GAPS Beef Jerky

For snacks on the go, or as a simple meal entree, our GAPS beef jerky has proven to be a life saver. My method includes an amazing crunchy onions twist that makes this recipe unique and amazing! The recipe is versatile as well, so choose your ruminant meat source and you will be in for a treat.

Since venturing on the GAPS Diet, we have made almost uninterrupted batches of beef jerky to keep on-hand. As with most packaged items, beef jerky is one of those products that you simply cannot trust to be free of HFCS, sugar, seed oils, or other questionable and non-GAPS ingredients. The side benefit is that this is one of the most scalable, time efficient, and versatile foods you can make on the GAPS/Paleo/Primal diet. You can tinker with the levels of spiciness, chewiness or crunchiness, and other palatabilty factors by slicing the meat to varying thicknesses, altering the dehydration time, and changing up the spice mix or meat source (bison jerky is amazing; and did you know you could make ground beef jerky that is a knockoff of a slim-jim?)


  • 2-3T Meat Medley spice mix
  • 1-2T sea salt
  • 1-2T Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 3-5 lb Grassfed Beef (chuck roast, brisket, loin, “London Broil”, or other big cheap cuts– fatty cuts are ok, but beware cuts with lots of connective tissue…they can be difficult to chew once jerked). See notes below for ground beef.

Recommended Equipment
Excalibur food dehydrator, 1 gallon Ziploc storage bags or pyrex bowl with airtight lid


  1. Slice beef into 1/8″ to 1/4″ pieces. Longer pieces are better, but small pieces work fine too.
  2. Arrange pieces on a cutting board or baking pan. Coat both sides of the beef with salt, then spice mix.
  3. Slice onions into 1/8″ thick pieces. I like to leave them as rounds.
  4. In a 1gallon ziploc bag or pyrex container with lid, combine beef, onions and vinegar. Shake to distribute vinegar to all pieces.
  5. Store in refrigerator for 8-24 hours
  6. Arrange beef and onions on dehydrator sheets (or if you do not have a dehydrator, use a baking sheet with a drying rack insert, or worst case use a baking pan alone. Dehydrate on dehydrator “jerk” setting or in oven at 150 degrees for 4-6hours. Test by bending the dehydrated beef. It should bend and reveal fibers. If it cracks it is over done, but still fine to eat. If it bends and reveals pink flesh, then it needs to dehydrate longer…it may be safe to eat but will not store as long and may develop mold. Onions should be crispy.
  7. Remove from dehydrator or oven. Let cool for 20 minutes or so…the beef will stiffen as it cools. Store in an airtight container, preferably in the refrigerator.

As mentioned, you can play around with the spiciness using more or less cayenne, paprika, black pepper or other pepper flakes or dried herbs.


  • substitute beef for bison roasts, venison, or even poultry. I have not tried pork but i would recommend leaner cuts of pork with fat removed.
  • instead of whole meat cuts, choose comparable amounts of ground beef. Fold about 1/2 C chopped cilantro, 2-3 T Meat Medley seasoning, 1-2 T salt into the ground beef, refrigerate 8-24 hours. Roll the beef onto dehydrator sheets into 1/8″ thick layer extending to the edges of the sheets, slightly thicker on the edges to make for even jerky since the edges dry faster. If using baking pans, use parchment paper to line th pan first. After 2 hours of dehydrating, use a knife to cut into strips and continue dehydrating 4-6 hours more. Ground beef jerky will have the consistency of a slim-jim.

12 thoughts on “GAPS Beef Jerky

    • Hi Melissa, thanks for your comment. I usually add about 1T per batch. But I do tend to vary the quantity based on the cut of meat. I use less for cuts like tenderloin (about 1t). I use a little more for cheaper cuts like chuck ( or gamier meats like venison). Honestly I do not measure too carefully…I have made so many batches I go by feel ( and smell ). Also I changeup vinegars sometimes using red wine vinegar.

  1. do you you the paraflexx sheet or parchment paper in your dehydrator or just the mesh like sheets that came with the dehydrator? wondering if the jerky is going to drip and make a mess in the bottom of the dehydrator?

    • I use the paraflex sheets that came with the dehydrator. With beef jerky, I have not had too much grease dripping into the bottom of the machine. One catch is with the ground beef version, there is a lot more fat in the ground beef and so I usually line the bottom rack with paper towels, covered with a paraflex.

  2. The onions sound delicious; do they help flavor the meat somehow or are they just good to eat on the side? I just bought a $25 roast and my new Excaliber, so I am both excited and apprehensive. I don’t want to ruin my expensive grassfed roast! Any other suggestions? Thanks!

    • The onions do add a savoriness (is that a word?) to the beef. I find it helps the beef jerky taste “less bland” but I don’t find the onion makes the beef jerky oniony. and yes, the dehydrated onions are FANTASTIC!

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  4. I am writing an article on snacks that won’t go bad and wanted to request permission to use the image from this post, along with a photo credit and link back to this blog post. If you could email me today and let me know if that sounds good, I would appreciate it! Thank you! (Also, I’m fascinated by your blog and the GAPS diet and plan to look into it further!)

  5. Pingback: 5 Survival Snacks That Won’t Go Bad –

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