Learning how to dehydrate meats (or create ‘jerky’) is a good skill to have for people who spend a lot of time outdoors. Jerky can last for up to a month at room temperature, requires no preparation to eat, and is lighter than regular foods since the moisture has been removed. It’s great for hiking and fishing trips, or spending a lot of time outdoors without the equipment to prepare food.
This advice applies to most meats, including chicken, beef (roast is best), and turkey.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1) A working kitchen, with a fridge and a stove, and various utensils.
2) 2 lb of the meat you would like to dehydrate. Go with the leanest cut you can find, as fat will go rancid and reduce the shelf life of your jerky.
3) A marinating sauce. Olive oil and salt is popular, as is the Soy/Worchester/garlic/salt and pepper mix, but feel free to experiment and find one that works for you.
4) Ziploc bags for storage
HOW TO DO IT:
1) Slice your meat into as thin strips as possible. A great idea is to go to a deli, and have it sliced into 1/16th of an inch strips. The thinner they are, the better your jerky will be.
2) Trim off any excess fat with a knife. This will make your jerky last longer.
3) Put your strips into a bowl with your marinating sauce. Mix it up.
4) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.
5) Put the contents of your bowl into a pot or sauce pan. Put a stove burner on high, and boil for five minutes to kill all bacteria.
6) Lay your meat slices onto a paper towel, and let them drain.
7) Place your meat slices onto the racks of your oven. Set the oven to 160 F, and keep the door open an inch or two to help with air flow.
8) Cook the meat for 6 to 12 hours. You want all moisture to be removed. You’ll know when it is when the meat cracks, but bends and doesn’t snap.
9) Remove your slices from the oven and let them cool completely.
10) Put your slices into an air-tight Ziploc bag, to keep it fresh for as long as possible. Your jerky will be good for a month at room temperature, and can be frozen and last up to 6 months.
Good luck and stay prepared!
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