Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Jerky Season is Finally Here!

By M. J. Joachim

It’s become an annual tradition.  Today I used plum sauce, hoisin sauce, hot sauce, ginger paste and salt & pepper. Measuring some of these things isn’t really my style. I just pour, stir and taste. This is one jerky marinade that is sure to please.

Cutting the meat is the hardest part. You have to cut it into the thinnest slices possible; larger pieces are best, though that’s pretty difficult to manage, depending on the type of meat you use.

Beef is usually our preference around here. You can use your favorite too. Yesterday I picked up a package with two roasts in it – put one in the crockpot for dinner, and sliced the other up to make our first batch of jerky for the season today.

Meat doesn’t have to be superior. Crockpots and marinades work wonders on meat that otherwise would be a little tough. When it comes to jerky, I get what’s on sale. The marinade and drying process are what count most of all.

Once I’m finished slicing, I put my meat in a sizable and sealable plastic container or zippy bag. Then I pour my marinade over it and mix it up well. Into the fridge it goes for several hours. Since I made today’s batch this morning, I’ll let the jerky marinade all day, well into the evening.

Tonight I’ll take the meat out and place it on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Set the oven to the lowest temperature, place the jerky in it and let it dry out overnight. First thing in the morning, swap out your parchment paper, flip your meat and let it dry for several more hours til its jerky like.

This is my revised (and less complicated) version of placing meat on grates and letting drippings fall to the bottom. You can buy and build all sorts of gadgets if you want…screens, grates, drying racks…I’m a busy mom and Internet writer. I just want to make some delicious jerky without all the hassle and extra cleanup. My method is tried and true. Just ask anyone who eats our annual supply of jerky. Most start begging for it in the summer – way too hot to make it around here then.

I use marinades and dry rubs to make my jerky. Either way the process is the same.

1.  Make marinade or dry rub
2.  Cut meat into thin slices
3.  Soak meat in marinade or massage dry rub into meat
4.  Refrigerate meat for several hours
5.  Set oven to lowest temp
6.  Place meat on parchment paper on cookie sheet
7.  Dry meat in oven for several hours
8.  Change out parchment and flip meat
9.  Continue drying meat for several more hours until it’s ready to eat

Jerky is supposed to last for at least a few weeks. We’ve never had it last that long around here, so I can’t say it honestly preserves that long without spoiling. Airtight, common sense, experimentation – all disclaimers apply from my end of things.

Do you have a special seasonal treat you make every year? Have you ever made jerky and what’s your favorite recipe for it? Based on this post, are you tempted to make some jerky now?

That’s all for now, kind followers. My mouth is salivating from the basil, ginger, onion & garlic powder simmering on the roast in the crockpot. Think I’ll go take a peek through the lid and see how it’s doing.

Best of the day to you,

M. J.

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Photo credit:  Kusie, CCA