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!
@parksider Thanks for the follow up!! I was really watching the internal temperature when they were in the rolling (HOT) water and making sure to pull them right at the 165. And then right into the ice water bath.
You guys got a great job! Im pretty passionate about this kinda stuff. I enjoy it a lot and love doing R and D stuff! Keep up the fun work!
@Jonathon Yes Jonathon-it’s in your head
@mikeihuntr My only advice is to keep the water around 170F, not a rolling boil. If the casing are too tight they WILL explode then you have a really big pot of bad soup! A nice simmer is the way to go, take them out 155-160 and into a water bath. Here is a pic, we just use the turkey fryer with the basket. It makes it really easy to remove from the water and rinse. I will also recommend keeping a temp probe right in the meat you can see the wire going into the water. Good luck!!
This was a big topic of conversation because we do freeze/thaw/process/refreeze venison and pork, never an issue. As a former restaurateur and certified food handler here is what Dept of Agriculture has to say. I’ll defer to the experts:
Author: Alice Henneman, MS, RDN
The U. S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) advises:
Once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through thawing. After cooking raw foods which were previously frozen, it is safe to freeze the cooked foods. If previously cooked foods are thawed in the refrigerator, you may refreeze the unused portion. Freeze leftovers within 3-4 days. Do not refreeze any foods left outside the refrigerator longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.
If you purchase previously frozen meat, poultry or fish at a retail store, you can refreeze if it has been handled properly, according to USDA.
DO NOT thaw meat at room temperature, such as on the kitchen counter.
Safety will depend on whether the raw product was handled properly before it was frozen, refrozen shortly after it was thawed, cooked to a safe temperature when it is eaten and handled safely if there are any leftovers.
What temperature should I pull my cured and smoked bacon out of my smokehouse?
@jonathon it is printed on the Box. I’m looking for a bag that has a evoh barrier. Does Waltons carry a four or five mm evoh High barrier bag?