Jerky: 203 Glycerin in Place of Sugar
Jerky: 203 Glycerin in Place of Sugar
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A few months ago we had a suggestion on meatgistics that we try using something called vegetable glycerin instead of sugar. Let’s face it, 18% added sugar takes a relatively healthy snack like Jerky and changes it into something closer to junk food. Glycerin is a sweetener that does not interact with your body in the same way that sugar does. It doesn’t seem to spike your blood sugar levels, which would indicate that it is a better choice for everyone but especially diabetics.
So we are making two batches of jerky from some venison we had here. One is going to be done with 18% brown sugar and one is going to be done with 18% vegetable glycerin. If you are looking for some glycerin it is relatively inexpensive to purchase large bottles of it on amazon. First, we sliced the meat into slightly thicker than 1/4 pieces and cut across the grain. Then mix all of your ingredients until everything is fully suspended, you don’t want a bunch of sugar sitting at the bottom of your mixture, so this might take some time.
We then ran both of these through a vacuum tumbler to pick up as much of the solution as possible. You can use a home style tumbler like this Express tumbler or if you don’t have that you can also vacuum pack it, let it sit for about 24 hours and massage the meat occasionally. This will help loosen the fibers of the meat and it will pick up more of the solution.
Next lay everything out on a rack in your smoker. If you have the ability to control the humidity in your smoker then I will list the relative humidity levels in the post on meatgistics.com that we will link in the description below. If you don’t have a way to control the humidity then I would suggest you go get yourself a larger than normal water pan and a few automotive sponges. No, we aren’t gonna make you clean my truck before I tell you what to do next, you are going to get those sponges wet and then sit them in the water pan with half of it sticking out into the air. This is going to increase the surface area for evaporation and allow for greatly increased relative humidity in your smoker. You won’t be able to control its levels but it will increase it which is better than nothing. Don’t add this water pan until after the initial 20 minutes which is going to be our drying phase.
Stage 1 - 20 Minutes at 110° (dampers wide open)
Stage 2 - 30 Minutes at 135° (begin adding smoke)
Stage 3 - 10 Minutes at 140° (dampers wide open again for drying)
Stage 4 - 30 Minutes at 150°
Stage 5 - 175° until internal temperature is 160°
The one that we did with the sugar has a glisten to it and is slightly tacky and sticky. The one that we used glycerin does not have this problem, the surface appears dry and mostly normal. Now for the tenderness, both of these are pretty tender, they have some good flexibility and a nice bite. For the taste I notice a slight after taste with the one that I used glycerin on that isn’t present on the sugar but it is certainly not something that would prevent me from using glycerin instead of jerky if I was trying to make a healthier product.
So, all in all if you are wanting to make a tender jerky that isn’t going to be processed like junk food by your body then by all means try substituting the 18% brown sugar with 18% glycerin!
$500 Budget for Equipment
In my opinion, I would spend the majority of my budget on a slicer the Weston 10" Slicer has a hefty price tag of $400 but it will cut evenly and can also be used for so much more than just jerky. Then I would spend the remaining amount on the 6 Tray Digital Dehydrator. Now, another, and equally valid way to go would be to spend the bulk of your money on a Weston 80L Pro Series Dehydrator ($350) and then buying a Weston 9" Slicer, don’t let the 1 " difference between these slicers confuse you though, the 10" is extremely well built and could be used in a semi-commercial environment whereas the 9" is only for home use.
Other Equipment Or Supplies
- A Smokehouse will give you a lot more versatility and can obviously be used for so much more than jerky.
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