Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky Recipe

Jerky is the ultimate meat snack and there is no shortage of variations. Turkey jerky, deer jerky, and bacon jerky are top contenders, but undoubtedly, one of the most sought after is Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky. 

While Jack Link and Country Archer put out excellent jerky, the savory, smokey goodness of Wild Bill’s is hard to beat, but not always easy to find. 

Luckily, jerky is surprisingly easy to make at home! With a few simple tricks, you can create this premium snack in your oven and it will taste like fresh hickory-smoked beef jerky. 

How to make Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky 

Wild Bill’s is a subsidiary of Monogram Foods, which prides itself on quality and sustainability. As such, Monogram meat snacks like pork belly bites, meat sticks, and beef jerky stand out due to their high-quality ingredients. 

That being said, to make this recipe, buy the highest quality beef you can source within your budget. Not only will this help with taste and texture, but it will also help with longevity. 

For this recipe, we’ll be using flank steak, which is thin-cut lean meat. Flank is usually found next to the ground meat in most grocers, however, try to purchase your meat from a butcher or at your grocer’s meat counter if possible.

If you’re purchasing your beef at a butcher shop or at your grocer’s meat counter, have the butcher cut the flank into long, thin strips. Just tell them you’re making jerky; they’ll know what to do. 

If you buy your steak pre-cut, pound it out as thinly as possible without pounding a hole into it (about ⅛ inch thick) and cut it into even strips. Each strip should be roughly 3 inches wide. 

For the marinade, we’ll use soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and liquid smoke. There is more than enough salt in the marinade from the sauces, so we don’t need to add extra. 

Some jerky purists might give you grief over bottled smoke, but it works very well in this application and is crucial for getting that iconic smokey flavor without using a smoker. 

The beef should marinate for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 24 hours. The longer it sits, the more flavorful it will become, however, a shorter rest time will yield a tougher, more authentic texture. 

Lastly, the beef strips will go into a 175°F oven for 3-4 hours until they appear leathery and dry. 

As you can see, it’s a pretty simple process, but here are the specifics. 

Ingredients:

(15 servings)

  • 2.5lbs flank steak pounded thin and cut into 3 inch wide strips  
  • 1 cup soy sauce 
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2-3 tsp liquid smoke (use more or less depending on preference and potency of the brand you’re using)
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1.5 tsp onion powder
  • 1.5 tbsp brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional) 

Instructions:

Though the hands-on time for beef jerky is minimal, it’s best to start the process the night before so you aren’t bound to your house or kitchen all day.

Step 1:

In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, Worcestershire, smoke, sugar, and spices. Whisk together until the sugar has dissolved and the spices are integrated. 

Step 2:

Set a large bowl next to the marinade bowl. 

Dunk the beef strips one at a time into the marinade, flipping over a few times to make sure the entire strip is coated. Transfer to the large bowl. 

Repeat this process until all of the steak strips have been dunked and coated.

Transfer any remaining marinade to the large bowl and give the steak a mix with your hand. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the meat until there is no air between the plastic and the beef and it’s tightly covered. 

Cover the bowl with another piece of plastic (or foil) and allow the beef to rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. 

Step 3:

Once the beef is done marinating, preheat the oven to 175°F. 

Place a wire baking rack on top of a large baking sheet. Gently lay the beef strips across the wire rack. They can be close together or touching, but they shouldn’t overlap. 

If all the strips don’t fit on one tray, two trays in the oven at once is fine. However, if you don’t have two wire racks leave the steaks in the marinade and dry them out in two batches. 

Step 4:

While the beef is in the oven, every 30 minutes or so, open the oven and do a fanning motion with the door. 

This will allow excess moisture and steam to escape and help keep the air in the oven dry. The goal is to rid the beef of as much moisture as possible. 

Step 5:

Start to check for doneness at the 3-hour mark. Once the beef has completely dried and resembles old, worn-down leather, it’s finished.

Once finished, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes until handleable, and cut the beef stick into 2 to 3-inch strips using a pair of kitchen shears. 

Serve and enjoy! 

Ingredients substitutions 

If you’re making Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky at home but find yourself without a few key ingredients, don’t worry! There is plenty of room for substitutions. 

Most of the substitutions in this recipe will have a 1-to-1 swap, but remember there are no hard and fast rules! If you want to use this hickory-smoked beef jerky recipe as a base for teriyaki beef jerky or peppered jerky go for it! 

Here are some suggested swaps. 

1. Tamari 

If you don’t have soy sauce on hand or are looking to curb your gluten intake, tamari is a great swap. 

Tamari is fermented without wheat, and has a more nuanced flavor than soy sauce, but is slightly less salty. If you use tamari, add 2 teaspoons of salt to the marinade to account for the salt content in regular soy sauce. 

If you want a less intense jerky, tamari is definitely the way to go!

2. Smoked paprika 

Bottled smoke isn’t a common pantry item, and unless you plan on making Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky regularly, it isn’t mandatory for this recipe. Instead, you can use smoked paprika!

Smoked paprika has a slew of uses and it’s much more likely you’ll find it nestled in your spice cabinet. It will yield a more delicate smoke flavor and is significantly less potent. 

As such, use at least 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika if you decide to forgo the imitation smoke. 

3. Beef top round

If you want a super dry and leathery jerky, top round is great to use in place of the flank. It has great flavor despite being incredibly lean and works well in any beef jerky recipe!  

Now that your beef jerky is ready to go, it’s time to think about how you’re going to consume it!

What to serve with Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky

Though Wild Bills Beef Jerky is at the top tier of the premium snacks pyramid, there are more ways to eat it than straight out of the bag. Here are some of our favorite ways to serve it.

Salad 

It may sound weird but hear us out. Beef jerky on top of a fresh salad with a creamy dressing is the food combination you didn’t know you needed. 

Not only does it have the same effect as bacon bits without the oily residue, but it also offers a smokey richness that works incredibly well with the fresh and creamy elements. 

Use your kitchen shears or a very sharp knife to cut the jerky into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle it on your next salad!

Ice cream 

Think hickory-smoked beef jerky and ice cream don’t go together? Think again! 

The super savory smoked beef is a perfect foil to sweet, refreshing ice creams and many chef-driven restaurants have been adding meaty elements to their desserts for years! 

Reach for vanilla, bourbon, or butter pecan ice cream and serve it with a side of Wild Bills beef jerky. You may come away with a new favorite ice cream combo! 

There are so many interesting uses for beef jerky, and luckily this recipe keeps for a long time so you can experiment at your own pace! Until then, you’ll need to safely store it for later use. 

How to store Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky 

Due to the high salt content and the absence of moisture, dried meat has an above-average shelf-life. However, you want to avoid temperatures that are too cold or too warm.  

Preferably you’d keep it in a dry environment with a consistent ambient temperature such as the pantry. If stored correctly, it will keep for 1-2 months. 

How to store in the pantry 

Transfer the remaining jerky to a hinge-lidded glass container with a rubber stopper. This will ensure the tightest seal and give off the least amount of moisture.  

Once the jerky is concealed, store it in the pantry for up to 2 months. If you see any mold or discoloration, discard it. 

If you don’t have a pantry fit for storage, you can also store it on the counter. 

How to store on the counter 

To store on the counter, follow the same method as the pantry. Once transferred to the appropriate container, store in the coolest, driest part of your kitchen. 

Try to stay away from the stove, microwave, or any appliance that gives off heat. Keep out of any direct sunlight, as this could encourage mold growth. 

If your kitchen counter doesn’t have the right storage environment, as a last resort you can also freeze the jerky. 

How to store in the freezer 

To store in the freezer, transfer the jerky to a freezer-safe zip-lock bag and remove as much air as you possibly can. If you have a vacuum sealer, that would be ideal. 

Once there is minimal air in the bag, freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter a few hours before using. If any slime or questionable substances appear after thawing, do not eat. 

Do not refreeze. 

wild bills beef jerky recipe

Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky Recipe

Beef jerky is a much sought-after high-protein meat snack and one of the most beloved brands is Wild Bill’s. Smokey, savory, and slightly sweet, Wild Bill’s is the gold standard for jerky enthusiasts but it isn’t carried everywhere. Luckily, it’s incredibly easy to make at home!
4.67 from 15 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Resting Time 3 hrs
Total Time 7 hrs 10 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 15 people
Calories 50 kcal
Equipment
  • wire baking rack
  • kitchen shears
  • meat tenderizer
Ingredients
  
  • 2.5 lbs flank steak pounded thin and cut into 3 inch wide strips
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2-3 tsp liquid smoke (use more or less depending on preference and potency of the brand you’re using)
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1.5 tsp onion powder
  • 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional) 
Instructions
 
  • In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, Worcestershire, smoke, sugar, and spices. Whisk together until the sugar has dissolved and the spices are integrated. 
  • Set a large bowl next to the marinade bowl. 
    Dunk the beef strips one at a time into the marinade, flipping over a few times to make sure the entire strip is coated. Transfer to the large bowl. 
    Repeat this process until all of the steak strips have been dunked and coated.
    Transfer any remaining marinade to the large bowl and give the steak a mix with your hand. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the meat until there is no air between the plastic and the beef and it's tightly covered. 
    Cover the bowl with another piece of plastic (or foil) and allow the beef to rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
  • Once the beef is done marinating, preheat the oven to 175°F. 
    Place a wire baking rack on top of a large baking sheet. Gently lay the beef strips across the wire rack. They can be close together or touching, but they shouldn’t overlap. 
    If all the strips don’t fit on one tray, two trays in the oven at once is fine. However, if you don’t have two wire racks leave the steaks in the marinade and dry them out in two batches. 
  • While the beef is in the oven, every 30 minutes or so, open the oven and do a fanning motion with the door. 
    This will allow excess moisture and steam to escape and help keep the air in the oven dry. The goal is to rid the beef of as much moisture as possible. 
  • Start to check for doneness at the 3-hour mark. Once the beef has completely dried and resembles old, worn-down leather, it’s finished.
    Once finished, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes until handleable, and cut the beef stick into 2 to 3-inch strips using a pair of kitchen shears. 
    Serve and enjoy! 
Nutrition
Calories: 50kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 9gFat: 1gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 580mgSugar: 1gCalcium: 20mgIron: 0.7mg
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