Recipe A great recipe for Jerky and my dehydrating rig how to build

Discussion in 'Recipes' started by Falcon15, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    A traditional 1800's American version of this dried delicacy is brined jerky. Brined jerky uses very few special ingredients, and can be smoked in a cool smoker or dried in a dehydrator.
    5 pounds lean red meat (Venison actually works really well) trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch thick strips (cut longways with the grain of the meat)
    2 quarts water
    1 cup salt
    1/2 cup brown sugar or honey
    2 cloves garlic crushed (you can sub garlic powder)
    1 Tbsp black pepper (fresh cracked is best)

    1/2 Medium onion diced

    In a large pot (large enough to accommodate meat and brine - I use a 7 quart stock pot) bring water, salt, sugar/honey, garlic, black pepper, and onion to a boil. Boil till onion is translucent. Remove from heat and let cool fully. Put sliced meat into liquid, stirring to ensure all the meat is wet and immersed. Allow meat to marinate at least 8 hours, overnight is fine - refrigeration is not needed, just make sure the meat is fully immersed in the brine solution and put a lid on the pot. The amount of sugar/salt in this solution is very unfriendly to bacteria and such.

    Remove meat from brine and rinse lightly. Pat dry and place in smoker on racks or in dehydrator on racks. Process until meat is leathery but completely dry. Some salt may bloom on the surface, this is normal and fine. Put in an airtight container this meat will last for 6 months easily, if it is not eaten before then.

    Tip: if you want that smokey taste but do not have a smoker that you can attend to and plan on dehydrating the meat - add a few drops of liquid smoke to the brine after it has cooled, before you add in the meat.

    Also - By far the best dehydrating rig, and cheapest comes in the form of a reptile IR heater, a ceramic light fixture, a piece of scrap lumber, an old extension cord and a battery powered tent fan. Total cost for me? 25 bucks because I had to buy the lamp holder.
    This rig is far superior to any light bulb rig, because as we all know long exposure to light destroys nutritive value.

    You cut the wires on the extension cord (not the plug end that goes in the electrical socket), separate and strip them back 1/2". Wire these to the lamp holder. Mount the lamp holder on the wood scrap (I used a small piece of 2x4) - just make sure the scrap wood can sit in the bottom of your oven without hitting the element - if you have an electric oven. Screw in the IR reptile heater. Set in the bottom of the oven. Set the tent fan (this is the one I own and it works great) next to it, turn it on. Load the racks with foods to be dehydrated. Plug in the extension cord to turn the IR heater on. Prop the oven door open with a 1" wad of old (washed) tinfoil to allow moist, warm air to escape. The IR heater generates a nice steady heat and the fan circulates the air.

    As with anything, YMMV, this works for me.
    Gator 45/70, chelloveck and tacmotusn like this.
  2. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    Excellent post. I will print a hard copy for future reference and experimentation. I have question or two about the process as well as a suggestive comment.
    What kind of temperatures can one expect in a standard sized oven with this infared 100 watt heater and that particular fan with the door ajar 1 inch as you suggest?
    How do you arrange your meat, and what kind of maximum quanity can one expect to process at one time? How long did you process the jerky to get a satisfactory product that could be stored for at least a year or more?
    I would hesitate to leave the door ajar myself as there is another outlet for that moist air. At least in electric ovens there is an air escape below the left rear burner. Things placed on that burner even with it turned off can be kept quite warm/hot actually when the oven is in use.
    Additional standard oven racks might come in handy for using the oven in this way also.
    If you can make jerky this way, you can certainly dehydrate veggies and other items as well. You have opened my mind to some possibilities I had not previously considered. THANKS FOR THE POST.
  3. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    I attained over 150 degrees at the top of the oven space and around 130 at the bottom after 12 hours of continuous operation. - this is empty. Food will absorb the heat, so expect lower temps.
    I use cake cooling racks with small spaces for smaller strips of meat. Longer ones I lay on the clean racks of the oven. I have processed 10 pounds of roast at once this way. The fan really helps. As for storage, the minimum you can store it in an airtight container - kept dry is about a year. The salt in this recipe is an excellent preservative. Vacuum sealed...probably indefinite. Just make sure the meat is lean, little to no fat and no silver skin.
    I crack the door because it vents more moisture faster and allows a better draft of air. After having dried 25 pounds of apples, 10 pounds of pears and 5 pounds of pineapples, I can say the higher the moisture content the bigger the opening, up to a maximum of 2". Again, it is a time thing. I hate tying up my over for a full day for 5 pounds of meat, but if you don't use your oven that much then you can take it as long and slow as you like (my wife gripes at me because she bakes so much and uses the oven almost daily). This is the method that works for me, YMMV, so I give the basics.
    The most racks I can fit in for drying is three due to the height of the fan/heater. Also, I don't want to cook the items lower down and on top of the radiant heater, so experimentation is the key.
    I have done veggies, fruits and meats using this method. What gets me is none of it lasts very gets consumed. My pleasure. I love sharing.
  4. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Quick update...I have made 12.5 pounds of this stuff, in 2.5 pound (brined and dried) increments since the original post. The longest any of it has lasted in my house is 5 days.

    Again, make sure you RINSE the meat after you pull it from the brine, and pat it dry before drying. This will cut way back on the surface salt and saltiness of the meat! I forgot to rinse one batch (the batch mentioned above), it was very salty, you could only eat 2 pieces at a time...but we still consumed it ALL.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  5. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Newest update:
    Because of the wild popularity of this recipe and the "beefy" taste it seems to impart upon the meat, I am processing a very large amount for the upcoming holidays. I have purchased 20 pounds of bottom round (ostensibly sold in many Texas meat markets as "Milanesa" - I just have it sliced 1/4" this and then strip and divide it at home before brining). I will be working in 5 pound batches and unfortunately only the gift recipients will get any of the finished product. Of course, I am not complaining. This is by and far the cheapest holiday yet. Put into vacuum sealed bag and stashed in a nice Christmas tin, it should be a well received gift along with home made banana nut bread, home canned jelly, and a "cake in a jar" (courtesy of BTPost's suggestion).
    Gunny Highway, BTPost and Sapper John like this.
  6. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Nice setup!!

    Link to another jerky maker/recipe from a couple years ago:$10-jerky-maker.html
  7. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    I like that setup too. I went with the ceramic heater rig because a lot of light damages nutrients. Call me kooky LOL. All of my research into this started while learning how to salt preserve meat.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  8. Gunny Highway

    Gunny Highway Hard Work and Sacrifice blessed by God's Grace

    Ahh salt once again LOL It is demonized by the medical establishment but me thinks that they just don't drink enough water to process it out. Thanks for the info Falcon
  9. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Well, another shameless bump and update...I have sold 25 pounds of jerky this year to friends who love it. I just cannot re-iterate enough, rinse, rinse, rinse the meat well before drying.
  10. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I just bought some jerky at the farmers market- 4 ounces for a little under $9. It was honey deer jerky. I noticed @Falcon15 's recipe has honey in it, so my question is: Does this have a real sweet taste? Most jerky strikes me as salty, almost to salty. I bought the expensive stuff because I needed further taste testing to see if I could detect any other flavors. Mainly one tastes meat and honey. The jerky I bought was almost moist, not tough. Either the honey softens it or the meat was what made it easier to eat.
  11. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Not overly sweet. If you do not rinse the meat properly when it comes out of the brine, it will be salty. There is an option to reduce the salt and smoke cure it, but that just replaces salt with smoke, and the meat is not really dried in a smoking method, it is cooked. Also, I replaced the traditional brown sugar with honey in my recipe, as it is far more primal friendly.
    Motomom34 likes this.
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