Hi everyone from Joe's Brush to Bay. Well now that we are several weeks into archery season and general hunting season rapidly approaching, it's time for one of my favorite things to do during this time of year.
What could that be? Yep you guessed it Beef Jerky! And boy do I have a recipe for you. Since beef is rich in protiens and low in carbs, jerky is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. That is if you can find a brand that is not full of salt and preservatives.
Beef jerky is a great addition to your bug out bag or just a great snack to have on hand. So how is beef jerky made?
Step 1: Select a cut of meat. Beef is the most popular and so is deer venesin but I have seen jerky made with almost anything with four legs. Make sure its lean cut sirlion, top round, flank steak etc. This will save you lots of time later when slicing the meat. You do not need the real tender beef associated with more expensive cuts like filet mignon.
Step 2: Trim off all the fat. It is not very healthy and it makes the beef jerky rot faster. Proceed to slice the cut into really thin strips (about 0.05 inches thick ). The thinner the strip the easier it will be to dehydrate fully. You can consider freezing it to make it easier to slice or pay your butcher extra to do it.
Make sure you slice against the grain. If you slice with the grain you will leave all layers and fibers intact, which means your teeth will have to do all the work. Slicing against the grain makes the strip much easier to chew.
Step 3: Marinade the meat. The marinade gives the meat its taste. It can include things like coriander, vinegar, oil, garlic, sugar, diffrent sauces, like oyster sauce or Teriyaki sauce, onion powder. Marinade the meat for 10 to 24 hours necessary for the beef to absorb the flavor. This step is optional and some people prefer to skip it since it makes the dehydration process last longer. However if you want your beef jerky to have flavor don't skip it. Here is a common simple beef jerky marinade that is commenly used.
2 tablespoons kikoman soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 clove fresh garlic crushed
Step 4: Season the meat. Here BBQ sauce will suffice. Mix the sauce with water and dip the strips. As the water evaporates the flavor seeps into the beef. Salt is also used to aid the dehydrating.
Step 5: Dehydrate the meat. The slices of beef are placed in dehydrators which removes most of the moisture. Place the pieces in dehydrators with enough space between each piece to allow flow of air around the jerky. Although it's not as effective, you can use an oven instead of a dehydrator. Use a temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit. A degree below this temperature may cause your jerky to rot quicker since this is the temperature needed to kill all bacteria present in the strips of beef. Leave it cooking for 1-3 hours and check it regularly after 90 minutes.
Step 6: Patience. Depending on the amount of heat used and the thickness of the strips, it takes between 2-6 hours for the process to be complete. Check on the progress regularly (about every 30 minutes) after the second hour. Jerky should turn burgundy or deep brown. To make sure, cut inside the jerky to check it isn't raw. Lastly place jerky in mason jars and seal it before refrigerating it until its ready to be consumed. To get a longer shelf life the jerky should be vacuum sealed in plastic and an oxygen absorber placed beside it. Jerky will normally last about a month.
STEP 7: Enjoy! This is a great project to do with kids and it is a great lesson in self-sufficiency. Don't forget the grandkids they will love it too Well i hope this will give you a great start to making your own jerky. Now let's see this week's picture as my good fishing friend David Longoria of Agua Dulce holds up a nice Redfish he caught while wade fishing near the land cut. Well folks remember to stay safe, keep your finger off the trigger and we'll see you in the brush or on the bay!