Spicy Vietnamese Beef Jerky (Khô Bó Sa Té) | No Food Dehydrator Needed

30 January 2022

Spicy Vietnamese Beef Jerky (Khô Bó Sa Té) | No Food Dehydrator Needed

For Christmas last year, I gifted care packages. Included were specialty snacks, one of which was spicy Vietnamese beef jerky from my favorite specialty shop here in Sacramento.

The beef jerky alone was well over $ 100. Although well worth it, I wanted to see if I can make it at home and save myself some $ $ $ . And turns out, I can.

I was able to make Vietnamese beef jerky successfully, surprisingly on the first try. So it’s safe to say that anyone can make this. And the best part? You don’t even need special equipment.

To make beef jerky, get your hands on good-quality lean beef. I used a sirloin top. You can also use rump roast or eye round. Trim off large chunks of fat, if any, and slice the meat into big sheets along the grain, no more than ¼ inch thick.

Get the marinade ingredients together. Toss the sliced beef into the marinade and let it sit in the fridge, the longer would be better. I marinated mine overnight but I think it would have been more flavorful if I marinated it one more day.

Spicy Vietnamese Beef Jerky

Khô bó sa té

A simple recipe that I successfully made on the first try

No food dehydrator needed


The marinade for this beef jerky is a wet rub.

The rub is made of aromatic spices with plenty of fresh lemongrass, garlic, and shallots. The “wet” component in the marinade comes from salty pantry condiments, oyster sauce and fish sauce.

A bit of annatto oil is used to bind these ingredients and allow the rub to stick to the meat. It also provides a beautiful red color, as traditionally associated with Vietnamese beef jerky. However, you can stick to regular oil if you can’t get your hands on annatto oil.

For that spicy kick, I’m using a combination of dried chili flakes and chili powder.

Dehydrate beef in the oven for 6 hours

Do I need a Food Dehydrator?

The answer is no. All you need is the appliance you already have — the oven. And a few baking sheets and wire racks.

A convection oven works best, as it circulates the air around the food, but it’s not required. I used a non-convection oven and it turned out superb.

It’s a good thing too. I’m simply running out of cupboard and pantry space for any more appliances. Plus, I absolutely hate single-purpose appliances and kitchen tools. Except for my garlic press. Take my garlic press and I’ll cut you.

The multiple dehydrating racks would have also been a pain in the rear to clean.


To dehydrate food in the oven, simply let it dry out in the lowest setting of your oven. For me, it’s 170°F and it took me about 6 hours total for 2 lbs of beef cut at ¼-inch thickness. This may vary depending on your oven and the thickness of the beef. If you have a convection oven, it may take fewer hours due to the automatic air circulation.

Check on the meat occasionally and if it’s not dried out, just continue “baking” to dehydrate it more. Easy peasy. There’s really no chance of burning down the house if you happen to forget too. But don’t quote me on that.

Recipe below. Happy dehydrating.

Spicy Vietnamese Beef Jerky (Khô Bó Sa Té) | No Food Dehydrator Needed


Spicy Vietnamese Beef Jerky (Khô Bó Sa Té) | No Food Dehydrator Needed

Serves 3-4



  • 2 lbs beef sirloin, eye round, or rump roast
  • Aromatics

  • ¼ cup minced lemongrass
  • 10 garlic cloves (finely mince)
  • 1 shallot (about 2 tablespoons finely minced)
  • Spicy Marinade

  • 3 tablespoons annatto oil (preferred) or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce


  1. Slice beef into large sheets of ⅛ to ¼ inch thickness with the grain. Trim off any fat.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all the aromatics and spicy marinade ingredients. Mix until evenly combined. Adjust seasoning to taste at this point, if needed.
  3. In a large mixing bowl or large Ziploc bag, combine sliced beef and marinade mixture. Toss until all of the pieces are evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap or close bag tightly. Marinate in the fridge for 8 hours or longer overnight. Toss the meat or flip the bag half way through marinating to ensure even coating.
  4. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy clean-up. Place a wire rack over each sheet. Arrange the marinated meats on the wire rack in a single layer. It’s okay to crowd the meat, as it will shrink considerably. But avoid overlapping. Add baking sheets in the center racks of the oven. Turn on the oven to the lowest heat possible, for me it’s 170°F. No need to preheat.
  5. Bake for 3 hours. Flip meat and rotate baking sheets then continue baking for another 3 hours. It took me a total of 6 hours to fully dry out the meat. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
  6. You have jerky when the meat is completely dry to the touch and pulls apart easily along the grain with no moisture. It should look like leather but still tender to the bite. Store jerky in a Ziploc bag or airtight container. Properly dried jerky will keep at room temperature for 2 weeks or in the fridge for up to 4 months (possibly even longer).

Spicy Vietnamese Beef Jerky — they taste even better over time!

DRY BEEF ISN’t YOUR THING? I got you covered! Check out these other beef recipes

Blog – Vietnamese Home Cooking Recipes


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