Jerked Beef

4.96 from 24 votes

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Jerked beef is a simple and tasty grilled beef recipe that uses just a few ingredients. One of our easy grill ideas, it is 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!

Strips of jerked beef on a grill
This easy beef on the grill is one of our best grilled recipes!

Our jerked beef is a bit different than the classic homemade jerky recipe. One of our favorite beef recipes, it uses only a few ingredients, just like our smoked brisket flat.

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.

Jump to:

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.

A plate of grilled beef strips.

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!

A dish of meat with some spices.

Beef – Use an inexpensive cut of beef like a chuck roast or rump roast.

SaltKosher 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

slices of beef in a pan and on a grill.
  1. Use a sharp knife and slice a beef roast, 1/2″ to 3/4″ thickness.
  2. 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.
  3. Seal the dish with plastic wrap and allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. 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 marinating.

Take a look at our favorite grilling and smoker accessories. We use these products all the time!

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.

Common questions

What goes with jerked beef?

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.

Be sure and download your free printable short list of ingredients for this grilled jerked beef recipe!

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Jerked Beef

4.96 from 24 votes
A sweet and salty grilled delicacy that can be made with beef, pork or venison.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Yield: 6 servings


  • 3 lbs beef
  • salt, kosher is preferred for its size.
  • pepper
  • 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.


Use a non-reactive, non-absorbent container to marinate the beef. Growing up, I recall that ceramic crocks were frequently used. If possible, use kosher salt. The larger size crystals do a better job of covering the surface area of the meat, enhancing the self-marinade process and as a result, the flavor as well.
From my late sister Ann, one of the best cooks I’ve ever known, “Use more salt than you think you will need.” That said, go heavy with all of the dry ingredients.
It’s O.K. to use different cuts of beef. I like to use an Angus roast. Others prefer sirloin tips or London broil. My sister Marlene recently divulged her preference of pork steak for this.
Have a deer hunter in the family? Try using venison for this, it’s delicious and a great use of the meat.


Calories: 854kcal, Carbohydrates: 71g, Protein: 39g, Fat: 45g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Cholesterol: 161mg, Sodium: 3660mg, Potassium: 709mg, Sugar: 71g, Calcium: 104mg, Iron: 4.9mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Grilled
Tried this recipe?Mention @plattertalk or tag #plattertalk!

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Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

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  1. 5 stars
    Another thing that I cannot wait to start doing once the sun comes out! Summer cannot get here faster! 🙂

  2. Mmmm, I’m drooling over this! I don’t often use sugar with beef but it sounds absolutely wonderful the way you have described it!

  3. This looks amazing, I can’t believe all of those delicious juices just come from salting the beef…how delicious! This will definitely be making it onto my BBQ this summer!

  4. 5 stars
    I can tell just from the photos how delicious this must taste…I’m so excited for spring/summer to come along so I can get the barbecue out!

  5. I hadn’t heard of it, but glad you’ve shared. This is a cool concept, and I appreciate the photo showing the marination process.

  6. Lately I;ve been eating beef back to back and this jerked beef needs to be in my belly…yum!

  7. 5 stars
    Looks great! I am definitely gonna make this for the husband (or get him to make for himself :D) once the grill season is on!

  8. I have a feeling this would be a huge hit at my next family cookout. Keeping this in my recipe box for next summer!