Jerked beef is a simple and tasty grilled beef recipe that uses just a few ingredients. This easy grill idea is perfect for backyard barbecues of all kinds. Read on and I'll show you exactly how to make this favorite grilled beef recipe of mine!
If you're from northern New York state, you may or may not be familiar with this version of jerked beef. It's definitely not from the islands but more like the foothills of the Adirondacks.
Among those who are familiar with this style, it is known to be a rite of summer - tailor-made for grilling over hot coals or a propane grill, and delicious with just about any side dish or cold beverage that comes to mind.
What is this?
Jerked beef is made on the grill. The strips of beef roast are flavored with a combination of salt, pepper, and brown sugar.
These simple ingredients create a marinade when allowed to rest on the beef for 24 hours or so, in the refrigerator before going on the grill. The salt and pepper taste is held together by a sweet caramelization from the brown sugar.
The finished dish is a savory bite of beef that is perfectly flavored with a touch of sweet and salty heat.
What's in it?
Jerked beef only has four ingredients, including the meat. Of course if you can get an incredible-tasting recipe with just a few common ingredients, that's even better!
Beef - Use an inexpensive cut of beef like a chuck roast or rump roast.
Salt - Kosher salt works best for making jerked beef because of the increased surface area of its coarse crystals. You can also use regular table salt but you'll get a bigger flavor from the Kosher salt.
Pepper - Regular ground black pepper works great for this jerked beef recipe.
Brown Sugar - You can use light or dark brown sugar with this dish.
How to make it
- Use a sharp knife and slice a beef roast, ½" to ¾" thickness.
- Using a baking dish, add a layer of beef strips to it. Then, sprinkle a generous amount of kosher salt, ground black pepper, and brown sugar over the top. Repeat this process of layering the meat and seasoning.
- Seal the dish with plastic wrap and allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight.
- Grill over a hot bed of coals or on a gas grill, for about 5 minutes per side.
Pro cooking tip
- Apply heavy layers of all three seasonings.
- Allow the meat to marinate for a full 24 hours, for maximum flavor. If you can let this soak for 2 days, it's even better than 1 day of marinading.
Substitutions and variations
Instead of beef, you can use pork or venison. Both are delicious using this technique.
This natural marinade is produced as a result of the kosher salt extracting the natural juices from the meat.
These juices mix with salt, pepper, and brown sugar and bathe the meat, greatly enhancing the flavor.
This is a good recipe for any outdoor barbecue. Mushroom sauce, Green salad and baked beans are just three ideas that would go well with this.
More grilled recipes
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- 3 lbs beef
- salt kosher is preferred for its size.
- 2 cups brown sugar
- Prepare beef by slicing into ½ to ¾ inch pieces parallel to muscle fibers. In a glass or ceramic container, spread a heavy coat of brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Place slices of beef, in a single layer, atop of this base of brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Repeat the process, placing dry ingredients on each subsequent layer of beef. When all t he beef is layered and coated, seal container with place wrap so that it is air-tight and refrigerate and allow to marinate for a minimum of 24 hours. Preheat grill to medium high heat and using tongs, place beef on grill and allow to cook on each side for 7 to 10 minutes.
I am an ACF certified executive chef, jerk is a Jamaican delicacy, I moved and open a restaurant in the tug hill region of ny. All the meninites sell jerked meat similar to yours. There is nothing jerk about it I get really confused why they call it jerk. Your explanation of peppery sweet has nothing to do with actual jerk. Jerk is soy, fivespice, minced onions, garlic, brown sugar, ground peppercorns, cayenne , and assortment of minced peppers depending on flavor and heat. What upstate ny calls jerk is good don't get me wrong but there is nothing Jamaican or jerk about it. And as a chef when I ask no one can give me a good answer🤷♀️
Dan from Platter Talk
Hi Chef. Thanks for your comments and I'm glad you enjoy the Tug Hill region's version of Jerked Beef. Contrary to your statement, the primary ingredients of brown sugar and hot black pepper are indeed central to Jamaican jerk, by your own description. And to answer your question, I have a pretty good idea that the good local folks of that region of New York state just don't care. One more thing, it's Mennonites, and they are my people. We appreciate hearing from you and thank for reading Platter Talk!
I can send a proper jerk recipe if need. Your ingredients alone nullifies the validity of whether this is Jamaica Jerk Beef. Your recipe conveys the ingredients for Beef Jerky. More specifically Teriyaki flavored beef jerky. Sweet & Peppery. But NOT indicative to the Caribbean dish.
Dan from Platter Talk
Hi Nita. We would love you to send us your recipe for jerk beef; thanks so much!
It's not five spice (Chinese seasoning) it's all spice and thyme. Hope it helps.
I'm confused by the title. What's jerk about the recipe?
Dan from Platter Talk
Hi Susan, the jerk in this recipe is comprised of the wet marinade consisting of the (hot) black pepper and the (sweet) brown sugar. The salt which acts to draw the natural juices out for the marinade also adds an element of spice that is characteristic of a classic jerk recipe. I hope this clears up your confusion. We would love for you to try this wonderful sweet and spicy delicacy!
Hi for how long would you leave the steak to grill on each side. I like my meat cooked medium rear
Dan from Platter Talk
Hi Kevin, depending on the meat's thickness and heat of your grill, probably just a couple of minutes on each side. Enjoy!
Heather @Boston Girl Bakes
I'm originally from upstate NY and Oh my I grew up on Cornell Barbeque and it's to die for- and we grew up on what we call "spiedies" - marinated beef cuts grilled - that I thought everyone grew up on- silly ol' me! I can't wait to try this version...man oh man can't wait!!
Razena | Tantalisemytastebuds.com
I've never tasted jerked beef but this looks like something we could throw on a braai and have a great time 🙂
Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
Ok...now this is my kind of jerky. I detest the bought kind. It reminds me of dog food. This on the other hand, along with grilling season is a winner. Can't wait to give it a try...or should I say....get hubby to BBQ this up!!
Sam | Ahead of Thyme
Wow, this looks delicious! I need to make some of this jerked beef asap!!