Sunday, March 7, 2010

Making Jerky

So New Years Resolution #18. Get a dehydrator and dehydrate something is complete. A week ago we got some meat at the store. Went for a small batch since it was the initial test run so it was only about a pound and a half. I made a brine by combining teriaki, soy, a touch of salt, Worcestershire and a good sized clump of brown sugar.  It seems like the point of brine is to help preserve (salt) and just make it taste good. I then sliced the meat about as uniformly as I could 1/4 inch thick or so. The meat went into the brine and soaked for almost a week getting stirred as often as I remembered. You stir the brine so it stays uniform and all the meat gets it soaked in, you know it is soaked in when there are no more red parts in the meat.

Yesterday before dinner I tossed it into our 4 tray Excalibur Dehydrator.  Ours doesn't have a timer but for almost half the price it made getting one of these great dehydrators affordable for us. It is easy enough to just use the oven timer to keep track of time. If you want to start the dehydrator and have the timer turn it off there is a solution. Angela gave me the great advice to just plug the dehydrator into one of those Christmas Tree timers.

After about 6 hours the jerky seemed done to us. Tossed it into a bag and went to bed. This morning I tried a piece and it was definitely jerky. Tasted good and I look forward to eating some more. Next time I will try a bigger piece of meat in order to make a larger batch. Going to make a bunch of it for when I go to play in the woods. Speaking of that you should all be comforted to know that I have scheduled posts for that period of time. Not quite every day but more than every other day. There are some lighter days with quotes or pictures but hey, writing 7 weeks of posts in advance is hard.

I am going to cook breakfast now. Hammy eggs and toast here I come.


Commander_Zero said...

Everyone has a zillion ideas about how to flavor beef jerky. I use Montreal Steak Seasoning and have been quite pleased with it. Mix with water to form a paste, mix with meat, let sit overnight in a ziploc bag, and then dehydrate. Theres a nice dill flavor in the steak seasoning thats a welcome change from the usual teriyaki/soysauce/liquidsmoke flavorings everyone seems to use. It may not be a taste you like, but I'd recommend trying it.

Anonymous said...

You may also buy lean hamburger and use a jerky shooter(looks like a caulking gun). I found that the dry jerky mixes work best. Cabelas sells some of the best seasonings and each bag will make a bunch of jerky.

Anonymous said...

If you are buying a roast, have the butcher slice it for you. I like to add sliced jalapenos to my brine.

jimmycrackedcorn said...

We used to make steaks and jerky with a very similar brine to yours. We just mixed a certain cola brand with soy sauce in equal parts.

For a few years now I've been trying it and failing and couldn't figure out why.

It finally hit me. The recipe only works with cola sweetened with sugar and they have all switched to using high fructose corn syrup. I just stocked up on the cane sugar "throwback" bottles so I can try it again this year and hopefully relive this old memory.

Chief Instructor said...

I've been making jerky for a long time, and it always goes over big with the family. I have to hide a portion of it, or my boys (21 and 22) go through it in a day or so.

As Commander Zero noted, you usually don't need to keep it in the brine/marinade for a week - over night will generally fully flavor the meat.

For your next purchase, think about getting a meat slicer. You can buy the leanest, cheapest cuts of meat and make up some great jerky. Turkey breast and venison slice up and dry out nicely.

Nick said...

I've not been making jerky in the strictest sense of the word, but I've been dehydrating lots of chicken and fish for long-term storage. FWIW, here's a blog entry I posted a few days ago about dehydrating chicken and other food items:

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