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Jerky Flavors: Mild to Habanero Hot

There are many different flavors and degrees of heat for making jerky.  Some like their jerky with a relatively mild, original smoky flavor, some like sweet, while others like it eye-watering HOT!

We’re taking a look at some of the more popular flavors available for making your own jerky at home as well as how to determine where flavors rank on the pepper scale for being hot.

Little bit of history before we begin.  The degree of spicy heat for peppers (capsaicin concentration) – or any other food for that matter is based on the Scoville scale heat units.  [1]  This scale was devised  in 1912 by a pharmacist, Wilbur Scoville.    He developed his scale by the simple method of taster sensitivity.  Not very precise, but none-the-less it is still used today and covers more than 15 types of edible peppers.

 

scovillepepperchart

While you’ll find a wide variety of jerky seasonings available, most of them tend to favor the hardwood flavors (hickory, oak, mesquite), cracked pepper and garlic, Cajun – a variety of mixed spices, and sweet (BBQ and Teriyaki) with hot pepper flavors (Jalapeno and Haberano) seemingly having the least variety.

Another popular way you’ll find jerky seasonings offered to the consumer  is where an assortment of flavors are in one package.  We found the most common variety package to include variations of hardwood, black pepper, jalapeno and Cajun.  Interestingly, some of the best jerky seasonings out there have been created by small companies and are ‘Award Winning’.  (Look for the  ‘blue ribbon’  on the jerky chart page. )

Most pre-packaged seasonings you may buy are ready to go including both spices and cure.  However, if you are looking for a cure to use for jerky  – or corned beef, etc. – Morton has a ‘five star’ rated product.   Read more about  Morton Cure here.

You’ll find these pre-packaged seasonings can be used for making both jerky strips and sticks using beef, buffalo, pork, poultry, fish or wild game.

To see a list of the top selling jerky flavors on Amazon – ranked according to flavor and spiciness  – visit the Jerky Seasoning Chart –  with links to get details on product or purchase.

 

 

 

 

[1]  scoville   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoville_scale

Hiking Texas

hikingEveryone knows that jerky is one of the best, if not the No. 1  hiking food,  but for a little variety while out there exploring what nature has to offer, try some of these other easy-to-carry foods:  [1]

  • Trail Mix   (Note:  Try adding some M&M’s, goldfish crackers or nuts of choice to purchased trail mix to customize it to you taste.)
  • Peanut Butter & Crackers
  • Candy Bars
  • Packaged-in-the-pouch Tuna
  • Instant Drink Mixes   (Gatorade is good)

For a day of hiking you can get by with foods that are ready to eat.  If you plan on an overnight hiking trip you’ll find that in addition to just food you may need to consider more supplies: [2]

  • Tent or sleeping bag
  • Cooking options and fuel  (open campfire, grills available, etc.)
  • Availability of potable water (carry in or available at camp site)
  • Amount of food (dried, canned, easy to prepare) with seasonings

Here in Texas there are many hiking trails and camping sites available in the state parks.  For information on amenities available in state parks, visit  the following links for parks located in the various regions of Texas:

Hiking and camping are great ways for the family to enjoy time together – but remember, if you pack it in . . .  pack it out.

 

 

 

[1]  http://blackwoodspress.com/blog/5521/10-ultralight-backpacking-foods

[2]  http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/planning-menu.html

 

 

Temperature for Keeping Jerky Meat Safe – Defrosting, Storing, Transporting

While it may still be winter outside,  you can be sure summer is on the way.  And, with that we should be aware of the handling of the meat used for homemade jerky.  Whether you are transporting it, defrosting it or storing it . . . the handling of raw meat is very important with regard to temperatures.

Defrosting

To defrost frozen meat for jerky, one of the following methods can be used.  [1]

  • Defrost food in the refrigerator
  • Defrost in cold water
  • Defrost in the Microwave  (use defrost setting or be very careful not to start cooking process.)

Note:  For foods defrosted in water, place meat in airtight packaging and submerge in cold water.

 

Storage and Chilling

The following are pretty much just good-old-common-sense, but never hurts to refresh. [2]

  1. Meats should be stored in a refrigerator with a temperature of 40 degrees or below.   This temperature should be maintained to slow growth of harmful microbes.
  2. Always refrigerate or freeze the meat as soon as you get home from the store.
  3. Never let meats sit at ‘room temperature’ more than 2 hours before refrigerating or freezing.  Nte:  The time should be reduced to 1 hour IF the temperature is above 90 degrees F.
  4. Never defrost at room temperature.   (See above.)
  5. Never over-stuff the refrigerator as the cold air needs to circulate to keep meat/food safe.

 

safe_temperatures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transporting

While maintaining a safe temperature at home while working with jerky meat is important,  it is equally important to keep meat safe when transporting from the grocery store to home.  This can be done by one of the following ways:

 

  • Packing the meats in a pre-cooled, insulated bag cooler
  • Storing in a cooler with ice packs   If you’re looking for the best, look for a Yeti Cooler
  • In a pinch, wrap the meats in thick newspaper or heavy brown paper and keeping it  out of direct sun while in the vehicle.

 

Note:  This last method should only be used if no other storage method is available and then the meat should be delivered straight home to the refrigerator or freezer.

 

 

 

 

 

[1]  http://www.health.state.mn.us/foodsafety/cook/temperature.html 

[2]  http://www.health.state.mn.us/foodsafety/store/cold.html