Smoky and Savory: How to Make Delicious Traeger Smoked Chicken Jerky

If you’re a fan of beef and turkey jerky, get ready to explore the lesser-known world of chicken jerky. While it may not have the same chewiness as beef jerky, chicken is an excellent choice for making lean and budget-friendly jerky. And when you make it on a Traeger, you’ll achieve an unbeatable smoky flavor that’s hard to replicate with traditional dehydrating methods.

Marinade for Chicken Jerky

Creating a mouthwatering marinade is a crucial step in making flavorful chicken jerky. For this recipe, we’re keeping things simple with just three ingredients:

  • Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce: This incredible sauce provides a perfect balance of salty, umami, and sweet flavors.
  • Sriracha: For a spicy kick, you can substitute Sriracha with chili garlic sauce, gochujang, sambal oelek, or harissa.
  • Rice Vinegar: Acidity helps tenderize the chicken. You can find more insights into marinades in our Traeger fajitas post.

While many jerky marinades include soy sauce for its umami flavor, Worcestershire sauce, honey, vinegars, salt, black pepper, and various dried spices and herbs, this simple combination is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Slices of chicken breast in a marinade

More Jerky Marinade Ideas

If you’re looking to broaden your flavor options, consider these alternative jerky marinades:

  • Turkey jerky recipe with brown sugar, liquid smoke, and curing salt (check out Jerkyholic for more jerky inspiration).
  • Jerk turkey jerky made with scotch bonnets and an array of aromatic spices.
  • Traeger turkey jerky with chili garlic sauce and lime juice, along with curing salt.
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Jerky without Curing Salt?

While some recipes call for curing salt to extend the shelf life and ensure the removal of bacteria during the jerky-making process, this recipe doesn’t require it. By heating the jerky to a food-safe temperature of 165°F and consuming it within a two-week window, you can enjoy this homemade treat without the need for curing salt.

How to Make Traeger Chicken Jerky

To achieve perfectly smoked Traeger chicken jerky, follow these steps:

  1. Set your Traeger Pro 575 to 200°F. The cooking time for a pound of jerky will be approximately two and a half to three hours at this temperature.
  2. Choose the type of wood pellets that complement your marinade to enhance the flavor.
  3. For larger batches of jerky, you can smoke multiple racks of jerky at once on larger Traeger grills. Alternatively, using a second rack in the smaller 575 model will create enough space to accommodate larger batches.

Sliced and marinated chicken breast on a Traeger grill

How to Make Jerky in an Instant Vortex Pro Air Fryer

If you don’t have a Traeger or prefer a different cooking method, you can still make delicious chicken jerky using an Instant Vortex Pro Air Fryer. Here’s how:

  1. Follow the timing and temperature recommendations from the Instant Pot’s beef jerky recipe for the Vortex Pro.
  2. Set the air fryer to 160°F and cook the jerky for approximately three hours, switching the racks halfway through.
  3. The dehydrate function of the air fryer is perfect for making jerky, and you can switch to the bake function at the end to ensure the jerky reaches a food-safety recommended internal temperature of 165°F.
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Finished chicken jerky on a rack of the Instant Vortex Pro

While the air fryer method provides convenience and easier cleanup, it may lack the true smoky flavor that the Traeger delivers. If you’re willing to experiment, consider adding liquid smoke to your marinade to mimic that smoky essence.

And there you have it! With these simple techniques, you can enjoy homemade Traeger smoked chicken jerky bursting with flavor. For safe jerky storage tips and additional resources, check out the notes section in the recipe card below. If you have any questions or need further guidance, feel free to reach out in the comments. Happy snacking!

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