Homemade ground beef jerky is just as flavorful as its steak counterpart, but is more economical. And this recipe tastes just like Persian koobideh kabob. Sponsored by Harris Ranch Beef.
When my kids were little, they preferred grazing all day to sitting down for a meal 3-times. Now that they are older, it’s like their snacks are the size of a meal and they are eating all day long!
Protein based snacks curb your hunger better than carb based snacks, but there’s just so much nuts and cheese sticks I can get my kids to eat. My husband began making homemade beef jerky several years ago and the kids absolutely love it.
To mix things up a bit, we decided to spread our jerky wings and try a new variety for them. And you are going to love these koobideh kabob jerky treats as much as we do!
Why you must try this recipe
Jerky is a way to preserve thin slices of meat by drying it completely to prevent it from spoiling. This was a great way to make meat last for months and months. Today, there are all kinds of meat jerky to sample.
You can make jerky using any variety of meat like beef, deer, turkey and chicken. So when you hear about meat jerky, you are thinking of the classic thinly sliced bits of dried meat. But did you know you can make jerky using ground meat, too?
To make ground beef jerky you are still drying it completely of moisture. It is typically mixed with spices and very little liquid, although you can mix in soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce. Jerky guns are used to press out the ground meat mixture into thin tubes or flat pieces directly onto racks.
The meat is then dried in the oven or in dehydrators until completely dried. What you end up with is a very flavorful jerky that is more tender to chew than the classic sliced meat jerky. So if you are jerky fan, you’ve got to try my koobideh kabob jerky!
See my Koobideh Kebab Ground Beef Jerky Web Story for a quick visual guide to making this recipe.
If you are new to Persian food, you have probably heard of kabob. It is the middle eastern equivalent to barbecued meat but using metal skewers. Koobideh kabob is made with ground beef. Sometimes it is a mixture of ground lamb and beef, depending on personal taste.
The trick to making traditional koobideh is to get the mixture just right so it stays on the flat skewers while it cooks over an open flame. Too watery and the meat falls off. Not enough fat and the meat falls off. Cook the meat too fast and not uniformly, well, you get it: the meat falls off.
I have already shared with you the Persian kabab burger, which gives you all the flavors of our favorite kabob in hamburger form. This koobideh jerky is another tribute to my family’s favorite meal. The flavors are spot on with traditionally made kooobideh but dehydrated into a healthy and delicious protein packed snack.
Best cut of meat to use
When you are making a recipe where one ingredient is highlighted and taking center stage, you really should choose a high quality ingredient. Why bake a pie using bland and boring berries when your pie could shine with delicious sweet strawberries from the farmer’s market?
The same is true with ground beef jerky. The spices add tremendous flavor, but by choosing a better quality of ground beef, your jerky will turn out even tastier. So for this koobideh jerky recipe, I used ground beef from Harris Ranch.
If you live in California, then you probably have heard of Harris Ranch Beef Company. Established in Coalinga, CA in 1937, this family run ranch is an icon in the ranching industry. They are the only rancher that controls the entire beef production process, from the ranchers who raise the cattle to the custom made feed at the feed lot to their own processing plant.
You probably have heard people raving about the flavor of grass fed beef. But Harris Ranch’s grass fed and grain finished beef repeatedly beats purely grass fed beef in blind taste tests. And I’m not just talking steaks, either.
The cattle used to produce Harris Ranch beef spend approximately 80% of the time grazing on western ranches. When the cows come to the feeding lots after 18-24 months of grazing on grass, they are fed custom made feed.
Harris Ranch mills all of their own feeds under the guidance of a consulting animal nutritionist. Probiotics and vitamins are added to keep the cattle healthy. I toured Harris Ranch’s feeding lot last year with my family and we were really impressed to see how well the animals are treated and how much attention is made to keep them healthy and stress free.
So when it came to choosing the best ground beef for my jerky, I turned to Harris Ranch. Just like the sliced meat jerky, you want to use meat that is low in fat. Fat causes meat to spoil, so for ground beef jerky you want to use lean ground meat that has at most 10% fat.
Harris Ranch’s ground beef can be found both 90% and 93% lean varieties. Remember, a higher quality of ground beef yields a better tasting ground beef jerky. If you can’t find Harris Ranch ground beef in your stores, you can order from Harris Ranch online.
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy
Ingredients you need
- Ground beef: For ground beef jerky, you need lean ground beef. So look for 90-93% lean meat.
- Seasonings: Onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, sea salt and sumac (optional).
- Pink curing salt #1: This pink curing salt keeps your jerky fresh longer. And it’s pink color gives your jerky that reddish color.
1. In a bowl, thoroughly mix and combine the ground beef with onion powder, pepper, garlic powder and both salts. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
2. To make ground beef jerky you need a jerky gun/cannon. It’s like a sturdy chalking gun. Pack the meat mixture into the tube of your gun making sure there are no air pockets. Then gently squeeze out the meat onto the drying racks of your dehydrator. We used the flat jerky nozzle, which was about 1-inch wide. Koobideh kabab is typically flat and long, so the meat was already resembling our inspirational meal.
You can also line your racks with parchment paper and squeeze out the meat onto that for easier cleanup.
If you want to add sumac, sprinkle it now over the top of the ground beef strips.
3. Place drying racks in the dehydrator and cook at 170ºF for 3-6 hours until the ground beef is totally dry. Check after 3 hours and dry as needed by checking meat every half hour. You want the meat to not break if gently bent. If it easily cracks then you have over dried your meat.
Recipe tips and FAQs
I have shared before our technique for making oven beef jerky without a dehydrator. But since my husband makes so much jerky for friends and family, I got tired of the mess he’d make in our oven. We found a fabulous food dehydrator on Craigs List similar to this one and now use it for all of our jerky creations.
It dehydrates the meat perfectly and quickly – and without the mess! Before you dehydrate the beef, you can sprinkle some sumac over the top, as Persian kabob is served with this wonderful tangy spice. It is not pictured here in this post, but if you choose to use sumac, sprinkle it before you dehydrate the meat so the spice can stick to it.
Typically homemade beef jerky should last 1-2 months depending on the amount of fat and moisture your jerky has. Both affects spoilage, so make sure you use lean meat (90% or leaner) and the meat is completely dry before storage. Oxygen is also a factor in the shelf life of beef jerky. You can store your ground beef jerky in air tight containers. You can also add food grade oxygen absorbers in the container which helps prevent bacteria growth. Another option is to use vacuum sealers to remove all oxygen. We store our beef jerky in resealable bags with a paper towel in it inside our pantry. You know your beef jerky has gone bad as it has darkened in color, hardened and changed in smell. I’ve never tested the theory because our homemade beef jerky (both the traditional and this ground beef version) gets eaten up by the family way before turning rancid!
Uses for ground beef jerky
Meat jerky like this recipe make a great source of protein and snack for those on a low carb or keto diet. It is also super kid friendly. My niece’s two toddlers can’t get enough of their uncle’s beef jerky!
I have shared before that we are a scouting family and go on many camping trips and hikes. My husband is an avid backpacker and is always looking for delicious meal options that won’t weigh his backpack down. Meat jerky is a great source of protein and energy for eating on the go.
Looking for an easy and delicious backpacking meal? Make some instant rice and mix in your koobideh jerky for a Persian feast in the great outdoors!
- 2 lbs lean ground beef (90% lean)
- 6 TBS onion powder
- 2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pink curing salt #1
- 1 TBS sumac (optional)
- In a bowl, thoroughly mix and combine the ground beef with onion powder, pepper, garlic powder and both salts.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
- Using a jerky gun/cannon, stuff it with the meat mixture.
- Squeeze out long ropes of your ground beef mix onto your dehydrator racks.
- You can also line your racks with parchment paper and squeeze out the meat onto that for easier cleanup.
- If you want to add sumac, sprinkle it now over the top of the ground beef strips.
- Place drying racks in the dehydrator and cook at 170ºF for 3-6 hours until the ground beef is totally dry. Check after 3 hours and dry as needed by checking meat every half hour.
- You want the meat to not break if gently bent. If it easily cracks than you have over dried your meat.
Don't have a jerky gun? Spread meat mixture onto parchment paper and use a rolling pin to flatten the meat about ¼-inch thick. Use a knife to cut into strips about 1-inch wide. Transfer to dehydrator racks or dehydrate in the oven.
To dehydrate in the oven, heat oven to 170ºF and place the racks in your oven. Prop your oven door closed with a kitchen towel. Do not close it completely. Bake for 1 hour, then turn oven off for 30 minutes. Bake again for 1 hour at 170ºF and continue this method of drying out the meat until beef jerky is dry to touch.
When jerky is completely dry and cooled, store in an air tight container in a cool dark place. Homemade beef jerky can last for up to 2 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 114Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 227mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 13g
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Disclosure: I did receive a stipend from Harris Ranch Beef Company to develop a burger recipe using their ground beef. The story I have written is all true, and the opinions are truly mine. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t blog about it.