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More Jerky Basics – Measuring & Drying

Making jerky isn’t rocket science but care should be taken when making homemade jerky including marinades, seasonings, cures, etc.[1]


Most pre-packaged marinades, seasonings, cures, etc. will come with manufacturers directions on how much to use for set amounts of meat. These directions should always be followed.


Some other things to think about when making homemade jerky are:

  • Weigh the finished, trimmed cut strips or ground meat to be used so that the correct amount of marinade, seasoning, cure, etc. are used.  (Store any unused seasonings in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.  Do not re-use marinades.)
  • Be sure you have good measuring tools and that measurements are level – not heaped or packed down. Also,  ‘fluff’ the ingredients, seasonings before measuring.
  • marinatorFollow recommended ‘cure’ time for pre-packaged seasonings. For example, Hi Mountain Jerky Cure & Seasoning is formulated to work at 1/4 inch per 24 hours.  If the meat is thicker, or if you are making jerky cubes, you would increase this time.
  • If you are short on time to marinate your jerky or if you marinate a lot of different types of food, check out this vacuum marinator by STX.  Cuts the time significantly.


To read more information about the vacuum marinator,  visit this link:   STX International STX-1000-CE Chef’s Elite 15 Minute Meat & Vegetable Vacuum Marinator with Auto Shut Off and Free Meat Tenderizer










A couple  of basic rules to follow before drying your jerky (home oven, dehydrator, or smoker) are:


  • Place marinated (or dry-rub) strips on paper toweling or pat dry before placing in the dehydrator or oven.
  • If making jerky in your home oven, place the jerky on jerky racks over a ‘cookie’ sheet  – or line the oven with aluminum foil –  to help with clean-up.





To see the Bradley Set of 4 Jerky Racks pictured to the right, please visit this link.



jerky_hanging_in_ovenNote: If you are on a tight budget, jerky can also be dried in a home oven by placing toothpicks (or bamboo skewers) through one end of the strip and hanging  it  through the existing oven rack.  Be sure you have the oven rack on the highest level so your jerky strips do not touch the bottom of the oven.  This  is especially necessary if you are using an electric oven.  Place the other rack at the lowest setting and use a cookie sheet to catch the drips – or place aluminum foil on the bottom of  the oven.


Final thought, if you are a first-time jerky maker,  unsure of the flavor you are using, or  texture of the jerky you are making, take a piece out and taste-test it frequently.  ( Do not eat raw, marinated jerky strips or sticks )



[1] The Complete Jerky Book




Pork: The Forgotten Meat

Since we typically think of jerky as being a very lean meat, i.e., venison, buffalo, beef; pork typically does not  come to mind.  But, if you use the pork loin – as strips, cubed, minced or ground –  pork can be a tasty, economical alternative for making jerky.





porkjerky_bakkwaThe recipes for pork jerky were pretty much the same as for any other homemade jerky.  However, we did come across a Chinese jerky – Bak Kwa.  This recipe made use of pork using either strips or minced pork.  While the author of the article preferred the strips, they said the pork jerky using the minced pork was easier for the home cook to prepare.

As you might suspect, making this type of jerky leans towards ingredients with a Chinese flavor including fish sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, 5-spice powder, etc. – so if you are a fan of Chinese food, you would probably like this jerky.


You can find the recipes for the two types of Bak Kwa at this link. 





Most of the other recipes  for making pork jerky were the same as for any other jerky except some recommended you smoke the pork jerky for added flavor.  Others called for adding in some bourbon into the marinade to enhance the flavor.

If you plan on making  pork jerky  follow the same rules as for making any other type of jerky.

  • Use the best cut (loin) you can find
  • Keep it lean (trim off fat)
  • Use a cure
  • Add your favorite flavors

A couple of pork recipes that sounded really tasty are below. We’ve  only listed the ingredients followed by a link to the full recipe.

Pork Jerky No. 1 [1]

  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • porkjerky_loin21/2 cup Apple Cider
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1-1/4 Brown Sugar
  • 2 TBS Black Pepper
  • 2 TBS Salt


Get complete recipe here 


Pork Jerky No. 2 [2]

  • 5 lbs lean pork
  • 2 1/2 TBSP pickling salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp Prague Powder *
  • 2/3 tsp cloves, ground
  • 2 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 2- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 -1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 – 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1- 1/4 cups honey
  • 1- 1/4 cup no-pulp orange juice


Get full recipe at this link


*Prague powder is the same as  – Pink Curing Salt 1 (2lb Prague Powder) by Anthony’s, Verified Gluten-Free – available on Amazon.