How we make our jerky
Every year, about this time, we end up with a little surplus of ground meat. A favourite at our house is the salty, protein filled, teriyaki jerky. My first dehydrator was a cheap...a useless machine. It had no temperature gauge, and ran very hot...which I suppose may be okay for jerky..but not so nice for my fruits. A few years ago, I scored a better dehydrator at a second hand shop for only $14. It's perfect.
First off, when making jerky, be sure to have good quality, fresh ground meat.
A local butcher is a great place to look.
We don't measure so much when we make ours...here we have aprox 5 lbs meat, and have sprinkled close to 2tbs of Kosher salt on top. You cna adjust the salt content to suit your tastes. Sometimes, I don't use any at all...but it will store longer when you use salt. Mix in well. I let this sit for a few hours to soak in well. Some suggest letting it sit for longer, but 2-3 hrs will do.
Next we work in a seasoning. The sky is the limit here...choose whatever you like. You could purchase specially made seasonings just for jerky, or make your own. We use a 475 ml bottle of our favourite Teriyki sauce. I'd love to make my own sauce...but have not come across a good recipe that we all love. If you have one you cherish, please share :)
Once the seasoning has been worked in well, we use our Nesco Jerkey Pump to squeeze out strips of raw meat onto our dehydrator trays.
Once the Dehydrator is full (we have 9 trays), I set the temperature to 155f and leave it to do it's work. I usually check back in an hour or so to flip the strips. This can be a sticky mess if the meat has not dried enough. So if it is still pretty wet, I wait longer.
While we are waiting, here is where I found my 2 year old. He learned from his older bothers how to do this...you see, they climb up and over the banister to avoid the baby gate....and Griffen's legs are just a little short of freedom..so he just hangs out here.
When I turned on the dehydrator it was early afternoon..so at bedtime the jerky was nearly done...but not completely. So, I set the heat on low and left it to finish over night. In the morning Cylas exclaimed, "It's as hard as bark but tastes awesome...can I have another piece?" I haven't quite figured out the art of having dry, yet tender jerky...mine is always dry dry...but equally yummy. Have you tips on making your jerky tender? Care to share?
I managed to bottle 4 quarts before they had devoured it.