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It’s easy to make jerky from meat products purchased at the local grocery or meat market. For hunters, it’s also easy to make delicious jerky from game such as deer.  But what about those hunters that like to hunt game birds, water fowl or small game, i.e., rabbits, squirrels, etc., these don’t have enough meat mass to make jerky strips.  An alternative jerky is to use them for making ground-meat jerky or as we call them, jerky sticks.




As in any situation when hunting – and field dressing – special care should be taken to use safe, clean butchering processes so as to not contaminate the meat.   This is especially true if you plan on using the meat for ground meat jerky.  And, of course, only healthy animals should be used.


The process for obtaining the meat to be used should include the following:


  • Debone the meat from game or fowl
  • Remove all fat and gristle
  • Cut away all bloody meat and remove any shot
  • Soak deboned pieces in salt water overnight in the refrigerator (helps remove some of the gaminess and also helps tenderize the meat)

Making ground meat jerky from small game or fowl also means that you can use the less tender portions of meat. You may  find your jerky sticks more tasty if different types of meat are mixed together.  For example, try blending the dark meat of ducks and geese with milder meat to tone down the flavor.  Another way to ‘mask’ a strong game flavor is to use very spicy seasonings.





Preparation & Mixing Process

  1. If meat has not been previously frozen, freezing it a little helps in the grinding process.
  2. Make sure the spices you plan on using are dissolved in any liquid you use
  3. Mix everything completely together, including cure, in a large bowl (non-metallic) until tacky.
  4. Refrigerate overnight
  5. Extrude from jerky gun and dry according to dehydrator directions



Ground Meat Jerky Recipe [1]

  • 2 pounds wild game meat, ground
  • 2 tablespoons Morton Tender Quick
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3-4 drops hot sauce (use to taste, can be made hotter)


Note: Try replacing the lemon pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder with your favorite pre-packaged  jerky seasoning like Nesco’s or one of the whiskey flavored ones.  Also, the recipe may need to be adjusted if the pre-packaged seasoning already contains a cure.


Look for  links to the most requested  jerky making equipment, seasonings and info . . .  here.

Final thought, don’t have any small game or fowl, use this ground meat method to clean out the freezer using all your left over game meat. You’ll have an empty freezer ready  for hunting season and lots of delicious jerky to enjoy in the meantime.



[1]   The Complete Jerky Book

Fresh Pear Cake




Every once in a while, I take a detour from making jerky into making something else. This is one of those times.

I’m not much of a ‘farmer’ but this year my pear trees – and blueberry bushes – have been full of fruit thanks to Mother Nature.  So much so it is impossible to eat it all so we’ve been freezing most of it.  All we do is put the fresh fruit into freezer bags and place in freezer.  A ‘no brainer’  even for me.

However, my wife did make the best fresh pear cake . . . super moist and with a topping not unlike a praline.     Also, like to mention the recipe can be used for making an apple cake . . .  and IF you don’t like pralines, you can use a cream cheese frosting on top . . . or so I’m told.

The recipe is below. And, for those who would like to see more about fixing it, please visit this link.

Pear Cake [1]

pearcake_2Ingredients – Cake

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 cups raw diced pears (or apples)

Ingredients – Topping

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 lb. butter (1 stick)

Directions – Cake


  1. Mix all cake ingredients by hand in order given
  2. Pour in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan or spring form pan
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and remove


Directions – Topping


  1. In a saucepan mix all ingredients and bring to a slow boil for 3 minutes
  2. Pour over cake and return to oven for 4 minutes.


PS – For the best blueberry filling ever, visit this link.











Sugar Free | Gluten Free Jerky

Didn’t know jerky contained sugar? or gluten?  Well, technically guess you might say it doesn’t since it is a meat product.  But, depending on the ingredients used to marinate or the seasonings added in when making jerky sticks, you may be getting sugar and/or gluten and not know it.  Those on restricted diets can enjoy jerky by monitoring ingredients used  . . .  both store bought and homemade.

What is Sugar Free?

First, most foods should probably not be labeled ‘sugar free’ but rather ‘no sugar added’ since sugar can be found naturally in many foods.    For those who adhere to a sugar free diet you can visit our webpage – I Can’t Believe It’s Sugar Free – to read more about the difference between sucrose (table sugar)  and  fructose, visit this link. 




What is Gluten?

Now for gluten. This has been a hot topic lately with many foods now being offered as ‘gluten free’.   Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains, ie., wheat, rye and barley.  Therefore, if you are wanting to remove gluten from your diet, check the ingredients on products used for your homemade jerky  – or store bought – to see if any wheat or other grain products are listed.  To see other grains with gluten, visit this link.

If you are gluten intolerant, check all product ingredients for gluten. Wheat products used in some products, ie., worcestershire sauce [1]  may not list wheat products used.  Soy sauce is debatable regarding gluten content with some brands registering minute amounts.   Check on line or call the manufacturer to confirm gluten content for the brand used.

Ssugarfree-worcestershireugar Free |  Gluten Free  Low Salt  Marinade Recipes

To get you started on sugar free / gluten free jerky options, we’ve placed a couple of recipes below that we found on line.


Marinade No. 1   [2]

  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried, ground chipolte peppers (optional – makes it spicy!)
  • 1 tablespoon Stevia (or honey)
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 5 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water


sugarfree-soysauceMarinade No. 2   [3]

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic crushed (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup pineapple juice

Each marinade recipe should be good for about three (3) pounds of sliced jerky meat.