As promised, here’s the jerky recipe I’m (loosely) following. I looked around for ground meat jerky recipes after I read that commercial jerky is often made with ground meat. We knew that jerky was pretty soft, and we thought it would work better for the people in my family that have teeth issues… sensitive teeth or braces. (I’m sorry, Dr. Price, but we learned about you too late.)
The great thing is I have used this jerky on pizza as pepperoni. It is already pretty soft, but during the pizza baking, it absorbed liquid from the tomato sauce and turned out soft and chewy. I think I should have done a thinner batch of jerky for it to be really pepperoni-like, though.
See all Basic Recipes.
But anyway, I looked around for recipes. I ended up following one that I found on a message board. So, thanks to “Christine” for the inspiration. This is doubled from her recipe because if I’m going to make jerky, I’m going to make jerky.
- 3 pounds grass-fed ground beef (or venison, or lamb, or buffalo… )
- 2 teaspoons unrefined sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (original recipe calls for 8 times this amount, which is too peppery for me)
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder or granulated garlic (feel like making your own?)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin (or more!)
- pinch of cayenne pepper (original recipe calls for much more)
Blend all the ingredients together in a big bowl. You may as well use clean hands.
Taking a portion at a time, press the meat mixture into about 1/8″ thickness on a piece of natural parchment paper that is the same size as your dehydrator tray. Or use the ParaFlexx sheets that go with an Excalibur dehydrator – see Resources for sources. You could also use a rolling pin to spread it out, but I find I can never get the thickness consistent, so I prefer to take extra time and press the balls out into a sheet myself, like so:
When a sheet is full, square up the edges to your liking, using your fingers. Then use a butter knife to score the meat into jerky-size pieces. Don’t use a sharp knife or you’ll cut through parchment paper or Paraflexx sheets!
Transfer the whole shebang to a dehydrator tray and put the tray in/on your dehydrator. Repeat until you’ve spread out all your meat mixture. This recipe fills 4 to 5 trays of my 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator, depending on the thickness I achieve.
Set the dehydrator’s temperature to 145 or 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on thickness, expect total drying time to be 12 to 18 hours. Flip over mid-way, which is usually when the jerky is curling up from the bottom and not sticking to the tray’s liner any more.
You have to play with how much it “cooks” – and keep in mind that coming out of the dehydrator it is going to be much softer than it will be when it cools. I look for there to be no more pink and try to get it out of the dehydrator while it is still really soft. It always surprises me how much it hardens up once it is out.
Tear apart the pieces and put them in a bowl or tray to cool fully. Then store in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. Or in the refrigerator if not using up within two weeks.
Wow, I wish I could get a good picture of the jerky! It tastes wonderful, and is a great snack or a great lunch on the go. We’ll be having it for lunch today when we are out on our “day in town.”
If you’d like a great recipe for jerky made from cuts of beef, try this one from Ann Marie @ Cheeseslave. I tested it with beef cut with and against the grain, and we preferred against the grain by far (because of those sensitive teeth). I completely omitted the Worcestershire sauce and the jerky was fantastic! Pictured below is a shot of both kinds of jerky side by side. Again, (my) jerky is not very photogenic.
So, there you go. What you add to this jerky recipe, for spices? If you make it, be sure to come back and let me know what you did!
See all Basic Recipes.