Favorite jerky recipes and techniques

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by RetiredUSNChief, Sep 23, 2013.

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  1. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    This question sparked by a recent posting about meat processing elsewhere.

    What are your favorite jerky recipes and techniques?


    I got started on this a few years ago and, though I've not made any game jerky, I have made quite a bit of beef jerky. I make my own teriyaki marinade, though frankly I use the "bitta-this-and-that" measurements. A jar of teriyaki sauce, a jar of soy sauce, then add some lemon-pepper (to taste, starting with a teaspoon), liquid smoke (about half a bottle, about 2 ounces, or to taste), and salt (about a teaspoon or two, 'cause Lord knows soy sauce doesn't have enough salt in it...)

    I'll shop for some very lean, inexpensive cut beef like top round steak or whatever is handy at a reasonable price.

    I'll put the meat in the freezer until it's half-frozen to make slicing easier. Trim off all the fat that can be trimmed off, then slice across the grain of the meat, thickness to suit. It used to drive my wife nuts when I'd use a bread knife to do this (or slice tomatoes) until I showed her the advantages of a sharp, think serrated knife blade over some of our thicker blades.

    Put all the meat in my marinade pan, cover with the marinade, put it in the fridge for 24 hours. Turn the marinade pan a few times or otherwise stir things up every few hours.


    I use the oven, as I can make a ton of jerky at once and very little cleanup afterwards.

    Put the top rack all the way to the top, the bottom rack as low as it'll go. Line the bottom rack completely with foil to act as a disposable drip tray.

    Using round toothpicks, poke a toothpick through the corner of each strip of beef and hang it on the top rack, spaced just enough to allow air to circulate.

    Carefully slide both oven racks into the oven, then prop the door open about an inch or so using a wooden spoon handle. Set the oven to 160 - 170 degrees F (or as low as it'll otherwise go). Check frequently enough to monitor progress.

    When done, slide the top rack out, hold a tray under the jerky, and run a finger along the rows of toothpicks to drop everything into the tray. As the jerky is cooling, remove all the toothpicks and drop the jerky into a sealable container, like tupperware. Once cooled a bit, seal the container for about a day. This will allow whatever moisture remaining to come to equilibrium throughout all the pieces for consistency. Not necessary if you're going to start snarffing it immediately, but nice for stuff you're going to have around for a few days or weeks. (I can never get mine to last more than a few short days...then I'm out!)

    Clean up is as simple as wadding up the foil on the bottom rack and throwing it away.


    My in-laws got me a dehydrator a few years back, but I have yet to use it. Looks nice, but takes up counter space, the round trays don't hold nearly as much or as efficiently as the oven rack system, and I'd have to clean it afterwards.


    How 'bout it? What's your favorite seasoning/marinade and how to you actually go about dehydrating the meat?
     
  2. 27hand

    27hand Member

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    jerky

    I'll chime in here.

    Years ago, my interest was piqued by the jerky shooter for using up ground venison I didn't use too much.

    Anyway for $29 or something in this range I got the kit. I used it a few years but eventually I stopped.

    I got a regular smoker and was looking for some type of marinade. I decided to use the jerky shooter spices and my goodness, it came out pretty damn good.

    I take the jerky chunks that the processor cuts up for me and freeze them. When I'm ready to be a jerk, I take them out the night before I cut them, cut off any silverback or fat and slice it into roughly 1/4" strips. The meat still has ice in it so cutting is pretty easy.

    The jerky shooter spices ( I use 2 ) are mild and cajun.
    For 5 lbs of meat, I use about 3 tablespoons of each and mix it into a cup of warm water. They also have a "cure" which appears to be salt so I put in a teaspoon of that and top off the mix with a tablespoon or 2 of liquid smoke.

    I mix everything together into a large container and work the mix through the meat making sure every piece has a coating of marinade. I leave this in a fridge at least a day, sometimes 2 and pull it out to mix it up again.

    I get out the smoker, put a full pan of water under the grate, crank it up to about 170 and push toothpicks through one end draping the strips through the grate.
    I read that jerky should be at 160 minimum for at least an hour to kill anything bad ( not sure how true this is).

    After about an hour and a half, I crank the heat down to 135 to 140, leave some space between the lid and the smoker body and wait for about 6 hours or so testing it for bendability and taste :).

    ResizedImage_1373813349190_zps4cf6c2f6.jpg
     
  3. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    Hmmm...I googled the Jerky Shooter and it looks like a neat idea. I don't know that I'd buy the Jerky Shooter, but I might try some of the spices, maybe as a rub or something.

    I'd probably have to use the dehydrator my in-laws got me if I were to use the Jerky Shooter itself...I don't think they'll hang very well!

    :)
     
  4. flipajig

    flipajig Member

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    If you use the Jerky shooter you will be making soft jerky just make shoure it's lean I mean no fat.
    Flip
     
  5. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    I haven't made any jerky in a couple of years because beef prices are so high, but for each pound of lean beef strips I use 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper. That's it. (okay, sometimes I'll add a little bit of cayenne) Mix it all up and let it sit overnight in the fridge in a plastic bag or Tupperware bowl. Next day, dry it on a dehydrator or in a *cool* smoker. The meat is just supposed to dry, not cook.
     
  6. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    I think a lot of people don't understand that. Curing the meat is what acts as the preservative, and that can be done by a variety of methods, including additives such as salt, smoking the meat, and drying.

    Cooking CAN be part of it, but it's not necessary. Marinading the meat actually "cooks" it chemically, in its own way. I usually put the oven at 160 and keep the oven door cracked open. I put a thermometer in the oven once to see what I was getting, and it was actually about 150F. Not all ovens will go that far down, so it's an adjustment game with the door and temperature.
     
  7. 27hand

    27hand Member

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    jerky shooter

    This is a good read about the safety needed in drying jerky. I believe they address flash heating it or certain temps to make sure it's safe.
    http://www.foodsafety.wisc.edu/assets/pdf_Files/Making_Safe%20Jerky_in_a%20Home_Dehydrator3.pdf

    Quite a few of my friends disagree but I think enough research has been done to ensure people do it in a manner which won't adversely affect them.



    When I used the jerky shooter, I "shot" the ground onto cookie sheets (used Pam). The strips were about an inch wide and as long as you wanted. I usually made them about 8" long.

    I staggered the cookie sheets at 90 angles to allow the moisture to escape out of either side of the overlapping trays.

    It seemed to take a lot of time checking so that each tray didn't over dry. The finished ground jerky was able to be slightly bent and not break.
    This is also the technique I use for smoker jerky. I can bend the finished strip without it breaking.
    What I found out is while it's hot, it will bend easier but sometimes if it cools, it's a bit too brittle.
    The blend of spices is a personal preference and there are tons of different types to use.

    I'm actually eating some strips right now ( not jerky shooter). Ha. I made it a week ago for my kiddo's birthday.

    I take the finished jerky and wrap about 10 pieces in a paper towel. Then I put the wrapped jerky in a ziplock baggie & put in fridge. In a day or 2, any residual moisture wicks out. I remove it, rewrap it and give it to those who are "worthy". Ha.

    I've had no complaints.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  8. desidog

    desidog Member

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    Theres a lot of good books on Charcuterie; I make jerky with both a smoker and/or a dehydrator. Cure for the smoker is generally sea salt, molasses, bay leaves, pepper, more pepper, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and some pickling spice.

    If i'm just using the dehydrator, and it'll be eaten soon, I just marinate the meat in BBQ sauce overnight and dehydrate a day or two; until the proper consistency is reached. Terriyaki sauce too...

    While cutting the meat is a lot easier if it's partially frozen; if you freeze it the end product will be dark, or black in color...not as appetizing looking.
     
  9. brainwake

    brainwake Member

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    We cut it thin, layout on a cutting board, cover it with press and seal, then pound it with a mallet.

    Then it goes into a ziplock back overnight with marinade. We tend to vary our marinades, I won't get into all those details..but you could pick up some Allegro marinade and do just fine.

    Then it goes into the dehydrator for 6-8 hours.

    Then it is time to hoard and fight for every scrap, because the teenage kids will take huge hand fulls and run off while the 5 year old screams and cries because he wants it all for himself.
     
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