Jerky 101 - What is Jerky?
Jerky 101 - What Is Jerky?
Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!
What is Jerky?
Jerky is a meat product that has been processed, seasoned, cured and then cooked or dried. Drying and curing meat is one of the oldest ways to preserve meat and has been around for 1,000s of years. It is typically made from low-fat content pieces of meat or has had the fat trimmed off. Jerky should still be cooked up to 160°F internal temperature to kill off harmful bacteria.
Types of Jerky
Whole Muscle - Whole muscle is jerky that has been sliced into strips between 1/8" and 1/4" inch then coated on all sides with a mixture of the seasoning and the cure. Once that is done it will be placed in a plastic bag with just enough water to cover all the strips and held in a refrigerator for 12 hours and then cooked and or dehydrated. The advantages of this type of jerky are that it is easy to do and you need minimal equipment.
Restructured Jerky - This is a form of jerky that has been ground up, seasoned and cured and then extruded into strips or sticks. The jerky is then cooked and or dehydrated to form the classic jerky structure. The advantage of this type of jerky is that you can control what form the jerky takes and that you can use more of the animal as you don’t need to start with a whole muscle cut of meat.
A key part of making jerky is lowering the water activity. A simple explanation of water activity is that it represents the amount of water in a product that is free to be used for microbial growth. A product can have some moisture to it but most of that water is bound up with the meat, or sugar and mold or other microbes cannot access it to begin spoiling the meat.
You might hear some people say that Jerky does not need to be cured as it is going to be dried out. However, the meat will not start out at that level of dryness and since we are cooking this at low temperatures we are creating an environment that is ideal for the growth of botulism, so cure should be used for safety reasons. Think of it as a seat belt, your car will start without it but it’s not a great idea to ride around town without it on!
We do not recommend that you use only a dehydrator unless that dehydrator can run at 160 or above. The reason for this is if you dehydrate the meat before killing off the bacteria you have made that bacteria much harder to kill. In essence, you need some moisture to kill the bad bacteria.
If you have a way to measure water activity and it is below .85 then you do not really need to vacuum package it and it can be left out, now, there are other factors here but it is a good general rule. However, since most people do not have a way to monitor this you should still either put it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge or vacuum package it.
@Jonathon great advice, keep it simple
Big John's Pizza Dough Recipe
Learn how to make Big John's Pizza Dough Recipe with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.Ingredients
During one of our recent livestreams, Big John offered to give us a great pizza dough recipe. He claimed it would give me a leg up on Austin when we eventually do our pizza competition. Well, I wanted to try it so I made some pepperoni here while I was propping open the door to try to get the temp to hold at 120° and then I finished them up in our sous vide cooker.
So his recipe called for 4 cups of King Arthur all-purpose flour but I decided to use the one specifically for pizza crusts, 2 packs of dry yeast, not the rapid rise kind, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 cup of olive oil.Steps for Dough
Take the 2 packs of yeast and mix with 1-1/2 cups of warm water. Then mix the rest of the ingredients in an oiled bowl, make sure everything is nice and mixed in and then transfer to a clean oiled bowl, cover with some plastic wrap and let it sit for an hour. Then put it in the fridge overnight.
Then the next day make another batch and mix them together, this was a tip from him that really seems to work out well! Then you can split them into batches and you can freeze them for up to 3 months but just know that he says the longer you leave them in the freezer they will not be as good!Cooking Directions
Now, we are using a pizza stone so we are warming it up for an hour at 500°. I like to form the dough into a circle, now I am not perfect at this so it is more of a circle like shape than a true circle and then put it on the stone for 1-2 minutes to firm it up a little more. This will make adding the topping a lot better in my mind.
Now add your sauce, cheese, and any other toppings. I like to sprinkle some Garlic Romano Wing Sauce onto mine while it cooks, it is very good on pizza. We have cut our pepperoni pretty thin and we will put a good amount of that on top of the cheese.
Then lower the temp to 400 put your pizza in there and cook for about 8-10 minutes or just until the pizza dough is as hard as you like it and just as the cheese starts to turn brown in a few spots.Shop waltonsinc.com for Excalibur Shakers Shop waltonsinc.com for Round Baking Stone Watch WaltonsTV: Big John’s Pizza Dough Recipe
Garlic Romano Wing Shake Spice Round Baking Stone
It could be somewhere in the area I highlighted in green.
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