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Jerky Recap

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For those who may not have been with us from the start and may have missed some of the basics, we’re going to recap a few past posts to highlight the main topics associated with making homemade jerky.

Making your own jerky means you know exactly what’s in it. For more on the ingredients in commercial jerky, read  “4 Good Reasons to Make Your Own Jerky.”

EQUIPMENT

Most of the time you can use items you have around the house, i.e., knives, ovens, plastic bags, etc., but having the best equipment you can afford is a plus, especially if you want to make more than just jerky strips.  The following will give you an idea of equipment needed.

5 Top Jerky Guns  – great for making sticks

Overview of Equipment   –  general items needed

Top Dehydrators   –  best way to make jerky.  There is also an article on hydrators re air circulation:  horizontal vs. vertical

 

INGREDIENTS

The best part of homemade jerky is that there are no chemical additives.  However,  you do need to know what to use for curing and flavor.

Types of Cure

Dry Rub – Not Just for BBQ

Top 10 Seasonings  

 

MEATS

Beef seems to be the meat of choice, but don’t be shy try some of the other meats like buffalo and venison.

Best Beef Cuts for Making Jerky

Fish Jerky

Safe Temperatures for Meat 

Beef: Organic vs. Natural

 

MAKING HOMEMADE JERKY

You don’t need a dehydrator to make jerky, you can use your home oven or over the outdoor grill.

How to Grill / Smoke Jerky

Making Jerky in Home Oven

 

MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION

Perfect Jerky for Dogs

Not All Woods are Safe for Smoking

9 Jerky No-No’s

 

CONCLUSION

These are just a few of the topics we’ve covered over the years. To review other topics that might be of interest,  i.e., shipping to military personnel,  comparisons of beef vs. buffalo, etc. take a moment and peruse our site map at this link   where all posts are listed.  Thank you!

 

Jerky Around the World

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We’ve looked at some ways old-timers and Native Americans have  made jerky without all the conveniences of today.  But various  forms of jerky are also popular around the world.

 

1) The Alaska Eskimos made a version of jerky called Pemmican.  Pemmican consisted of crushed and powdered meat to which fat is mixed in.  Sometimes berries would also be added.  [1]  Pemmican was also popular with the indigenous peoples of North America.  [7]

2) In Canada you will find jerky being made from of the breast of a goose.  This type of jerky can be made either sliced or ground and extruded from a jerky gun.

3) In South Africa you’re likely to find Biltong.[2]    This is a form of jerky typically made from beef, game or ostrich.  The preparation differs from what we think of as jerky in that it is made during cold months to reduce risk of bacteria and the cold air dried the product faster.  Biltong is never smoked and often vinegar is used to cure.

4) Bakkwa is a food found in China that is similar to jerky.[3]   Originally it tended to have a  salty-sweet taste, but today not only has the sweet taste been reduced but also the method of preparation has been modernized.  Traditionally it was made of pork, however, it is now sometimes made of beef or mutton.   It is also popular in Singapore and Malaysia thanks to Chinese immigrants.

5) Carne Seca is a dried meat product found in Mexico.  [4]  It can also be used in the preparation of certain dishes.

6) Dendeng is a dried meat found in Indonesia.  [5]  Much like the Bakkwa it has a salty-sweet flavor but rather than drying it is cured through frying.

7) Sukuti is a dried meat found in Nepal. [6]  It is prepared by hanging chunks of meat over a slow fire or left in the sun.  It is often used in other dishes.

 

After doing the bit of research for this post, got to think that we’re very fortunate to have access to dehydrators with a wide variety of pre-packaged seasonings and cures to make our jerky whether it’s strips or sticks.  To see the top 10 in jerky making equipment and seasonings, visit this link.

 

 

 

[1] http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-make-pemmican/#axzz47FlkKmpz

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biltong

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakkwa

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carne_seca

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendeng

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukuti

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pemmican

Old Time Jerky Making

Dehydrators and ovens have made making jerky at home easy. But for those who want to try making jerky one of  the old-fashioned ways, we’re posting some methods[1] below.  These would be good to know for long-term camping or for   survival food.

 

OFJ_1Early Jerky – Native Americans

 

Some of the earliest jerky was made by Native Americans who would cut the meat in  thin strips and then hang them over racks made of thin branches. In the south and southwest, this was particularly easy since the air was dry.  However, when in the north a small, smoky fire helped speed up the process.  Drying time would depend on the type of meat and whether or not air/fire was used.

 

Old-Fashioned Jerky

 

Another method as described by Col. T. Whelen was to take the lean cuts of meat and dry them over a fire (or in the sun).  The strips should be cut wide, long and about 1/2 inch thick.  These would then be hung on a framework about 4-6 feet off the ground.  Below the rack would be a small, slow, smoky fire of any wood – OFJ_3except those with resin.*  The meat would be allowed to dry in the sun / wind; however, would be covered at night or in the rain.  This method should produce jerky in several days.

 

Note: The fire should not be so hot as to cook the meat.  This method produces a hard jerky that if kept away from damp and flies will keep for a long time.    It should also be noted that while this type of jerky can be used in stews, soups, etc; it should not be considered as a long-term food source as it has no fat.

 

* This is a partial list of trees / plants that should not be used because they contain resin [2]

  • Cedar
  • Fir
  • Juniper
  • Pine
  • Redwood
  • Spruce
  • Yew
  • Larch
  • Sweetgum
  • Aspen
  • Willow
  • Birch
  • Sarsaparilla

 

Campsite Jerky

 

OFJ_2This method requires a little more effort but if you have the time would be a good way to teach the younger members of the family about the ‘old days’.

 

The meat should be cut into strips, laid flat and sprinkled on both sides with pepper and lightly with salt rubbing both  in. Put a hole in each end of the strips and thread with cotton thread or cord then tie off to make a loop.  In a boiling pot of water, dip each loop for 15-20 seconds, remove, then re-dip.   These dipped strips are then hung to dry.

 

If hung outside in the sun, cover with cheesecloth to keep bugs off, as well as hanging them high enough so other animals can’t reach them. As an alternative, hang on a clothesline in a cold, dry room.

Strips should be dry in 4-5 days.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Complete Jerky Book, Monte Burch

[2] http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/ethnobotany/resins.shtml