If you regularly enjoy eating beef jerky, then chances are you’ve tried, or at least heard of, “naked” beef jerky. The “Naked Cow” company makes beef jerky that’s 100% natural and made with grass-fed beef. Not only is it incredibly yummy, but it’s also one of the healthiest ways to enjoy beef jerky. With that in mind, I decided to try my hand at making my own homemade naked beef jerky. Today, I’m super excited to share the best homemade “naked” beef jerky recipe for making a healthy high protein snack that I could find. This recipe is fantastic – in fact, it’s so good that I’ve made it three times just in the last week alone! The secret is making the beef jerky the same way that Naked Cow makes theirs – leave out the bad stuff like added sugars and preservatives and just use grass-fed beef and real, all-natural spices!
It’s Just Better When It’s Made From Scratch
As with most of our other beef jerky recipes, the first thing you’ll want to do when making this naked recipe is prepare your marinade. It’s full of great tasting ingredients – you’ll be using one teaspoon of garlic powder, one teaspoon of onion powder, one teaspoon of red pepper flakes, two teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper, one tablespoon of honey, one tablespoon of smoked paprika, and two tablespoons of salt. Mix it all together with ½ cup of water before marinating your cuts of beef in it. You’ll want to marinate the beef in the fridge for a minimum of eight hours – it’s a good idea to prepare in the evening and marinate it overnight.
I’m sure you can already tell just by looking at what goes into this recipe, but the fantastic mixture of ingredients used goes a long way in making sure the beef jerky is full of flavor. Garlic and onion powder are both great ingredients to use when trying to improve the taste of all kinds of different dishes. They’re both part of the allum family of vegetables, which are known to provide a wide range of fantastic health benefits. There have been many studies that have found both garlic and onion are able to reduce your risk of developing certain kinds of cancers. (1)
Meanwhile, the red pepper flakes help to give your beef jerky a deliciously spicy hint. The main active compound found in peppers is capsaicin, and it’s primarily responsible for giving peppers their spiciness – and their distinctive health benefits. If you’re able to tolerate the heat, capsaicin is beneficial for many things. It’s great for promoting weight loss, relieving pain and inflammation, and even helping to reduce your risk of disease thanks to its antioxidant content. (2)
Rounding out the flavors of the marinade is the honey and smoked paprika. The two of them are another common ingredient combo that produces a big time taste. Their blend of sweet and spicy flavors goes perfectly with the other spices used in this recipe, and they each offer some distinctive health benefits in their own right as well. Paprika contains carotenoids that may help to lower your risk of diseases caused by oxidative stress (3) while raw honey provides some great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. (4)
Last but not least, when it comes to the beef you use for making “naked” beef jerky, it simply must be grass-fed beef. I’m fortunate to live in a location where my local grocery store regularly carried grass-fed beef. If it’s a bit harder for you to track down, then I wholeheartedly recommend using ButcherBox. They’ll send you monthly shipments of everything from grass-fed beef to organic free range chicken at affordable prices. If you’ve been eating beef raised on hormones and antibiotics your whole life, you’ll notice a huge difference when switching over to grass-fed beef.
More Homemade Beef Jerky Recipes:
How to Make The Best 5-Ingredient Beef Jerky at Home
Gourmet Wine-Infused Homemade Beef Jerky Recipe
Easy Homemade Beef Jerky Marinade
The Best Grass-Fed Beef Jerky Recipe Ever (Try this!)
Homemade Korean Beef Jerky (Healthy High Protein Snack)
No-Fuss Oven Baked Teriyaki Beef Jerky (Easy Jerky Recipe)
Apple Cider Vinegar Black Pepper Beef Jerky (Yum!)
Best “Naked” Beef Jerky Recipe for a Healthy High Protein Snack
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes
- Yield: 10 1x
2 pounds top round steak (or eye or flank steak), trimmed from any fat and thinly sliced against the grain
½ cup water
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp smoked paprika, or to taste
1 tbsp honey, or more to taste
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
- In a bowl combine water, salt, smoked paprika, honey, black pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and onion powder.
- Add the steak and toss until the steak is evenly coated.
- Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 175°F.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack over the foil.
- Lay the beef strips out in a single layer on the wire rack.
- Bake the beef in the preheated oven until dry and leathery, about 4 to 6 hours, flipping the beef once about halfway through. (see note*)
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Transfer in a container and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
The total time is dependent on the thickness of the meat.