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Cellophane Gift Baskets


With Easter fast approaching, that means baskets.   Who doesn’t love those wonderful cellophane wrapped baskets filled full of chocolate eggs, peeps, bunnies and . .  . jerky?!!

Well maybe not the younger members of the family.   But just about everyone loves digging through a gift basket.  And,  knowing how to  wrap a cellophane basket yourself can be fun as well as money-saving.

We’ve found a couple of short videos (see below)  for those of you who would like to give it a try.

Aside from the contents, the supplies you’ll need are minimal – and you probably have most of them at home already.


  • Basket
  • Cellophane
  • Tape
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors

Don’t forget a cellophane wrapped gift basket filled with jerky making gear – or a variety of homemade jerky – makes a great gift for any occasion.

For an assortment of cellophane products  available on Amazon, visit this link.



Off-the-Shelf Seasonings

As promised, we’re taking a look at some OTS (off-the-shelf) flavors you can use when making jerky at home that you may not have thought of. Best part, you probably already have some of them.

  • Liquid Smoke
  • Teriyaki Sauce or Marinade
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Szechuan Seasoning Mix (packaged)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Chili Powder
  • Any flavored steak or BBQ sauce

These flavor enhancers can be used with either strips where you would marinate the meat or they can be mixed into the ground meat to be used in your jerky gun.

Note:  If using one of these flavor ingredients or a combination of them,  Morton Tender Quick  should be included as part of recipe for the cure.    The standard ratio of Morton Tender Quick  to meat is 1 tablespoon per 1 pound of meat.

To help you get started, we’ve placed a few  recipes below. [1]



Hot & Spicy Szechuan Jerky


  • 1 lb. ground venison (buffalo would be a good substitute)
  • 1 tablespoon Morton Tender Quick
  • 1 package hot and spicy Szechuan seasoning mix (3/4 oz.)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce


  1. Add the Szechwan spice mix and Morton Tender Quick  to the meat and mix well.
  2. Sprinkle soy sauce over the meat and blend.
  3. Use a jerky gun to extrude the meat into sticks and dry per dehydrator directions.

Chili Sticks


  • 1 lb ground meat   (beef, buffalo, venison)
  • 1 tablespoon Morton Tender Quick
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

Note:  This one can be made hotter by increasing the amount of chili powder and ground red pepper. 


  1. Blend dry spices and mix into meat. It should be well blended in.
  2. Use a jerky gun to extrude the meat into sticks and dry per dehydrator directions.




Easy Oven Jerky


  • 2 lb. venison steak sliced into thin strips (or beef, buffalo)
  • Morton Sugar Cure  (plain)
  • Sauce – this can be your favorite steak sauce, BBQ sauce, liquid smoke or any other flavored sauce, i.e., sweet and sour


  1. Rub the Morton Sugar Cure  onto all sides of the strips and place on racks in an oven with door slightly ajar.
  2. Set oven temperature to 200 degrees F and dry until internal temperature is 165 degrees F.
  3. When the jerky is almost dry, remove and brush both sides with your favorite sauce. (If using liquid smoke, only brush one side as it can become over-powering)
  4. Return jerky to the oven until jerky is dry and the sauce coating is well set.


[1] The Complete Jerky Book, M. Burch



Dry Rub – Not Just for BBQ

In past we’ve taken a look at the most common ways to ‘flavor’ your jerky including wet marinating (strips) and adding seasonings to ground meat for stick or extruded jerky. However, there is another way to season your jerky meat and that is by using a dry rub.  This would only apply to portions of meat that are to be sliced or have already been sliced.

A dry rub cure typically consists of using the dry ingredients sprinkled on to the meat – all sides, and then rubbing it in . . .   wearing a glove will help keep your hands clean.  The dry ingredients are then allowed time to meld with the meat.

Like marinating, once the dry rub has been applied, seal the meat in an air tight container or zip-bag and allow to cure for a minimum of one (1) hour. When you are ready to begin the drying process, rinse the meat under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.  The meat is now ready to be dried either in the oven or using a dehydrator following  manufacturer’s directions.

Most of the recipes we’ve seen for a dry rub are very simple.   One that would be easy to prepare at home is below.

Salt Jerky

  • 2 tablespoons Morton Tender Quick mix OR Morton Sugar Cure mix
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Note: It is a good idea to mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl before applying to the meat.  Doing so ensures that they are well mixed and you won’t have any ‘hot spots’. 

Salt Cures:  What’s the Difference?

Below are three (3) of the top cures available on Amazon.  We’ve included a brief look at the differences and uses.  For more information, please visit the link and see what others are saying.

Morton Tender Quick – 4+ Stars  . . .   A salt product with sodium nitrate  (.05%) and sodium nitrite (.05%)  for preservatives.    For a wet marinade, per Amazon question/answer – 1 cup per 5 lbs. of meat.



Morton Sugar Cure – 4 Stars . . . This mix is formulated for dry or sweet pickle curing of meat, poultry, game, salmon, shad, and sablefish. It is primarily used for dry curing hams and bacon.   If you plan on making  jerky using this product, you may want to read some of the questions on the Smoking Forum.



Hoosier Hill Farm Prague Pink Curing Salt – 5 Stars   . . .  Hoosier Hill Curing Salt (1 lb.) contains enough salt to cure 100 lbs. of meat and is sometimes referred to as the ‘tinted cure’. According to questions asked on Amazon, you would use 1 teaspoon of product for 5 lbs. of meat.  Use of this product will give the meat a pinkish tint.



Next post we’re taking a look at some different ways to flavor your jerky using common OTS (off-the-shelf) seasonings.