Jerky Making Tips
Jerky Making Tips
Jerky, whether it’s made from beef, venison, or any other type of wild game, is a great way to make sure you always have a healthy snack around. Read this article to see 5 easy tips to make sure your homemade Jerky comes out amazing!
# 1. Make sure your equipment is clean
This is an obvious one, but it is one that many people overlook, and it is especially true if you are using wild game. If you have dirty equipment or processing area, bacteria will grow on it. Bacteria then gets into your meat and starts spoiling it. You can kill the bacteria, but you can not fix spoiled meat by cooking it. Some of the bacteria associated with spoiled meat can reproduce incredibly quickly, doubling their numbers in under an hour.
# 2. Cut Cold and Against the Grain
If you have ever tried to slice warm, uncooked meat thin, then you will appreciate the necessity of slicing your jerky meat when it is still a little frozen. Even if it has some ice crystals in it, that is still better than trying to cut it when it is warm. Also cut against the grain, this will make finished jerky that is much easier to chew, which will in turn feel more tender. Aim for pieces around 1/4" thick, if you have a good deli slicer, this is the perfect time to use it.
# 3. Air flow is very important
If you don’t have a dehydrator, then you can dehydrate your jerky in the oven, but you need to make sure it has the correct amount of air flow. The easiest way to do this is just to crack the door. We recommend using a combination of an over and a dehydrator; start it off in the oven and then move to the dehydrator once the meat has reached 160°F. Most dehydrators will not get your meat to 160°.
# 4. Use a pre-packaged seasoning
I know a lot of people want to use the family recipe, but companies like Excalibur are around for a reason. They spend years perfecting their seasoning and spice blends to ensure that they have the correct amount of salt, spices, and cures to give you the best possible product. They have a large variety of jerky seasonings, with everything from the classics like Colorado Jerky seasoning to Habanero Lime!
# 5. Marinate overnight or vacuum tumble for 30 minutes
Once you have sliced your jerky and used the correct amount of seasoning, you need to make sure that you let it marinate for the appropriate amount of time. Usually 12 hours or overnight will allow the cure to penetrate and keep the meat safe through the dehydrating process. If you have a access to a vacuum tumbler, then you only need to let it vacuum tumble for about 30 minutes; this is because the combination of being under a vacuum and the impact energy from the tumbler will pull the muscle fibers apart and let the cure penetrate much faster.
So there are 5 good tips to keep in mind when making Jerky! If you have questions on what might be causing a specific problem for you, leave us a comment and we will get back to you. Or you can always follow me on here and send me a private chat if you’d prefer to not post your question so everyone can see it!