Making Jerky

There are a lot of different ways to make jerky. I make deer jerky using the method describe in Bootstraps and Biscuits. This is a more traditional method of making jerky by marinating the meat and then drying it in an oven or dehydrator. Please note that the current USDA recommendations for making jerky differ from this method.
Making jerky is pretty simple. First slice your meat with the grain in 1/4 inch slices. You can make your slices a little thicker, but be sure to keep them uniform. Try to remove all the fat and tendons.
Marinate it in spices of your choice. I like to use Worcestershire, garlic, salt and a bit of hot pepper. Marinate it for 24 hours stirring every so often.
Then place the slices on the drying racks of the dehydrator. Clean up will be easier if you spray the racks with a little cooking spray. If you will be using your oven, you may want to put the meat on trays first, until the marinade dries up. Then put the meat directly on your oven racks. Dry at 145 degrees F.
The toughest part of making jerky is knowing when it is done. It will take a least four hours, but could take a lot longer. The meat should not be brittle. You want the jerky to remain flexible. If you bend the piece the edges should break, but the middle should bend. Then the jerky is done.
I store my jerky in a paper bag. My intention often is to give it as a gifts, but somehow it never quite lasts long enough to be given.
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