Masterbuilt Smoker Meat Jerky Recipe

Masterbuilt Smoker Meat Jerky Recipe

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Masterbuilt Smoker Meat Jerky Recipe
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Jerky is a great way to preserve meats. That said I have never seen a large batch of jerky last for more than a couple of days in my home. Preparing jerky in a smoker, rather than a dehydrator or oven, takes the flavor to a whole new dimension.

Because jerky requires a low and slow cooking method, the amount of smoke is not so high that it overpowers the taste of the meat. A lower temperature means that you also don’t have to babysit the smoker all day to replenish the wood chips every 45 to 60 minutes. Just be sure to keep the vent open 100% to encourage the smoke to circulate.

Most of the jerky I have made has been from lesser cuts of beef. Beef is easy because it doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through to avoid any chance of a food borne illness. Game meats, such as elk, caribou, and venison are similar to beef. Fish, such as salmon, also works well for the same reason. Poultry and pork are a little trickier in that they do need to be cooked all the way through. We’ll focus on beef, game meats, and pork in this article.

While you don’t want jerky that is completely dry as a bone, I recommend marinating your protein before smoking it. After it has marinated, let it smoke for a few hours on low heat to make sure it is cooked all the way. With beef, you may opt to skip the marinating process and just use your favorite dry rub. This results in a crispier texture. In these recipes we will aim for a finished product that is cooked through, steeped in flavor, and still slightly pliable – not a tooth breaker.

Quick Menu:
Some Basic Tips
Beef Jerky
Elk Jerky
Teriyaki Venison Jerky
Sweet Tea Pork Jerky
Candied Bacon Jerky

A Few Basic Tips

The recipes here are for a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. You can adjust the timing for charcoal and gas smokers, according to the Masterbuilt instructions. I’ve also smoked jerky in a Pit Boss, Bradley and Traeger smokers. Jerky turned out delicious in those smokers as well but check the meat often since your smoker might smoke the meat faster or slower than what mentioned in the instructions here. When making jerky in your Masterbuilt Electric Smoker there a few basic rules of thumb that I like to follow:

  • Marinate or dry rub the protein first.
  • Line the drip pan and water pan with aluminum foil for easy clean-up.
  • Lay the protein directly on the smoker grates, not a sheet pan.
  • Leave some air space between strips of protein.
  • Soak the wood chips for approximately 60 minutes before smoking.
  • Open the vent 100%.
  • Smoke most meats between 165 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Check at 2 to 3 hours and every 30 minutes after that, depending on the protein (see recipes).
  • Add more wood chips if necessary every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Store jerky in a sealable bag or glass jar in the refrigerator or freezer.

Basic Smoked Beef Jerky Recipe

Masterbuilt Smoker Beef Jerky


  • 1 lb London broil, trimmed of fat, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 3/4 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBsps sea salt
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 2 TBS blackstrap molasses
  • 1 TBS cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 bottle stout or dark beer (divided into 2)
  • Hickory or mesquite wood chips, soaked in water

Total time:4 hourPrep time:30 min + 8 hours to marinate – Smoke time:3 hour 30 min – Serves:4 people


1. Place the London broil in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make your marinade: Combine all of the other ingredients, using only 1/2 of the beer in a large baking dish.

2. Slice the semi-frozen beef into 1” wide x 1/4″ thick strips. Place these in a baking dish and cover with the marinade. Cover the dish and place it in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours, or overnight. You can also do this in a sealable plastic baggie.

3. Remove the beef strips from the marinade and pat them dry with paper towels.

4. Remove the racks from the smoker and layer the beef on as many racks as you need, leaving a little air space around each strip. Fill the water pan with the remaining beer and some water to bring it to 1/2 full. Add wood chips to the bottom tray. Turn the smoker on to 180˚F and set the timer for 3.5 hours. Place the racks with beef in the preheated smoker.

5. Check the wood chips and liquid at 2 hours. Add more if needed.

6. Allow the jerky to cool on the racks. Store in the refrigerator, or eat immediately!

Spicy Smoked Beef Jerky Recipe

If you want to spice up your beef jerky, you can use the basic recipe and add I to 2 TBS of your favorite hot sauce to the marinade. Or, mince a couple of whole red Thai chili peppers and add to the mixture. Remember to pat dry meat before smoking.

Smoked Elk Jerky Recipe

Elk is a super lean meat. It does help to pound the meat flat and marinate it with a bit of acid to soften the muscle. This recipe calls for orange juice to help break down the muscle fibers.


  • 1 lb of elk loin meat
  • 1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 TBS honey
  • 2 tsps onion powder
  • 2 tsps garlic powder
  • 1 tsp each of sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Water for the bowl
  • Any wood chips, soaked


1. Blend all of the marinade ingredients together in a large baking dish or sealable baggie.

2. Slice the elk against the grain into 1” wide x 1/4″ thick strips. Pound it a couple of times with a mallet just to loosen the muscle fibers. Place the meat in the marinade, cover, and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

3. Remove the racks from the smoker. Pat the elk dry with paper towels and lay the strips on the racks with air space between them.

4. Preheat your smoker to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill the pan with water. Add the soaked wood chips to the chip tray.

5. Place the grates with meat into the preheated smoker. Smoke for 4 to 6 hours. The meat should be firm but not completely dried out. Check the water pan and chip tray at 2.5 hours and add more of each if needed.

Teriyaki Smoked Venison Jerky Recipe

Venison is like elk in that it is very lean. The recipe here uses wine and sugar to break down the muscle fibers. If you are feeling adventurous, you can grind the venison (or buy it ground), marinate it, and form it into thin, flat strips to make a softer jerky. Frankly, I don’t have the equipment or patience to work with ground meat. I think ground meats work much better in a dehydrator than a smoker.


  • 1 lb venison roast or loin
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar or honey
  • 1/4 cup hardy, dry, red wine
  • 1 Tbsp mirin (rice wine vinegar)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
  • Unsweetened apple juice
  • Fruit wood chips, soaked (cherry or apple work well)


1. Blend all of the marinade ingredients together in a large baking dish or sealable baggie.

2. Slice the venison against the grain into 1” wide by 1/4″ thick strips. Pound it a couple of times with a mallet just to loosen the muscle fibers. Place the meat in the marinade, covered, and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

3. Pat the venison dry with paper towels and lay the strips on the racks that you have removed from the smoker.

4. Preheat your smoker to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill the pan with 1/2 water and 1/2 apple juice. Add the soaked wood chips to the chip tray.

5. Place the grates with the meat into the preheated smoker. Smoke for 4 to 6 hours. The meat should be firm but not completely dried out. Check the water pan and chip tray at 2.5 hours and add more of each if needed.

Sweet Tea Smoked Pork Jerky Recipe

I love smoked pork chops. They cook low and slow and retain their moisture. I have to admit that I never tried to make jerky from pork. My hesitation is that I feel it needs to cook a long time so it will be safe to eat but might be dried out. In fact, I had never eaten pork jerky. Pork is tricky in that it can be perfect one minute and cardboard one minute too long.

I did a lot of research on pork jerky and all of the recipes left me feeling like I was in for a long day of babysitting the smoker. Many pork jerky recipes call for using ground pork that has been pre-cooked in the oven. I just didn’t see the point of all that work.

I finally found a recipe that I could play with that seemed to make sense in both the preparation and the cook time. I have to give credit to the Girls Can Grill website for the recipe that I used as my inspiration. These ladies (and men) embrace grilling and smoking hailing from their southern roots.

The recipe that inspired me uses sweet tea, a staple of the southeast US. You can make your own or buy it premade. Perhaps the tea acts similar to a brine for the pork. I have linked to a homemade tea recipe.


  • 1 lb boneless center cut pork loin
  • 1/2 cup sweet tea
  • 1-1/2 TBS tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Another 1/2 cup sweet tea (+ more if needed)
  • Apple wood chips, soaked in water


1. Trim any fat and silver skin from the pork loin. Slice it into 1/4″ thick, or thinner, pieces. Place the pork in a sealable baggie.

2. In a bowl or pitcher combine the marinade ingredients. Pour into the bag and seal it tightly. Massage so that all the pork is well coated. Place the bag in a baking dish (in case it leaks) and refrigerate overnight.

3. Take the bag out and allow it to come to room temperature, approximately 30 minutes while you soak your wood chips and prepare the smoker. Preheat the smoker to 180˚F. Add 1/2 water and 1/2 sweet tea to the water tray. Add the wood chips to the side drawer.

4. Meanwhile, remove the pork from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Place the slices on the smoker racks with air space between each. Close the door of the smoker and let it go for approximately 1-1/2 hours.

5. At 90 minutes, check the water tray and wood ships. Add more sweet tea and chips if necessary. Smoke for another 60 to 90 minutes and check for dryness. You want the pork to be completely cooked through but not totally dried out. It should still have a small amount of flexibility so that it bends when handled, rather than breaking. If the pork isn’t cooked through, keep it in the smoker and check on it every 30 to 60 minutes.

This recipe may take a little trial and error.

Smoked Candied Bacon Jerky Recipe

Masterbuilt Smoker Bacon Jerky

I have saved the best for last in this series of meat jerky recipes. I would eat this for dessert. It is a snack that will disappear, so make plenty of it. Most of my recipes call for 1 pound of meat that you can adjust accordingly. With this recipe, I recommend making 2 to 3 pounds of smoky, candied bacon if your smoker is large enough.

Most bacon is already cured or salted and seasoned, so you really don’t have to marinate it. You can apply the flavorings and put it directly in the smoker if you like. I think letting the bacon sit overnight in syrup and spices does make it a little tastier.

This recipe does not call for exact quantities. You simply sprinkle and drizzle the ingredients over the layers of bacon.

Remember that bacon if fatty. So, line your water and drip trays with aluminum foil for easier cleanup.


  • 1 lb thick cut bacon
  • Pure maple syrup for drizzling (don’t use the fake stuff made from corn syrup)
  • Cayenne powder
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground black pepper
  • Brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
  • Water for tray
  • Hickory, maple, or mesquite wood chips


1. In a baking dish, place a layer of bacon pieces. Drizzle or brush on some maple syrup to lightly coat. Add a dusting of garlic and onion powder. Then, sprinkle a pinch of cayenne. Flip the fist layer of bacon over and add the same ingredients. Add another layer of bacon, syrup, and seasonings. Repeat until all the bacon is in the dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Take the grates out of the smoker. Fill the water bowl half way. Place chips in the tray. Preheat the smoker to approximately 225˚F.

3. Layer the bacon the wire racks, leaving a little room between each slice. Sprinkle with brown sugar. (This is a little messy, so be prepared to clean up sugar on your work surface). Place the racks in the smoker and open the vent. Smoke for 1 hour.

4. Remove the racks and flip the bacon over. Sprinkle the other side with brown sugar to coat. Smoke for one more hour until the bacon is brown and dry, but not crunchy. You may have to keep an eye on this and adjust the timing to get it properly cooked and to the texture you enjoy.

Comments: 26

  1. Tracy - February 9, 2018 at 6:38 pm Reply

    Do u have to use the water when u smoked the finished marinated jerky. can u smoke it without the water in the pan. in my other smoker I didnt use the water.

    • Richard - February 9, 2018 at 6:39 pm Reply

      I would not use water as you are trying to remove moisture to make jerky.

  2. Eric - February 20, 2018 at 1:04 am Reply

    Question… I made some ground beef jerky strips with a LEM Jerky Gun. Smoked it for 3 hrs and it’s pretty decent, I want to also dehydrate some and compare to the non-dehydrated version.

    Any tips on regular smoked non-deydrated ground beef jerky strips vs a deydraed version?

    Going to try some of your full beef chunks instead of ground with a marinade, of course I will dehydrate these.

  3. Horace - October 12, 2018 at 10:18 pm Reply

    what do you do if making 5 pounds of jerky do u increase ingredients five times?

    • Daniel - April 3, 2020 at 9:48 pm Reply

      Pro-Tip: skewer the ends of the meat strips with toothpicks and hang between the grates. You can fit a ton more meat with air space and they get evenly smoked. You can fit 2 or 3 pieces of meat per toothpick instead of just 1.

      • rita m nobles - December 23, 2020 at 1:45 am Reply

        daniel a regular metal skewer works great too less cumbersome than tooth picks

  4. Phil Trujillo - January 11, 2019 at 5:36 am Reply

    Your recipe for the beef jerky says this one an electric smoker. Is recipe and methods that same for a Masterbuilt propane smoker? Thank you.

    • JasonN - January 11, 2019 at 9:15 am Reply

      This recipe should work just fine also on a propane smoker but I have tried it only using an electric smoker. If you try it on a propane smoker, please report back how it went.

      • Larry Mitchell - August 2, 2020 at 1:49 pm Reply

        Works great in a gas smoker ..I’ve made this recipe 4 or 5 times now in my smoke vault..comes out amazing..just gotta watch your temp more with the gas smokers..

  5. Brian - February 7, 2019 at 3:50 pm Reply

    You say to open vent 100% when smoking jerkey. My master built electric smoker does not have o vent. What now? How do I get the smoke to flow thru the smoker now? Only venting is around door seal.

    • sean - June 20, 2020 at 11:25 pm Reply

      You must have a vent bud on top

  6. Scott - February 12, 2019 at 1:02 pm Reply

    My MES doesn’t generate smoke at that low of a temperature. I always have to start at 200 or so for an hour of smoke before I turn the temperature down to 160 in order to dry out the meat.

    • House - March 10, 2021 at 9:15 pm Reply

      I have the MB 40” Digital electric and it pours smoke at 140 degrees.

      • Steve - June 29, 2021 at 10:12 pm Reply

        Do a modification on the tray if it doesn’t sit low enough. Mine wouldn’t smoke until 240F. Now smokes at 180F no problem.

        • Rick - September 30, 2021 at 12:26 am Reply

          What was your modification to the tray? I have a new 40″ blue tooth and the tray is smaller than my old 30″ digital. Also having trouble smoking the chips at low temps.

          • lucky - October 11, 2022 at 11:16 pm

            I added the cold smoker attachment to mine and it works great, smokes at low temps. no matter how low

  7. Joseph Kessler - July 14, 2019 at 8:44 pm Reply

    Can you use pork belly instead of bacon for the bacon jerky?

    • William Pack - April 8, 2020 at 12:20 am Reply

      It’s the same cut of meat, just uncut, uncured and unsmoked. As I understand it …

      • David Webb - August 4, 2022 at 1:29 am Reply

        Same problem with mine…no smoke at low Temps. I bought an electric smoker box that mounts in place of the side chip tray. Works much better than before but I’m still not 100% satisfied.

  8. justin - May 6, 2020 at 10:04 pm Reply

    Can the teriyaki marinade also be used on the London Broil?

  9. Craig Schmidt - May 9, 2020 at 7:26 pm Reply

    Can you use the smoker without the chips to just dehydrate the beef?

  10. M Wally - November 2, 2020 at 3:42 pm Reply

    Hello. I’m planning to smoke 8lbs of meat so how much of these ingredients am I supposed to use ? Do I multiply all items by 8 ?

  11. T C - November 27, 2020 at 9:04 pm Reply

    Made Venison Jerky today for the first time in my MES. Set the temp at 175 with no water in the pan and to my surprise the jerky turned out very good. First batch I left in for two hours before checking and it was a tad bit dry using hickory. Second batch I used mesquite and cooked for and hour and a half and was perfect. Found some grilling grates at Wally world in the grilling/charcoal section which worked out great to put the meat on. One question I have is why do all recipes I see say to dry the meat off before putting in the smoker? I did not pat mine dry and as stated previously, I think it turned out pretty darn good for the first go around. I also used the MES heat jacket for the first time as a precaution since outside temps were in the mid 50’s here in VA today. Surprisingly it worked well to help keep a steady temp.

  12. Don Herold - May 24, 2021 at 12:55 pm Reply

    I made the bacon jerky. Needless to say it was a HUGE hit. Instead of cayenne pepper I used my favorite dry rub.. Does this need to be kept in the refrigerator ? We are going to be a h for a week and want to take plenty of this tasty treat!

  13. Chad - January 12, 2022 at 9:43 pm Reply

    Nubie asking. If you’re trying to dry and dehydrate the beef, why would you add a liquid inside. Just asking.

  14. Tom - March 27, 2023 at 3:10 am Reply

    Do I preheat the electric smoker prior to putting in the beef?

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