Thursday, May 10, 2012

Deer Jerky!

Yes, you read that right. I made deer jerky. My uncle got a doe during hunting season and had it made into ground venison. Well, I borrowed a dehydrator from another uncle, and made a pound of the ground meat into jerky!

You can use any kind of meat that you want. I just happened to have some venison lying around and I really like deer jerky, so I made some. (I'm a bit of a hick, if you didn't know.) You could do your own beef or chicken jerky this way, too.

There's really no recipe here. I mean, you could make your own cure and seasoning, but I opted to get this handy little box from Gander Mountain. It has a packet of seasoning, a packet of cure, and mixing instructions. This one was the Hickory Blend, but there are other flavors. I really want to try the Teriyaki someday.

I borrowed this from my uncle, too. It's like a caulk gun... for meat.... I know, the concept is terrifying. It was really handy, though. You fill it and just pipe out strips. If you don't have one of these, you can mix the meat up and put it in the fridge for a few hours, then roll it out and cut strips.

You mix the correct amount of seasoning and cure with water, then work it into the meat, like you're making meatloaf. All I could think the whole time was "Oh god, I have Bambi's mom under my fingernails."

Once you're all mixed, you pipe it out into strips. I used my uncle's dehydrator. You can do it in the oven, too, but this way is less greasy and just easier. Just pipe out the meat onto the trays, set the dehydrator to 155 degrees F, and let it go.

Dehydrators can be used to make all kinds of stuff... fruit roll-ups, fruit chips, veggie chips, jerky, etc. I know I have to give it back to my uncle, but I may own my own someday. They're like $85, so I won't be getting one any time soon, but someday I will be a dehydrating fiend. 

So yeah, set your meat strips to cook/dehydrate, leave it alone, and 5 or so hours later, you get this. Jerky! It's super delicious, and so much easier than I expected. I only used a pound of meat, and a couple teaspoons of the cure and seasoning, and I got 32 strips of jerky out of it. It'll keep for about a month at room temp. I put it in the fridge so it'll keep longer. Once I get to Virginia, I think I'll put some in the freezer. 

If you don't have a fancy dehydrator or a meat gun, you can still make jerky. It'll just be less simple. The box of seasoning/cure has all kinds of methods and instructions. I have enough of the seasoning left for about 9 more pounds of meat. Maybe I'll try some beef jerky. Hmm....

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