Jerky is the ultimate protein-dense portable snack. Making this chewy treat is as easy as drying strips of meat. The moisture evaporates, the meat’s flavors concentrate….yum!
People have jerked meat in the sun from time immemorial; I, however, appreciate the convenience of an oven or dehydrator. As the meat dries, it browns and shrinks to about one-fourth of its original weight.
Yes, you can buy jerky—but home made is more delicious. Besides, your own will be free of the “natural flavors” added to commercial jerky that may contain hidden chemical ingredients and MSG in the form of hydrolyzed protein.
Lean meat such as a round or rump roast
Cumin, garlic and chili powder (optional)
Slice meat into 1/4 to 1/8 inch-thick strips, about 2-inches wide. Their length will depend upon the cut of the meat; you’ll find long strips (up to 8 inches) easier to work with than shorter strips. Trim and discard gristle and fat (as the fat may become rancid with long storage).
Flatten the strips with a rolling pin so they are fairly uniform in thickness. Season. Arrange slices in one layer on an oven or food dehydrator rack. Place in a 175 degree oven (the juices evaporate rather than drip from the meat and so typically a “catch pan” is not necessary).
Dehydrate for about 4 hours or until the jerky is chewy and leathery. It will contain 2% or less moisture and, when bent, be slightly flexible, but brittle. Although it will crack, it will not easily break into pieces.
Cool and store, tightly wrapped, in a closed container. Properly dried jerky will keep for 2 to 3 weeks in a sealed container at room temperature. Refrigerated, it will keep for 6 months; frozen, for up to one year.
May you be well nourished,