5 quick tips for making great Homemade Jerky
5 quick tips for making great Homemade Jerky
Hey guys it’s Jon from Meatgistics. Jerky, whether it’s made from beef, venison or any other type of wild game, is a great way to make sure you always have a healthy snack around. Read this article to see 5 easy tips to make sure your homemade Jerky comes out amazing!
#1 Make sure your equipment is clean
This is an obvious one but it is one that many people overlook and is especially true if you are using wild game. If you have dirty equipment or a processing area bacteria will grow on it. Bacteria then gets into your meat and starts spoiling it, you can kill the bacteria but you can not fix spoiled meat by cooking it. Some of the bacteria associated with spoiled meat can reproduce incredibly quickly, doubling their numbers in under an hour.
# 2 Cut Cold and Against the Grain
If you have ever tried to slice warm, uncooked meat thin then you will appreciate the necessity of slicing your jerky meat when it is still a little frozen, if it has some ice crystals in it that is still better than trying to cut it when it is warm. Also cut against the grain, this will make for a much easier to chew finished jerky which will in turn feel more tender. Aim for pieces around 1/4" thick, if you have a good deli slicer this is the perfect time to use it.
# 3 Air flow is very important
If you don’t have a dehydrator then you can dehydrate your jerky in the oven but you need to make sure it has the correct amount of air flow. The easiest way to do this is just to crack the door. We recommend using a combination of an over and a dehydrator, start it off in the oven and then move to the dehydrator once the meat has reached 160°F. Most dehydrators will not get your meat to 160°.
# 4 Use a pre-packaged seasoning
I know a lot of people want to use the family recipe but companies like Excalibur are around for a reason. They spend years perfecting their seasoning and spice blends to ensure that it has the correct amount of salt, spices and cures to give you the best possible product. They have a large variety of jerky seasonings with everything from the classics like Colorado Jerky seasoning to Habanero Lime!
# 5 Marinate overnight or vacuum tumble for 30 minutes
Once you have sliced your jerky and used the correct amount of seasoning you need to make sure that you let it marinate for the appropriate amount of time. Usually 12 hours or overnight will allow the cure to penetrate and keep the meat safe through the dehydrating process. If you have a access to a vacuum tumbler then you only need to let it vacuum tumble for about 30 minutes, this is because the combination of being under a vacuum and the impact energy from the tumbler will pull the muscle fibers apart and let the cure penetrate much faster.
So there are 5 good tips to keep in mind when making Jerky. If you have questions on what might be causing a specific problem for you leave us a comment and we will get back to you, or you can always follow me on here and send me a private chat if you’d prefer to not post your question so everyone can see it!
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Weekly Blog Post - Octopus and Squid, Vacuum Packing
Find out what's going on at Walton's and Meatgistics this week. We will have a loose schedule for soon to be released videos, what we are working on long-term and maybe a few quick tips and tricks that are on our mind!What Videos are being released soon?
Depending on what you see as soon we will have the almost complete first round of Meatgistics University Classes released. We have broken everything down into these categories; Meat Processing Equipment, Seasoning and Additives, Fresh Sausage, Cured Sausage, Jerky, Sausage Casings, Deli Meats, Smoked Meats, Cured Whole Muscle Meats, and Specialty Sausages. Each of these topics will have multiple entry-level classes covering topics like the type of casing to use, equipment needed and a basic processing class where appropriate.What Projects are we looking ahead at?
We are going to be doing two new Will it BBQ’s, hopefully, this week where we try BBQ’ing Squid and Octopus! The squid was a suggestion by Bob Zambutto through Walton’s Inc Facebook account! I had been wanting to do both of these for a while and when I went to our local Asian Grocery Store (Tai Binh for anyone local to Wichita, KS) and they had lots of options for both, they have almost anything and I got a few more weird ideas while I was there! Anyway, I picked up some baby octopus and a full size one, some small squid and two large ones as well. I am excited and nervous to see how this goes if nothing else it should be fun to watch!What’s on our Mind?
Did you know that you shouldn’t vacuum pack Mushrooms or Garlic? I was reading a Vacmaster VP120 instruction manual the other day and I saw an interesting note that said not to vacuum pack Garlic or Mushrooms! I had no idea that you shouldn’t do this so I thought I would share that with meatgistics readers to let you know not to do it as well. Apparently, they both are prone to bacteria that will continue to grow in oxygen-free environments. I was hoping it was something more impressive than that but it is good information to have.New Products
22" X 24" Collagen Sheets This are typically used for larger whole muscle cuts of meat, like when you are making prosciutto, capocollo, or other dried hams. This is an item that we have had lots of requests for over the years so we were happy to finally find a reliable and reputable source for it.
Thanks for the response!
I think a video on processed celery would be incredible. The only place I have been able to find celery powder as a cure was from “The Sausage Maker”, they have a Facebook page. It was expensive, designed only for sausages, and wasn’t packaged well.
As for the tackiness, good idea with the cornstarch! There are a bunch of big brands with zero additives that were able to achieve the soft texture with no tackiness, so I’m thinking it has to be in the processing. I read an article where someone at KRAVE mentioned a couple details about how they process their jerky. He said they first inject the meat, then cook the whole pieces, then slice, then marinate, then dry. I have messed around with the idea behind this process a lot. Injecting with brine, sous-viding at a variety of temperatures and times, slicing, marinating, and drying. Decent results, but to be honest the high sugar method you introduced to me has seemed to have better results.
Anyway, I will keep trying to figure this out and will definitely keep you guys posted if I make any headway. In the meantime, if there is anything else you think might be worth testing, please let me know! It would be great to try and perfect this process together.
@bob-s-meatgistics I moved one of my first pork butts into the oven and my whole house smelled like smoke. My wife did not stop complaining for a week until the smell was gone from both the house and the oven. I finish all my cooks outside. If you wrap it to speed up the cook you may want to unwrap it for the last hour to put the bark back on it.
@jonathon I am definitely going to purchase and follow the steps you’ve post, thank you sir! Additionally, if anyone has recipes, please share. I’ll try them all and post what my family thought of each. Thank you all, this is a very cool and educational blog, glad I found it wish it was years ago! Thanks again.