T Nation

How to Make Jerky?


#1

I think jerky is a great snack to have, especially for those sticking to a strict diet and looking for good foods on the go. I just want to find out how to make it at home, so I can avoid all the fillers and additives that are in most store brands. I'm assuming it takes a dehydrator among other things.

So who does it successfully? What equipment do you use/is necessary? Any other tips would be more than appreciated!


#2

all you gotta do is cut up a brisket, marinade it in spices/sauce of choice, and put it in the dehydrator til dry. my dad makes a batch every time he gets a deer and it's always delicious and gone in short order.


#3

Any way to do this without a dehydrator, like with an oven or outdoors or something? I love jerky but it seems that every brand I buy uses sugar in the process, which I don't like.


#4

If you have a box fan, try Alton Brown's box fan jerky. You basically use paper air conditioning filters and a box fan to dry the meat. Make sure you get the right filters! Paper or cotton only.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/beef-jerky-recipe/index.html


#5

Cool. I'll try that Borrek. Thanks!


#6

Might be a retarded question, but do I have to cook the meat before I dehydrate it?


#7

I frequent a hunting forum. Deer jerky is closely guarded or its gone before its out of the dehydrator lol. delicious.


#8

Nope. And if you go through thrift stores you can find a dehydrator for as cheap as 5 bucks. My girlfriend just bought one and has been making me tons of jerky.


#9

negative. I make jerky occasionally. Homemade is 1000x tastier and cheaper.


#10

yea the only way to do it is with a dehydrator...they are not that expensive at all...my dad and i make it all the time and the dehydrator we bought was like 30 bucks?? and it comes out perfect everytime...on top of that, you can control what you put on it, so you know its healthy without any bullshit that most companies use as preservatives and stuff....and Venison jerky is amazing, probably my favorite...i have also made turky, buffalo, and elk...all awesome

IronWarrior


#11

IronWarrior, is there a dehydrator you would recommend. I didn't realize they were that cheap.


#12

Deer jerky is to kill for...only problem with deer jerky made right, is that its so damn good your gonna pound calories all day and night not wanting to stop eating it...


#13

We make a lot of jerky in a big dehydrator out on the deck.

Use lean cuts of beef, like round, and slice it as thin as possible. The semi-raw dried fat in fatty cuts is unpleasant IMO. Save the fatty cuts for cooking, where they are much tastier than most of the lean cuts.

Venision jerky is OK, but elk is really great.

We marinate the thinly sliced beef in soy sauce, fresh garlic (pressed), a bit of honey, liquid smoke, Worcestershire, fresh ground black pepper, and various other seasonings. The honey, or brown sugar, attracts enough moisture so that the resultant jerky is not tough as shoe leather. Our version, though, doesn't have nearly as many grams of sugar per serving as commercial (which is sometimes almost as much as the protein grams!) It doesn't have to marinate terribly long. Cook's tests with marinades show that they never penetrate more than a small fraction of an inch, no matter how long the marinating time.

For more tender jerky, next time I make it I am thinking of using a Jaccard 48-blade tenderizing tool. The idea is to cut long protein strands into much shorter ones, without turning them to mush.

Dry the marinated meat off with paper towels and then place in the dehydrator till done. We dry ours less than commercial, so it's less tough, but can develop mold sooner. Don't seal it airtight; store it in a jar with some of those silica moisture absorbers that come in all those bottles of pills.

Alton Brown's Good Eats episode on jerky was really good. I remember after watching it I wanted to make his recipe. The box fan was brilliant, but I don't know if I'll go that far.


#14

I bought a Nesco American Harvest for about $35 from Fleet farm.

http://www.nesco.com/category_449f7f01f1ea/subcategory_39febe0b9343/product_91d5b1c5e8a9/session_be45a951217c/

It works well, although I have not tried Jerky yet. I dehydrate green beans and fruit work road trips from MN to Chicago.


#15

Is there a reason that nobody makes chicken jerky or pork jerky?


#16

I've tried chicken jerky. It's very hard to get it right.

Jack Link's and Von Hanson's make turkey Jerky, and its kindof weird. Really moist.


#17

I've actually had pork jerky before. Can't remember where I got it (or the brand), but I remember it being one of the best jerkys I've ever had. It tasted like pork ribs.

Nothing tops the bison jerky I had once... that stuff was soooo good.


#18

Ditto. Bison jerky is incredible.


#19

trader joe's jerky is good stuff, ingredients aren't so bad, but I would prefer to make my own ofcourse