerky (now there’s a winner)? Because all the names fit. I settled on “Easy Soy-Free Beef Jerky” because I think that’s what makes this recipe a standout.

Most jerky you buy contains soy sauce—some use tamari (which is gluten-free soy sauce), some do not (so read those labels). This particular recipe uses coconut aminos, a slightly less salty coconut-derived replacement for soy sauce.

After much trial and error I have come to learn that the making of jerky is an art. The subtlest of alterations to a recipe can have a profound effect on the final taste. What I really like about this coconut amino-based jerky recipe is that no one ingredient is overpowering, and there’s a perfect balance of sweet and salt.

I’ve been making big batches (3-4 pounds of meat at a time) because having a high-protein snack at the ready keeps me from scarfing my way through a bag of corn chips—and I’m never at a loss for what to pack the kids for a school snack.

When making jerky, choose a very lean cut of meat. Fat (even dried fat) will go rancid—that’s why I refrigerate my jerky to appease my paranoia. Top round steak, flank steak and rump roast are the best cuts for making jerky. About half the time I will use bison.

A Tip for Slicing Meat

I could have kissed the butcher at Whole Foods yesterday. As he was wrapping up my three pounds of London broil, he asked if I wanted him to slice it for me. Oh yeah, baby! “You don’t mind?” I asked. He said it would be a pleasure. And he kindly saved me 15 minutes of slicing it myself. So note to self, ask your butcher to slice the meat for you.

If you have already have the meat home and will be cutting it yourself, placing the meat in the freezer until firm but not rock hard will help you achieve super-thing slices. For jerky that the kids can easily chew (and not choke on), cut slices across the grain, in 1/8″ thick strips. If you prefer gnawing on your dried meat, slice with the grain into 1/4″ by strips.

Easy Soy-Free Beef Jerky Recipe

Easy Soy-Free Beef Jerky Recipe


  • 2.5 pounds very lean beef, bison or wild game trimmed of all fat (see Notes)
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced


  1. Combine coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, sugar, liquid smoke, salt and ginger in a large glass container with tight-fitting lid or in a large zip-top bag.
  2. Close and shake until most of the sugar and salt has dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Slice meat (see notes).
  4. Add meat to the brine, seal, toss and refrigerate for 6-8 hours, turning once or twice.
  5. Preheat dehydrator at its highest setting (my Excalibur's is 165?F).
  6. Drain off brine, discard slices of ginger and arrange strips of meat on dehydrator trays.
  7. Place trays in dehydrator and dehydrate 4-6 hours at your dehydrator's highest setting (my Excalibur's is 165?F).
  8. How do you know when jerky is done? Test a strip for dryness by letting it cool to room temperature then slightly bend the jerky. The meat should crack, not break, when bent. It should be firm, but flexible. If it snaps it was dehydrated too long. It will still taste fine, it just may be a little crispy. If it doesn't crack, dehydrate until it does. After a batch or two you will get the hang of it.
  9. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within a week or two.


Round steak, flank steak, or rump roast are the best cuts of meat for making jerky. For easy-to-chew jerky, slice meat against the grain, into approximately 1" wide by 4" long by 1/8" thick strips. If you prefer gnawing on your dried meat, slice WITH the grain into 1/4" by 5" strips.


More Good Stuff


Lyn Ott February 2, 2015 - 2:30 am

I’ve always wanted to make jerky but have been a little intimidated by the whole process. This sounds easy to me! Do you ever freeze your jerky? If I went through the work of making it, I’d probably want to make a larger batch but I don’t think I could eat that much in a week or two.

Lexie February 2, 2015 - 4:12 am

Lyn, it would freeze very well. You’ll be surprised by how fast you chew your way through it 🙂 xoLexie

Cassidy's Craveable Creations February 20, 2015 - 9:48 pm

This looks great! I tried to make beef jerky awhile back but it didn’t turn out so great, so I’m excited to try this recipe! Thanks for linking it up to Gluten Free Wednesdays 🙂


Lexie March 2, 2015 - 8:49 pm

Cassidy, I hope you like it 🙂 xo

Dawn Dodge February 27, 2015 - 9:07 pm

Thanks for this. I think I need to cut my beef thinner, mine ends up so chewy.

Lexie March 2, 2015 - 8:48 pm

Yes, thin makes it a bit more chewable — but it also dehydrates faster and can get crispy. I like it any way 🙂

Shanna July 8, 2016 - 12:09 pm

Has anybody tried this with ground beef? I’d like the seasonings but am unsure of how to adjust it to not be a marinade.

Alexa July 9, 2016 - 9:42 pm

I have always wanted to try a ground beef jerky, but always chicken out … plus I don’t have a meat grinder and from what I have read only lean meats should be used for jerky as the fat can go rancid. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

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[…] Easy Soy Free Beef Jerky […]

Joanna July 30, 2018 - 5:35 am

Can this be made without liquid smoke? I have a sensitivity to it.

Alexa August 2, 2018 - 3:58 pm

Yes, it sure can! 🙂

Jeanne November 1, 2018 - 9:40 am

Can I omit the sugar? I’m very hypoglycemic and can’t do sugar (gives me migraines). Or could I sub with monk fruit sugar? Is the sugar essential to preserving the meat?

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[…] 21. Beef jerky […]

Rachel October 7, 2020 - 8:30 am

I found your recipe while looking for a way to make elk jerky soy free, it’s in the brine now! My 11 yo and I made it last night. We plan to use the air frier on 145-165 to dehydrate. Does anyone have experience using this machine for the dehydrating? I think the convection air might speed the cooking time significantly..

Sheila October 24, 2020 - 3:18 pm

If you vacuum seal, will it last longer?

Alexa March 17, 2021 - 11:27 am

Sheila, I’d love to comment here, but I am no expert at food preservation and don’t want to be responsible for someone eating bad jerky … not saying that it would go bad … I just don’t know 🙂

Angel March 23, 2021 - 8:37 pm

Typically vacuum sealed jerky will last up to 2 yrs if stored in a cool, dry, dark place. But the freezer is a great alternative if you have any fears!


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