Everyone likes jerky – it might be the 2nd most favourite meat after bacon for most people.
Here is a simple beef jerky (you can also use bison, elk or other wild meat) recipe that takes little time to prepare and part of a day to dehydrate. You can also use chicken or turkey, but it is advisable to cook it before dehydrating.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you could use the oven, although I have always used a dehydrator. The one I have is a L’EQUIP Filter Pro Deyhdrator ( http://www.lequip.com/) which is a rectangular dehydrator that comes with 6 trays (can be expanded up to 20 trays), has small mesh screens as well as containers and fruit leather trays. The fan is located in the centre and circulates air around the food very well.
To start this is what you will need (you can adjust these ingredients to your own preferences):
5 lbs of lean beef, venison, elk or bison
3/4 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. salt (organic sea salt is good)
1/2 Tbsp. powdered ginger or finely chopped ginger
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of tamari, or low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup of teryaki sauce or marinade
few drops of hot sauce (optional)
Trim all fat from meat, then slice meat into thin strips (no thicker than 1/4 inch or 6.5 mm) across the grain. If you find it difficult to cut the meat, slightly freeze it and it will cut much easier afterwards.
Put the garlic powder, salt, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce/tamari, teriyaki sauce and hot sauce (optional) into a large bowl that seals tight. Add the sliced meat and stir to make sure it is coated evenly. Put in refrigerator for at least 8 hours but preferably overnight (ie longer means more flavour). Turn bowl over every few hours (if sealed tightly enough) or stir everything together so that the meat at the top also gets into the marinade. When ready, put into strainer and let the excess material drain off (this reduces the amount of cleaning you may need to do on your dehydrator).
Lay strips in each tray so they are close together but not touching. The 5 lbs of strips will cover all 6 trays of this dehydrator. Once all the trays are full, set temperature for 135 – 140 degrees F and let dry for 6 – 8 hours. Every couple of hours, rotate the trays (bottom ones to top, top one to bottom) so that all the meat is dried at the same time. When done the pieces should be slightly brittle and should break when bent. If you prefer jerky that is a little more pliable, remove it sooner. When drying meat, you typically end up with about 25% dried meat compared to what you started with, so you should end up with slightly more than 1 pound of jerky.
This jerky can be eaten as is during the day on trails or elsewhere, or could be added to stir fries and other dishes. Jerky can be stored in zip lock bags (if you haven’t eaten it already) or you can seal it with a food sealer that ensures there is no air inside).
I normally keep mine stored in the fridge.