Making Bacon Jerky
Learn about Making Bacon Jerky with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below."
We started off with bacon that had already been cured and cooked until the internal temperature was 132°, pretty much the same bacon you would buy at the store just better since we made it. Since it has already been cured we did not need to limit ourselves to a jerky seasoning so I decided to try some with our Signature Pork Rub, Smokehouse Wing Shake, Salt & Vinegar Wing Shake and the St Louis Rump Rub. I sprinkled a good amount of this on one side of the bacon and then cooked at 200° for 1 hour, then I flipped it over and sprinkled the seasonings on the other side and cooked at 200° for another hour.
After they have cooked I took them out and put them in the Weston 6 Tray Digital Dehydrators. This is a nice easy dehydrator to use and I especially like that it will let you run it at 160°. I set the timer for 6 hours and let it run, flipping it at the 3 hour point.
Now, since bacon has so much fat it is going to be difficult to judge when the best time to pull it out of the dehydrator is. The fat will still have some oil well after it has hit a water activity that would make it perfectly safe to eat. Ours had a water activity of .38 which is well below the required amount for shelf stability.
The best tasting Bacon Jerky was Signature Pork Rub, this is a favorite seasoning of a few Walton’s employees and since it is designed to be used with Pork it should not be a huge surprise that it worked well for Bacon Jerky. Next was the Smokehouse Wing Shake which had a nice sweetness to it and added a little smoky flavor. The Salt & Vinegar was good but I was hoping for more of a vinegar taste to it, which sounds weird when talking about jerky and last was the St Louis Rum Rub, the taste just didn’t come through and it was the blandest of them all.
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I’ll be mixing 25 lbs of venison/pork fat at about a 75/25 ratio tomorrow.
I’ll mix 12.5 lbs. at a time in my 20 lb mixer. I have pre-measured the seasonings and cure into one bag for each 12.5 lbs. I also have the carrot fiber binder measured for each 12.5 lbs of meat.
Question 1: Would it work to mix the seasoning, cure, and carrot binder with the ice cold water, then pour into mixer for more even dispersion of ingredients?
Question 2: On the subject of even dispersion of ingredients…how can only 60 seconds or less of mixing get the encapsulated citric acid evenly dispersed?
@kking It wouldn’t necessarily hurt anything, the only real danger you would run into is getting some case hardening. That is where the outside cooks too quickly and will not pass heat into the center. So you get an overcooked outside and an undercooked inside. If you stick to your previous smoke schedule and get good protein extraction when mixing (should be sticky and stretch if you grab a handful) then you should be good!
If you get protein extraction my recommendation is low and slow!
@jonathon will it hurt anything to cook them at a higher temp to get them done quicker or should I stay low and slow?
@jonathon Sounds great. Thank you!
@kking Gotcha! Okay, that changes things a little, if you added sure cure then the only other difference is the grinding and mixing. All of that is contained in the article I posted in my previous one, so if you ground and mixed as I did in that video that . I’m glad people are starting to try adding cure to traditionally fresh products, it’s a great way to experience new flavors!
Since there was nothing bad growing in your meat (since you used sure cure) then I think the most likely thing would be either be some fat rendering out and essentially basting the casing in fat(which would have happened if you did not get enough protein extraction), or it might just have been a less than perfect batch of casings. They are natural casings and even though they are processed there is going to be some variability. You certainly can use natural hog casings to smoke sausage, people do it often, I just prefer collagen because I find it so much easier to work with and I like the snap of it better.
The major downside to collagen is that it will not accept a twist as natural casings will.
@jonathon thanks for the help. However I did add sure cure to it when I mixed it and stuffed it. Is the issue I’m using the wrong casing? Do the natural casing not hold up to that slow cooking process. I guess I called them brats because I used brat seasoning.