Tuesday, April 14, 2009 by Daniel

Rockin' Recipe: Homemade Jerky

Crossposted at CrossFit East Bay.

I'm a big fan of jerky. Delicious, highly portable, packed with protein and naturally low-carb, what's not to love? Well, two things:
  • It's expensive.
  • Most commercial stuff uses low-quality meat and is packed with sugar and other crap.
With just a little effort, though, both these downsides are easily surmounted by the magic of JDIYDS (Just Do It Your Damn Self).

  • 1 Tbs liquid smoke
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • Favorite hot sauce (1/4 tsp - 1 Tbs, to taste)
  • 1/3c Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 pound (sliced thin), or 1.5 pounds (ground) meat (beef, turkey, whatever)
There are many different recipes out there, this is just one that I've tried and liked. Don't be afraid to google around for something that appeals to you.

Whisk together all the spices and liquids in a separate bowl, then mix with the meat (I use a food processor with the dull blade for this). If you are using sliced meat, put the meat and the marinade together in a ziploc bag and leave in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.

Spoon the meat mixture out onto a long sheet of wax paper.

Place another sheet of wax paper on top, and roll out evenly with the rolling pin. The thickness is up to you, but I wouldn't go thicker than 1/4" - the thicker you make it, the longer it will take to dry and the more you'll have to gnaw at it when it's done.

I use scissors to cut the paper into smaller squares, then flip the paper over the dehydrator racks and peel it away. I also score the meat mixture so it's easy to tear into strips when it's done. If you used the marinated/sliced meat method, just remove the slices from the marinade, shake off excess liquid, and place on the racks. If you're using an oven, you'll want to get some of those large jellyroll pans with wire-mesh cooling rack inserts from the local restaurant supply store. Arrange the jerky in a single layer on the rack, and be sure to have space between strips for better air circulation. If you get into doing this regularly, it would probably pay to get one of these fancypants jerky guns so you can skip the previous three steps.

Place in the dehydrator, put it on "meat" and then go do something else for four hours. If you're using an oven, bake it for four hours at 250 - if you have a convection oven, make sure the fans are on. If not, just leave the door open a crack while you're baking it.

1.5 pounds of meat will yield about 12 oz of jerky. That would cost $15 at Trader Joe's, but (depending on what you used) you could make this for well under $5.

A Note to Vegetarians:
When I was a veggie, I tried to make vegetarian jerky, and every attempt was a dismal failure, so I'm sorry I don't have a recipe for you here. Stay tuned for an article on making your own spiced nuts, and if you want to purchase veggie jerky, my favorite brand by far is Stonewall's Jerquee, available at Whole Foods or in bulk online.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Just in case anyone is wondering - yes - this stuff is DELICIOUS!

Post a Comment