Making Jerky

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Zuiko, Jul 24, 2004.

  1. Zuiko

    Zuiko Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2004
    I love beef jerky, and the cheapest it gets is about $10/lb for questionable quality. I dont have cattle yet, but I'm wondering if any of you buy steaks, or roasts, and slice them to make jerky. I found pleanty of recipies, but no reference to meat. Is there cuts what work better? What do you reccomend to dehydrate, I would rather not buy an expensive dehydrator, but I might. Does anybody make their own dehydrator, I dont think it could be that hard, but I'm not sure why they dont stink or grow mold. Do you cook the meat first? Or does the blood evaportate. If this works, I may also be interested in trying other meats, chicken, pork, maybe elk or deer, if i can find it. Thanks
  2. I use round steak,marinade overnight in fridge, slice into 1/4 inch strips hang in the sun ( Im in Texas its damn hot here) or put in oven about125. you can make a frame an attach sceen over it if flys are bad. good luck

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    May 22, 2003
    Zone 7
  4. frontiergal

    frontiergal Well-Known Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    Washington State
    Years ago we used flank steak,It was one of the cheap cuts,but now it has become a more costly cut.The cheaper leaner cuts of meats like round steak are best so that the jerky doesn't go rancid. Good luck and have fun...hope it last longer than it does here. That's one day if I 'm lucky : )
  5. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2004
    wyoming/ now tennessee
    You can make jerky out of almost any meat. I usually use this rule of thumb. Cut it 1/4 of an inch thick, long as you want. Drying time depends on the meat(fish, fowl,wild game, domestic).I cube the fish or split or hold open the ribcage of fish if they are small. I don't put preservatives. I put the finished product in the freezer or refridgerator depending on when I'm going to eat it.
    Hope it helps. Shadowwalker
  6. Been a while since I've used any beef. I usually get lucky and slay a deer or two every year and that is what I make mine out of. If you don't have a dehydrator then just use your oven. All you have to do is run toothepicks through the ends of your jerky strips and hang them between the wire racks. Turn your oven on the absolute lowest setting and leave the door cracked open just enough for the hot air to flow out. About a 1 inch gap is all it takes. Leave jerky in it for about 4 hours and check and then recheck every hour or two afterwards. Remove any jerky that is ready when you check, some peices dry faster than others. After you have made your first batch you will realize how easy and fun it is to make.

    Do a google search on Jerky recipe s and you will find many, many, good recipes to use.
  7. peanutgreen

    peanutgreen Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2003
    Watch yard sales for a dehydrator. Remember when Ronco food dehydrator informercials were on TV all the time? Now people are selling them at yard sales. We picked up a barely used one for $5.00.

    Your meat is not cooked before being dehydrated, but it is marinated. We use soy sauce, a little liquid smoke, worchestershire sauce, garlic powder, a little onion powder, and Louisiana hot sauce or tabasco sauce. There's no special measurements that we use; we try to mix it up until it smells right (like jerky). Then you slice your meat and put the strips in to marinate overnight in the refridgerator. The type or cut of meat does not matter, but it does have to be lean; as someone else pointed out, the fat will turn rancid. The next day, put the meat in the dehydrator and turn it on. We turn the strips over and rotate the dehydrator trays at least once a day. (If your dehydrator has a fan, you might not have to do that as often.) It usually takes 2-3 days for the meat to be done, but that will depend on how thick the meat is cut. We slice our meat while it's still slightly frozen so it's easier to cut. A lot of times we grind deer meat to use. Just mix the ground venison with the sauces and spices and marinate overnight. You don't need a jerky shooter, you can just form the strips in your hands and then treat them like regular strips of meat for the rest of the process.

    Don't be afraid to try it, it's really pretty easy.
  8. Star In N.C.

    Star In N.C. Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2002
    I have made beef jerk a few times.
    I used what ever was on sale at the time most of the time it was round steakno more then 1/4 inch cut. I cooked it over night in my oven on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees. I first I marinated it then that night before going to bed I put it in my electric range then the next morning I checked it, it was done. If it does not feel like jerky then put it back in the oven until it is as stiff as you like it. My DH had a friend over and had to help sample the jerky there was none left after the samples :haha: :eek:

    Hope that helped answer some of the questions
  9. Gina

    Gina Active Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Florida. For now
    Ebay is a great place to buy food dehydrators. You can get them CHEAP! A lot of them come with their recipe books that have recipes for marinades for jerky.

  10. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2004
    So Cal Mtns
    We use round steak or london broils,buy em when they go on sale.The real key to good jerky is in the trimming,you must get ALL the fat off,as it gets rancid and tastes Yucky.Also get all the sinew off,its tough and stringy.Then take all the meat trimmings and grind into hamburger.I figure 1/3 goes into burger,2/3 gets used as jerky.The reason for 1/3 trim is so your trimming doesnt need to be precise,and it is Great hamburger :worship: .Better than anything short of ground sirloin.
  11. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

    Jun 8, 2004
    I'll buy any cut of meat that's on sale, boneless, and well-trimmed, but I prefer London Broil.

    I also make sure to cut it across the grain, rather than with the grain, so I don't end up with jerky spears.

    Meg :)
  12. stonefly71

    stonefly71 Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    I put mine in over for few hours on about 250 to 300 just hand on racks with foil under it And most of time use deer meat. Round steak works good and is cheat. just make sure to cut all fat off it. I cook mine till it's almost brittle.
  13. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2003
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    Ive taken to jerking all my deer meat. I cook it with other stuff so i dont bugger with flavoring it, and I take an extra precaution of salting it.
    cut your strips like normal, go to the feedstore and buy 50lb bags of agflo or mortons food grade salt (cheap, 3 bucks a bag) and pack the meat in the salt for a day. when you take it out it will look like a raisin, but its still needs dried. then into the dehydrator after you rinse the salt off. I bought a super tall 20 tray one off vitamix yrats ago but making one is pretty simple; use 2x2's for frames and tack screen on them, not more than 20 or so or your top trays are sitting to long. I made one before I got my vitamix one, i made a frame out of 3/4x12 boards . (think a box with no lid and no bottom) then go to home depot and get one of those little safty furnaces that look like a hairdryer inside, and pipe that heat on LO thu a hole about 6" arond in the side of the base.
    I used flex duct tube to connect it and make the base "airtight"... principle being if you are pushing the heat in the base it has no where to go but UP thru the screens.
    stack your screens on the base and your in business. meat dries amazingly fast, much faster than most friuts, i dont know why.

    anyhow back to the salt. Jerky made the regular way has a limited shelf life at room temp, about a year on average. ok if you have a few pounds of snackies, not good if you jerk 2 or 3 deer.
    the advantage of the salt is; a much longer shelf life. I store my bagged jerky chunx in a freezer, and being already dry it doesnt freezer burn.
    and if the freezer dies, i dont have to worry about the jerky. the only reason i keep it frozen is to extend the storage life.
    I know odd system it works for me.
    YES the jerky is unpalatably salty out of the bag (fun with your friends ) this is easy to remedy... 30 min soak in cold water it removes all the salt, and you have tasty meat again, better in soup stew whatever.

    I am told the salt jerk will keep on the shelf for years, i havent ried that but its a damn handy technique to know when the power dissapears someday.

    Stored salt sacks may get caked up and moist but salt never goes bad, so store a few 100# somewhere dry for a bad day.