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Homemade Jerky – What’s New?

Making homemade jerky is pretty  basic in equipment and process.   However, sometimes there are new and different products that can make the process easier or better.

The following 5 products are some items we found interesting in making homemade jerky. We thought that the screens for smoking jerky on the BBQ or in the smoker might prove to be useful since it’s difficult to lay strips or sticks directly onto the grill itself. They tend to fall through.   (Read about making jerky on a grill or in the smoker.)

The jerky stick kit would be great for those who want to try their hand at making homemade jerky without investing a lot of $$$$ and then finding out – WHOA !!! Not my cup of tea!

And for those who want to take their skills to the next level, the sausage / cure book is just what you need for great sausage recipes and to learn more about the elusive ‘cure’.

 

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Jerky vs. Freeze-Dried

Jerky is a great food for having on hand – survival and otherwise – since it can be home made from just about any lean meat - domestic or wild.   Once it has been processed using a dehydrator, smoker or home oven, it can be vacuum sealed, stored and even frozen. Typically you can count on keeping correctly processed jerky for 1-2 months in the freezer  or 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. However, if you are looking for food with  a much longer shelf life consider freeze-dried foods.

 

Like jerky, freeze dried foods are dehydrated, however there are some differences:

 

jerkyvsfreezedried

 

 

 

The heat (or smoke) used when making jerky removes most of the moisture (water) through a slow drying process, unlike the food items being freeze-dried where the moisture is sublimated over a period of time. [1]

To explain the process briefly, the item to be freeze-dried is first frozen, then the surrounding pressure is reduced allowing the frozen water in the item to sublimate  from its solid form to gaseous form. This process can take up to a week or more. This leaves a dehydrated form of the food. Not all foods can be freeze-dried, i.e., breads, cake, etc. [2]

 

jerkyvsfreezedried2

 

Depending on the nature of the food, some freeze-dried food items can be stored up to 25 years – no refrigeration necessary. When you’re ready to use them, the process to make them edible is as easy as adding hot water and waiting  a few minutes for the food to re-hydrate. Some foods don’t require hydration and can be eaten directly from the package, i.e., fruits.

It is possible to freeze-dry your own food at home, however, if you want  large quantities on hand for the future, it would probably be easier and safer to purchase ready packaged freeze-dried foods. Our favorite freeze-dried food is by Mountain Home.

Mountain Home offers a wide variety of meats, desserts, and side dishes.  Our favorite is the lasagna –  but they all taste really great.  For those who want to try freeze-drying their own food, visit this link  for a brief introduction to the process.

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[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeze-drying

[2] http://www.wikihow.com/Freeze-Dry

 

Jerky Outlets & 2 Recalls

texasoutlets_2014

Jerky Outlets

Who would’ve thought there’d be an outlet store for jerky??? But, yes there is. Beef Jerky Outlet has some 14 stores in 4 states – with more scheduled to open in 2014.

And, while you’re out there looking for jerky at the local outlet – don’t miss out on all the other outlet malls, outlet stores and factory stores here in Texas. Find the one closest to you on our new pages that make outlet shopping in Texas EASY. All available on ‘This Is Our Texas’. Visit site here.   And, what’s out favorite outlet? The chocolate outlet in Corsicana, of course!

Note: We’re in the process of adding more outlet stores, so if you don’t see what you’re looking for . . . check back.

Jerky in the News

Jerky Recall

Surprisingly, haven’t heard either one of these two stories on the local news or in local papers. And, in spite of their having been reported two months ago – thought it worthwhile to pass them along in case someone had purchased some of the affected  products and still  had them at home.

The first recall was mandated by the USDA and has to do with the company Prime Snax. [1] Seems that some 90,000 lbs. of jerky was processed with soy lecithin (an allergen) – but the company failed to list it on the ingredients label. The jerky affected by this recall was produced before February 2, 2014. The brands affected were distributed nationwide and are as follows:

  • Arizona Jacks Brand
  • Desert Star Brand
  • Southwest Trail Brand
  • Terrell Brand
  • Kettle Creek Brand

Each one of these brands has assorted products that are subject to the recall. Look for the ‘establishment number – EST 18961′. This will be inside the USDA inspection mark with a date on the packages prior to August 11, 2015.

To read more about specific products – visit this link.

Ground Beef Recall

This next recall concerns over 15,000 lbs. of ground beef contaminated by one of the E. coli strains. [2] First reported in the Fort Worth area, this recall hits a little closer to home – and in spite of the fact that it also was reported in February, 2014 – I’m posting for information so you can check any ground beef you may have stored in your freezer.

The Texas stores that were shown to have carried the contaminated beef are:

  • Brookshire’s
  • Kroger
  • Wal-mart
  • Super 1 Foods (Longview)
  • Super 1 Foods (Mt. Pleasant)
  • Super 1 Foods (Texarkana)
  • Super 1 Foods (Tyler)
  • Fresh by Brookshire’s (Tyler)

To check any ground beef you may have, look for the ‘establishment number Est 34715′ inside the USDA inspection mark .

To read more about the specific products that were contaminated – visit this link.

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.kltv.com/story/24697859/90000-pounds-of-beef-jerky-recalled-after-misbranding

[2] http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/02/beef-recalled-in-texas-brookshires-krogers-walmarts-and-super-1-foods-due-to-e-coli/#.UzGldNJOW70