Homemade Jerky is a real treat. Some hunters use every possible cut from their deer, antelope, elk, moose, or whatever, to make a special Jerky Stash! These packets end up in the truck and get consumed as they head to work or afield.
Having jerky made is expensive. Using a dehydrator or other special grind recipes means that you need to buy new equipment.
Here is a simple and easy way to make a great Jerky. I have used this recipe in my kitchen oven or on my Traeger grill. You only need 120-200 degrees to make your meat strips become wonderful jerky. You can eve use this recipe over a fire if you tend it for several hours. What I like about this method is how much you can make in a small space. Hanging the jerky strips, using toothpicks, is a simple vertical way to evenly dry your well-hung meat!
Prep time is 2 days
2 lbs. of jerky meat
1 cup cold water
½ tsp liquid smoke
¼ tsp. each of garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper
Cut your meat with the grain into strips 1 1/2 inches wide. They can be ½ inch thick. Trim off all the fat and any silver skin.
Place the meat into a glass dish and cover with the mixture. Leave it overnight in the refrigerator or cold place.
Remove the soaked strips and drain. Stick a toothpick through one end of each strip. Use a tray, covered in foil, under your rack of drying strips, to catch the drippings. Use the oven or grill rack to suspend the meat strips. Turn the oven to 120 degrees, or the lowest setting. Hotter is not better or faster. Leave the oven door open slightly. The Trager Grill vents with the lid closed. Moisture needs to escape. Dry the strips for about 8 hours. The strips should bend but not break. The meat will turn dark and have no moisture.
The advantage of a Traeger grill is that you can use certain blends of wood pellets to flavor the smoked jerky. The Trager has just a half shelf so find an old refrigerator shelf that you can custom fit and hang. I support mine with 4 narrow bricks. I take out the grate that comes with the grill, so I have room for my custom Jerky Grate.
Now is when you add your favorite flavoring. My family is divided. Some prefer Heinz 57 sauce, some like A-1, others want Worcestershire flavor. Use a new, clean paint brush to coat each strip of jerky. You can also make a custom sauce or use soy or teriyaki if desired. Customizing your flavor profile is the fun part. Now you can make your Well Hung Jerky your own!
I have found that storing my jerky in Mason Jars works best. I lost a couple jars for a year, in the back of my truck. We ate them when we found them. The Jar is also a nice way to give a Jerky Gift. You can also use vacuum sealed bags. Honestly, if the Jerky is available, it won’t last long!
Enjoy your custom Jerk and try to share some!
For more Montana Grant, find him making jerky at www.montanagrantfishing.com.