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Harissa Root Beer Jerky

My go to Beef or Pork Jerky recipe these days is a variation of the ever so popular Dr. Pepper Jalapeno mix that so many people enjoy. In multiple blind taste tests though, my Root Beer Harissa mix has scored victory after victory! I’ve even tried a few commercial jerky rubs in those taste and we’ve eeked it out every time! 

NOTE: As with most of our recipes, we try very hard to make all our dishes diabetic, Paleo and Keto friendly. Feel free to substitute other meat cuts as well. We mostly use Round Sirloin Roasts or London Broil which ever we find at Whole Foods or Sprouts on sale!  ALSO, we RARELY make 1 batch (noted below); usually we are doubling this recipe!

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INGREDIENTS (1 Batch)
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  • Sirloin Round Roast – (3 lbs) - sliced
  • Diet Root Beef (we use A&W) – 2 cups
  • Harissa Hot Chili Paste (we use Trader Joe’s) – 2 tablespoons
  • Worcestershire Sauce – 2 tablespoons
  • Kosher Salt – 2 tablespoons
  • Black Pepper – 2 tablespoons
  • Garlic Powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Onion Powder – 1 teaspoon


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PREPARATION
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  • Combine all wet ingredients in an appropriate size saucepan. Medium pan is usually good but like I mentioned, we are usually always doubling the above recipe.
  • Next add all the remaining ingredients.  Stir well.
  • Bring your marinade to a boil stirring occasionally.  Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the marinade has reduced by 50%.
  • Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to an appropriate non-metal bowl. Put into the fridge so it can cool completely.
  • While your marinade is cooling, slice up your round roast to your preferred thickness. NOTE: Thickness is a bit of a personal choice. I prefer my jerky about 1/8” thick. Some like it thicker – some thinner. If you have the benefit of using a meat slicer, then you have choices.  If you are slicing by hand, then thicker may be what you end up with.  Check with your favorite butcher as many times they will slice it for you.  Now, should you slice with or against the grain? Again, that’s a personal choice. We usually slice ours cross grain but will slice some with the grain as well.

  • Once the marinade is completely cooled, then add the sliced meat into a 1-gallon size strong zip top bag. If you doubled the recipe, then put ½ the meat each into 1-gallon zip top bags.
  • Next add the marinade to the zip top bag (get it all in there!!). Massage the marinade and meat thoroughly making sure to remove as much air as possible. Seal the bag.
  • Place your zip top bag flat in your refrigerator for minimum 8 hours but we prefer overnight. Making sure its as flat and spread out as possible to ensure maximum contact between the marinade and the meat.

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SMOKE
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  • Start your smoker and pre-heat to 180F. For jerky, we prefer a strong smoke wood like Hickory or Mesquite.
  • Remove your jerky from the fridge and spread out in single layers on 3-4 sheet thick paper towels.  Grab some extra paper towels and pat the meat mostly dry. Check both sides of the meat and dry as needed.

  • Next layer the slices of meat onto your PhatMat Grill Mesh. Since we always have 6-8 mats around, we create layer after layer of meat on the mats in preparation for smoking.  You can use a metal jerky rack as well. Since we love to eat all of our jerky, we do not advise just using the grill grates themselves.

  • Transfer the Grill Mesh with jerky to the smoker and leave for 2-3 hours. We usually check the jerky after 90 minutes to ensure it is drying evenly and adjust/turn/move pieces as may be needed.

  • Your jerky is ready when the pieces are firm but still a little pliable, but not wet or soft.  You have over dried your jerky if you can ben the pieces and they break.  However, if you do over dry it, it will still be fine (just a bit harder but still excellent!).
  • Use your Chill Gloves to safely remove the Grill Mesh w/jerky from the smoker. Again, having multiple Grill Mesh pre-loaded with jerky is so much easier than having to load/unload jerky pieces onto a metal jerky rack while in the smoker. Just safely pull the one Grill Mesh off and place a re-loaded Grill Mesh in its spot. Smoke on!
  • Place all pieces of jerky into a gallon size zip top bag while still warm and mostly seal the top. Mostly means leave 1-2 inches of the zip top bag open. This steams the jerky in the bag adding moisture. Leave in the bag until cooled.
  • Jerky made this way will last 6-8 days in the fridge. We usually portion out about 1 pound of jerky and place in the fridge. We take the rest and portion into 8 ounce sizes placing the portions into food saver bags and sealing.  In this way, we can freeze the jerky until some future time when we want to consume it.
  • Jerky made this way is a healthy, very low glycemic level, excellent anytime protein snack. Favorites of both the kids and my diabetic family members!