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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.


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.


















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.









4 Good Reasons to Make Your Own Jerky

equipmentvsjerkyEver heard of  . . . .


  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) [1]
  • Maltodextrin  [2]
  • Sodium Erythorbate  [3]
  • Sodium Nitate  [4]

These ingredients are to be found in some processed jerky products out there on the market.  And, while the jury is still  out as to whether or not they are harmful when consumed, they are commonly used ingredients in a variety of processed foods.  If you want to limit intake or have allergies to any of the above, check the labels on all purchased food items – especially those containing meat.

With jerky being sold almost everywhere – from gas stations to gourmet shops – one should to be aware of not only ingredients but also quality.

  • How is it processed and packaged?
  • Does it contain artificial ingredients or flavors?
  • Do they use the best natural, healthy ingredients?
  • Do they use the best meats?

It would be hard to answer these questions based solely on a visual assessment.  However, if you take the time to make your own jerky, you’ll know exactly what goes into your meat snacks.  You’ll know you’ve used the best cut of meat, the best spices along with careful handling.

For those who might  think it takes too much time or  costs too much money to make your own jerky at home, consider this.  The basic Nesco equipment needed to make unlimited pounds of  jerky , i.e., a  Nesco dehydrator AND jerky gun can be purchased on Amazon for a base cost of under $65.00.  While a one-time purchase of commercially processed beef  jerky will set you back  $83.40 for 1-1/2 pounds !!! *

Lifestyle and frequency of eating jerky will factor into  determining which choice you’ll make.    But for those who want to go ‘natural’ – homemade jerky can’t be beat.  To see more jerky equipment and seasonings, visit this link – Top Jerky Equipment & Seasonings.


*    These comparisons were taken off Amazon where 2 oz. of jerky sold for $6.95 as of 1/20/2015.


[2]  Maltodextrin

[3]  Sodium Erythorbate  –

[4]  Sodium Nitrate –



Bourbon Jerky . . . YES!!!!

Bourbon whiskey is a type of American whiskey – made primarily from corn – that  has been barrel-aged.  [1]    Used in some recipes it infuses a rich flavor that tantalizes the taste buds, i.e,  Bourbon chicken, Bourbon whiskey balls,  Bourbon Pecan Pie (recipe below) and so we thought . . .  why not Bourbon jerky??

For those who want to make their own Bourbon marinades for beef or venison jerky, you might find the links below helpful.  They give not only ingredients but also directions for dehydration.

Bourbon marinade for beef   (Recipe)  

Bourbon venison jerky   (Video) 

However,  if you want a quick and easy Bourbon marinade – ready-to-go,  try these pre-packaged marinade mixes and finished  jerky products available on Amazon:




Bourbon Pecan Pie

This is one of our favorite holiday pies – a variation of the traditional  pecan pie.  And we might add it is equally delicious warm  or cold –


·         1 9-inch pie shell (unbaked – homemade or store bought)
·         3 Large eggs (beaten)
·         1/2 Cup brown sugar firmly packed
·         1/2 Cup light corn syrup
·         1/2 Cup dark corn syrup
·         2 Tablespoons REAL butter (melted)
·         3 Tablespoons Bourbon
·         1/4 Teaspoon salt
·         1 Cup fresh pecans chopped (you can use whole ones if you like)
·         Prepare the crust in a pie pan but do not bake.

Pie Filling:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
1.       Beat eggs in a large bowl.

2.       Add the brown sugar into the beaten eggs ( Make sure all of the sugar dissolves and there are no lumps)

3.       Stir in remaining ingredients: corn syrups, butter, salt, Bourbon and pecans

4.       Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell.

5.       Cover the edges with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning.

6.       Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the center is set.

Watch the pie carefully the last 10 minutes for the top to ‘crust and crack’ – this means it is done. Do not over-bake.

7.       Remove from oven, cool and enjoy.

Left over pie can be refrigerated.

Note: This pie is equally good without the bourbon.


For more great recipes – including Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce – please visit I Can’t Believe It’s Sugar Free !