Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's Good To Be A Jerk When Making Jerky

I love jerky but I hate the price. It's a great low fat low carb snack that can go with you. Well unless you're me and have to deal with Customs on your re-entry into the USA. You are not allowed meat products unless they are canned. Doesn't matter where they originated...they don't care.

Last year for Fathers Day I was given a food dehydrator from my kids. They were so brilliant for taking the hints I gave them.
It's really simple and easy to use. It takes all day plus the day before. You can get your very own on line or at one of the big outdoor sporting goods stores. Or like me you can drop some hints before your next birthday or parent type day.
I shop for meat on sale which is very lean and boneless. In order to slice the meat thin, less than a quarter inch it helps to be a bit frozen. No silly the meat frozen.
Once the meat is all sliced your going to marinade it for a day or more. You can buy jerky marinades but I just create my own. Just remember no oil based products, you want the meat to dry out. I mix it up in a gallon bag making sufficient Liquid to cover the meat. I like to use Worcester sauce and add to it some other things. Garlic powder, pepper, some soy sauce, I like cayenne pepper. A little lemon juice is good, I start tasting and tweaking it. A little sugar works nicely. I always use some liquid smoke to give it that "I made it over the open campfire taste." Again get creative with it. Once you've cleaned out the spice rack and the refrigerator of tasty additions bag the meat and refrigerate it over night.
Drain the meat squeezing out the excess liquid and lay out the strips on the racks.
I have also done this in the oven. If you weren't lucky enough to get the dehydrator as a gift. On a cookie sheet place a cooling rack and put the meat on that. You'll want your oven about as low as it will go. 160 works, leave the oven door open a little. If you door won't stay open just an inch or two you can put a wooden spoon in the door to hold it ajar.

Just keep checking on it. If you let it go too long it will crumble. Not long enough and spoilage becomes an issue. Of course I keep sampling it until its just right. 5 or 6 hours depending on how thick you cut it. If you get it very thin 3 or 4 might be sufficient.

When it's done let it cool and then either put it in a jar or a baggy. Go ahead and store it in the refrigerator. Not necessary if you gobble it up. Remember unlike the grocery store cousin yours will not contain preservatives. You can also store it in the freezer for long periods of time.

So go hit the trail, slope, bike, or whenever else you want a fun snack. Or like me at the airport or the hotel room.

1 comment:

  1. Just testing my own comment section. Apparently it hasn't been working correctly.