how long to smoke jerky in propane smoker

Last Updated on: 23rd April 2023, 02:05 am

Smoking jerky is the best way to start your smoking journey as a beginner . it becomes even more easier if you are using am easy to use smoker.

we have created a guide on best smoker for beginners to help you choose one.

jerky is easy to smoke and doesn’t require any fancy tricks to smoke efficiently.

But if you are smoking it for the first time, then you may wonder how long to smoke jerky in a propane smoker to get the best results.

To help you with this question, we have created a full guide which includes all the things you need to know before starting smoking.

Let’s get started without any further delay.

What does jerky mean?

Jerky is meat cut into small pieces of around 1 inch, which are dehydrated to preserve it for a longer time .

Due to the ease of preserving meat, they have been popular for ages.

These are also easy to make and don’t require any expertise to cook . Different types of meat are used for making jerky.

It depends on what type of meat you want to preserve. The most commonly used meat for smoking jerky is beef due to its soft texture.

In addition to beef ,some people even use deer meat to make jerky. There are no limitations to selecting the meat for making jerky.

Just make sure that it should be softer than bone and doesn’t have much fat. Fat can melt during the smoking due to the high temperature and spoil the taste of the meat being smoked.

How long does it take to smoke jerky properly in a propane smoker

Smoking jerky in a propane smoker is a fine art, and there are no strict limits to how long you have to smoke jerky in a propane smoker to get a better taste.

It can vary from smoker to smoker depending on what kind of smoker you are using and the weather conditions in which you are smoking.

Usually , smoking jerky in a smoker takes 4–8 hours, depending on which temperature you want to smoke the jerky.

It is also affected by several other factors, which can prolong the process.

If you also take into account the time required for marinating, then it will increase the time considerably because around 10–12 hours are required just for marinating the meat strips.

Factors affecting the smoking time of jerky

Jerky smoking time can be extended by a variety of factors.

The most common factors influencing jerky smoking time are discussed here.

Strip length

The size of meat strips can affect the smoking time of jerky easily.

If the meat is sliced into large chunks, then it will absorb more heat than smaller chunks and be smoked evenly.

So the distribution of heat throughout the meat pieces will require more time, which will prolong the smoking time .

In addition to the size of meat strips, the texture of meat will also affect the time taken for smoking.

If the meat being smoked is soft, then it will take less time to smoke the jerky properly, while if the meat chosen for making jerky is tough, then it will require more time to cook.


The temperature at which you are smoking jerky will also affect the time required for smoking jerky.

If you are smoking jerky at a low temperature, it will prolong the time required for smoking, while if you smoke jerky at a higher temperature, it will require less temperature.

The temperature required for smoking will depend on the type of meat you are using to make will have to regulate the temperature accordingly.

If it’s tougher, then you will have to smoke it at a lower temperature to ensure that it is cooked evenly.

It is better to smoke jerky at a lower temperature to avoid uneven cooking and rapid drying of jerky during smoking.

in addition ,you should also utilize the smoker vents to tweak the temperature.

weather conditions

The weather conditions in which you are smoking can also affect the time taken for smoking jerky.

If you are smoking in cold weather, then it will affect the internal temperature of the smoker, and the smoker will take a longer time to heat up.

Hence, the time required for smoking is increased.

To avoid being affected by the weather conditions, it’s better to see the weather forecast before starting your smoker.

You should make sure to schedule smoking on the day on which the least amount of rain or snow is expected.

In warmer conditions, you can smoke jerky pretty quickly.

Smoker moisture

Jerky is a dried form of meat which can last longer than usual meat .

So we have to smoke meat in a smoker to evaporate its water content in order to make jerky.

If the water content of the meat is higher, then it will require more time to smoke it than meat with less moisture.

In addition to the water content of the meat, the moisture inside the smoker can also prolong the process of smoking jerky.

If the moisture inside the smoker is higher, then it will take a longer time to evaporate the water from the meat.

If you are facing the problem of higher moisture inside the smoker, then you may consider removing the water pan of your smoker.

A water pan is usually added inside the smoker to provide moisture to the smoker and avoid drying when smoking meat for a long time.

But in the case of jerky,our purpose is to dry the meat for preserving so we can remove it to make smoking quicker.

Smoking Jerky in a Propane Smoker: A Step-by-Step Guide

Smoking Jerky is a simple process that can be done by following these steps.

Make marinade

Making marinade is the first step of the process of smoking jerky with a propane smoker.

A marinade is a mixture of different ingredients that is prepared to add flavor to your jerky. It is prepared and applied a day before the actual smoking process starts.

It is a mixture of various ingredients that can be selected depending on your choice.

The most commonly used ingredients in making marinades are given below.

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Sauce

In addition to these, you can also add other ingredients for better flavor, but these are essential for marinating your jerky.

After gathering your ingredients required for marinating,you will have to blend them with a blender to make sure they are mixed thoroughly.

If you don’t have a blender, then you can add these ingredients to a baking sheet and mix them.

You can use ingredients to enhance the flavor of your jerky, but consider avoiding the ingredients that have fat content inside them.

As mentioned above ,fat can melt and destroy the taste of meat when exposed to a higher temperature.

If you are not a fine liner and you are only interested in smoked jerky but not this kind of stuff,then you can simply use salt and pepper for marinating your meat.

This will not replace the flavor provided by a mixture of different ingredients, but it will still provide better flavor than not marinating at all.

Make beef strips

After making your marinade, you will have to cut your meat into small pieces of around 1 inch in size.

You will have to slice them into smaller sizes to make sure they are smoked easily in the smoker.

Larger pieces will require more time.

The size of the meat strips will depend on you . Thinner and smaller pieces will be smoked quickly and will be easier to eat.

You should also trim out any excess fat and connective tissue. Fat can destroy the taste of your jerky.

Combine the meat strips and marinade

After slicing the meat into smaller pieces, it’s time to mix the marinade. You can do this in a bowl or a plastic bag.

Just make sure each and every piece of meat is marinated with marinade. It adds flavor and moisture to the meat.

After mixing the meat chips thoroughly with marinade, cover the bowl and place the bowl in the refrigerator.

Usually, the bowl is placed in the refrigerator for about 12 hours or overnight to ensure the meat absorbs the marinade effectively.

Remove meat from the refrigerator

After the meat has absorbed the marinade , remove the marinade bowl from the refrigerator to continue the process.

you will have to make sure that the meat is dry before placing it on racks. You will have to tap it dry with a paper towel.

Arrange the meat strips on the cooking rack

After drying the meat, you have to arrange it on the cooking rack of the propane smoker.

You will have to place the meat directly on the racks without any pans to maximize the ventilation.

You will have to arrange the meat in such a way that they don’t overlap each other.

Keep a small distance between the meat strips to make sure the airflow can be maximized and the meat strips are cooked evenly.

If you are facing the issue of having less space in your smoker, then you can hang the meat strips from the rack using toothpicks.

Start your propane smoker

Set the temperature of your smoker at 170-200 and start the smoker.

Once it’s preheated, then consider adding the racks . After adding racks , cover the smoker and let it smoke for at least 4 hours.

But keep monitoring the temperature and meat at an interval of 30 minutes.

Take jerky out of the smoker

After 4 hours, check the jerky to see if it has been smoked or not.

If the edges of the meat are dry while the central area is moist ,then you can assume that it has been smoked completely.

If you overheat the jerky, it will get tougher over time rather than soften.

Now remove the jerky from the smoker and let it dry for some time. Once it’s dried completely ,you can enjoy your smoked jerky or store it for later use.

You can store it in a refrigerator for a couple of weeks . If you want to store them for a longer period, then you may consider storing them in a freezer.


Smoking jerky in a propane smoker can take some time, but it will be worth the effort once the process is completed.

You should eat jerky in warm weather to make sure it requires less time.

We hope this blog post will help you get the most out of your smoker.

Jakob miller