Homemade Jerky (It’s Deer Season)
For those with a license to catch your own meat with a rifle, this Saturday is opening day. So we got in touch with Mo Tidball of Cornell Cooperative Extension for the first in a series of game meat recipes.
She advises clearing out the freezer of last year’s hunt by making jerky for this year’s, since long trips are the reason for jerky—and because game meat should be frozen at 5ºF for twenty days, she says, to kill trichinella. But if you can’t get the deer yourself, you can still make this with bought beef.—Jessie Cacciola
By Moira M. Tidball
Use about two pounds of meat, choosing a cut that will slice well, such as steaks, chops or roasts. Trim fat from the meat and slice no thicker than 1/4 inch. Slice with the grain for chewy jerky, across the grain for a more brittle, tender jerky.
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Dash of: pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of hickory smoke-flavored salt (or regular salt will do)
Combine all ingredients in a shallow glass or ceramic (not metal) pan and place meat in the pan and coat completely. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or overnight. (Product will be saltier, the longer it is marinated.)
Remove pan from refrigerator and place meat along with the marinade in a skillet or pan, place on the stove over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes to kill any bacteria by reaching 160ºF.
Remove strips of meat and place to drain on clean absorbent towels, then transfer to a dehydrator. (If you are dehydrating in an oven, preheat to 140-145ºF and place meat on metal racks on cooking sheets to catch the drippings.) Begin checking meat after about 3 hours to see if it is dry. It should crack, but not break when bent.
For more information, see the Drying Food in NYS publication and “Preparing Safer Jerky” from Cooperative Extension, here. A version of this post originally appeared at The Wild Harvest Table.
Moira M. Tidball is the Human Ecology Nutrition Resource Educator for Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension. She also blogs at The Wild Harvest Table and co-owns a family farm, Canoga Creek Farm, where there might be a few more turkeys.
Jessie Cacciola is the Managing Editor of Edible Voices.