Healthy Oven Beef Jerky {Paleo, Whole30}

beef jerky, paleo, coconut aminos, homemade, DIY, Whole30 Compliant, oven

That’s it, Folks.

Just like that, our Thirty Days of Torture are over.

They were actually over two days ago, and one would guess, by the scene I made over craving coffee with cream and sugar, that I’d be floating in a tub of cafe lattes by now.

But I’m not.

I actually, still, am drinking black coffee.


I know you all just gasped.

(Mostly, because I wrote it, and I know you read it.)

But really, this is what I’ve decided:

Haunted again by articles that bemoan the evil-incarnate nature of sugar, I’m making an effort to tame the sugar in my life.

Shocker, I know.

Soooooo, my coffees with cream and sugar will be reserved for treats.

I’ll let black coffee hang around for a while. I like the piping hotness of it in the morning anyway.

(Aaaaaaand, I sort of gobbled down a couple handfuls of chocolate chips, baked some Paleo pumpkin bread, and ate one, ONE mini Butterfinger from the Trick-or-Treat stash. So. . . that sort of curbed my sweet craving).

And as far as Whole30 goes?

My conclusion is that it aint for me. (Plus, I lost my book. . . I’m taking it as a sign.)

My hubs lost a legitimate chunk of weight, I only lost a couple of pounds – but I wasn’t trying.

What I found was that I replaced all my junky food choices with healthy food, so mentally, I’m proud of what I put into my body.

But – I don’t feel any different.

I don’t miraculously have more energy, my mind doesn’t feel clearer, my ache in my knee didn’t go away, my skin isn’t glowing, and my muffin top is still hanging over my waistband mocking me.*

I’m still the same me.

Which I was content with before I even started, so I really had nothing invested in the 30 day challenge. I was just curious.

And, sorry Dallas and Melissa (authors of It Starts With Food), even though you claim bread won’t even look like food to me any more after 30 days, it still does. It looks like really good food.

Healthy Oven Beef Jerky

The two things I have decided though, for moving forward, are:

1. I will bring butter, dairy, legumes, grains, and yes. . . sugar back into our meal planning, just slowly and in moderation.

2. I’m going to be healthy and loosely Paleo-ish during the week, and then allow myself to splurge on the weekends.

Some things I learned though, while doing this dealeo? Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly – in no particular order:

  • I love sugar. Always have, always will. There ain’t no stoppin’ this.
  • Olive oil cooks just about anything you need to cook, and supposedly – it’s the healthiest oil to use. And you know which olive oils are supposedly the cremes de la cremes? The ones in the tin cans. . . . Something about the light and oxidation and how fast oils go rancid under flourescent grocery store lighting – if you’re into obsessing about that sort of thing.
  • Paleo, Whole30 compliant food can be pretty darn tasty. In fact, I discovered foods, (curried shrimp with sautéed carrots and red cabbage, crab-stuffed Portobello mushrooms, pulled pork “tacos” in spicy buffalo sauce with pickled cucumber salad. . . ) that I will be making again.
  • I actually enjoy cooking and eating healthier, but I still want to splurge now and then on the fun stuff too.
  • Now that this is over, I want to bake one pie a week for approximately 32 weeks. The good old-fashioned butter and sugar way. Just sayin’. If you live anywhere near me, be prepared for pieces of pie to show up on your porch.
  • Delicata squash is awesome. You should probably go find one and saute little cubes of it in olive oil with smashed garlic and salt and pepper. It’s like a vegetable angel.
  • Dates are the bees knees. Medjool are the very best. Trust me.
  • Sometimes, a girl just wants to whisk some milk into her scrambled eggs. Is that too much to ask?
  • Pomi tomatoes are the way to go, Whole30 or no Whole30, Paleo or no Paleo. They’re sweet and perfect. (No. Nobody paid me to say that.)
  • I’ve wanted a 10″ cast iron skillet for. . . hmm, like a year now? But now I REALLY want one.
  • In order to bake a souffle that could house and entire pureed butternut squash, I would have to use 876 eggs, plus a couple extra whites. Fail.
  • Pistachios are pretty much the best salty snack EVAH, when you’re doing this thang.
  • Plantains deserve more attention. . . future post? Maybe. . . .
  • Ghee is just a fancy word for clarified butter. Don’t be scurred. And don’t buy ghee – make you’re own. It’s easier than you’d think.
  • Sometimes a girl just needs chocolate. And cheese.  And cream and sugar. And a glass of wine.That’s just truth.Beef Jerky, Paleo, homemeade, DIY, Whole30, coconut aminos, oven
  • Ooo. And beef jerky. It’s crazy easy. Aaaaaand time-consuming – but time-consuming in the easiest way possible.

If you’re craving or needing a quick lunch item? Give it a shot some weekend when all you’re doing is lounging around watching football all day anyway.

Don’t lie. I know you do it sometimes.

*Heather, (see her comment below), brings up a good point. She feels considerably better after just 18 days. I know there are many, many people out there who have benefited from the Whole9 lifestyle, so my point is not to dissuade anyone from trying it out. My intent was to give an honest run-down of how the plan affected me. If you are curious, go for it. You really have nothing to lose, and like I said, the food can be really delicious. If you’re a curious cook, it can be a whole 30 days of interesting experimentation. 

Beef Jerky {Paleo, Whole30 Cool

This beef jerky is "pretty floppin' awesome" as my kids would say. As I stood in the isle at the health food store, looking for coconut aminos, a clerk asked my what I was cooking. I told him beef jerky and his eyebrows went up. When I asked why, he said, "I just think coconut aminos have a weird taste to them". So, I hesitated about using them. But, I find the flavor quite nice, and don't be deterred. It's a substitute for soy sauce, and it does a fine job!


  • 2-3 lbs skirt steak or flank steak
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (check first that it is ONLY smoke and water)


Partially freeze meat for 2-4 hours, until mostly solid.

Slice meat into 1/10th inch thickness strips.

Add the strips of meat to a large, zip-top bag.

Add all remaining ingredients to the meat in the bag.

Zip the bag closed, and toss the meat until all ingredients are evenly spread throughout the meat and in the bag.

Marinate meat, in the fridge, for at least 24 hours. Occasionally turn the bag to rearrange the meat and marinade.

When ready to cook, heat oven to 170 degrees.

Set up racks over cookie sheets lined with aluminum foil (for easier cleanup).

Lay strips of beef out on racks, and place racks in oven.

Cook at 170 for 4-8 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat.

Thinly sliced meat will take less time, thicker meat will take longer. Closely monitor meat to ensure it doesn’t dry out too much.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.


Adapted from The Primal Palate

14 thoughts on “Healthy Oven Beef Jerky {Paleo, Whole30}

  1. See, this is why I love you. I’m always suspicious when people claim they started popping sunshine and rainbows when they cut out sugar/carbs/fun.

    And heck yeah to the delicata squash love–it’s my new favorite. Roasted with tons of curry powder!

  2. I feel amazingly better after only 18 days of the Whole 30. But I started eating healthier most of the time a couple months before starting the Whole 30. Don’t forget, sometimes it takes 60 days or longer before you see a noticeable difference. I just had to put my two cents in, because I’d hate to see all your readers discouraged from trying something that could change their lives!

    • I’m glad you commented, Heather. I have family members who have done it and also feel remarkably better. It just didn’t do much for me, but I felt good to begin with so I don’t know that I would have felt a huge difference. I also would not discourage readers from giving it a go, thirty days is not long at all, and yes, I do believe it does produce positive results for some people!

  3. Plantains are YUMMY!!! When we were down in Palm Beach a couple years ago we went to a little hole in the wall Cuban deli where I had some pork something or other (GOOD, but hey, it’s pork) and fried plantains. Da bomb, I’m tellin ya.

    And I’m with you on the sugar and dairy, and bread, oh sweet bread! I couldn’t South Beach, Adkins, or Paleo-it unless my life actually depended on it.

    • Oh, yes they are! And there are a few different ways to cook them too, which makes them versatile. They’re a great sub when you can’t eat potatoes or chips with your burgers, etc. Can you get plantains up there? That’s my only reservation about posting a recipe – that it would be applicable to such a limited number of readers. . . .
      And the bread? I do so love it for a treat even though I don’t always eat it in normal everyday life. What I miss really, are things like crostini, pizza crust, toast with soup, or dessert-y things like bundt cakes and quick bread. I baked a Paleo pumpkin quick bread yesterday that hit the spot, so. . . score!

  4. I love your blog! I was looking for a beef jerky recipe and came across this page. You’re hysterical and I love your bluntness! Definitely will be following your page! Thanks for posting 🙂

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