Whether you are hunting or raising your own meat, sometimes you don’t want to preserve it in the freezer. One alternative is to make jerky. Jerky is basically spiced, marinated and dried fresh meat. Jerky is raw meat or fish, that’s full of healthy natural enzymes and protein. You don’t cook the meat before you dehydrate it.
Wild game, beef, mutton, goat, salmon, and poultry are all candidates for healthy, flavourful jerkies.
Jerky keeps indefinitely. High in protein, natural enzymes. and convenience, its great for camping, hiking and lunch on the go.
Jerky uses less expensive, tougher cuts of meat. The marinade and the slow drying tenderizes the meat.
Store bought jerky is high in sodium nitrate, a known carcinogenic. When you make your own, you control the ingredients and insure a quality product.
Sterilize your cutting board, knives and counter top with a vinegar solution followed by a hydrogen peroxide solution.
Now your ready to start.
Debone the meat. Remove excess fat. Slice your meat into 1/4 inch strips. Place in a casserole dish or deep bowl. Cover with marinade.
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup of wine, beer or soy sauce
2 tsp. sea salt (omit if you are using soy sauce)
1 cup cider vinegar or lemon juice
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp. ground chili (optional)
2 tsp. spices (oregano, mint, basil, tarragon, thyme, sage, tumeric, cumin, chives, parsley, etc) Alternate spices for different batches to achieve variety in taste.
You can change the ingredients and add spices and salt to your taste.
Pour marinade over meat in deep bowl or casserole. Cover. Refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.
Lay out on dehydrator trays. Dry at 155 degrees F. for 6 to 8 hours, turning after 3 hours. Move dehydrator trays as necessary to ensure even drying. Continue drying until meat is dry and crisp, with no moist or soft spots.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dry jerky in your oven. Lay the meat on baking sheets. Put the oven temperature at the lowest setting (150F in my oven), turn on oven light, and keep oven door propped open for ventilation. Turn meat after 3 hours and again after 6 hours. Leave over night. This uses a lot of electricity. If you will be doing a lot of drying, consider investing in a dehydrator.
Store in a covered jar, in a cool, dry place. Eat as is, or reconstitute in water before cooking. Make up vegetable soup base by mixing jerky, and dried vegetables together with spices for self sufficient convenience food. Jerky is great for hiking, camping or for lunch on the go. Add some to your bug-out bag for a high protein meal.
This is the dehydrator I recommend. My own dehydrator is a Berron, that I’ve used for 30 years without problems. The Excalibur uses a similiar design and has 50 sq. feet of drying space in the 9 tray model. You’ll want that extra space.