Archives for: January 2000, 24
I'm a type O and I read that beef jerky can be made using a low oven temperature. Could you tell me what the temperature should be in degrees to make beef jerky. I am very busy and I would be nice to have something to eat on the go that is healthy for me. Thank you, alot. -- Delilah
Thanks for asking!
Jerky's not just for type O. It can be made from red meat, fowl, fish, even snake... even alligator meat makes tasty jerky.
I understand you’re a busy person, so I hope I won’t discourage you from making jerky when I say: the key to success is experience. You don’t really need a fancy dehydrator or even an oven. If your climate is dry, breezy and warm, a clothesline will do. But technique is paramount, since the basic idea is to preserve meat through drying and/or salting for a projected period of time – and every cut of meat is different.
It can be made with complicated marinades, or nothing more than fine sea salt. Most people associate jerky with thin strips of meat, but pound-sized chunks can be used, too. With strips, you can tell it’s done when it will bend and crack a bit, but not break. The larger hunks of meat are prepared to the point where they no longer drip or sweat, but it’s a little more difficult for the novice to determine when they’re really ready for storage.
Here’s a quick recipe for two pounds of lean red meat or turkey, cut into ¼” strips. Just double all the ingredients if you want a bigger batch:
Mix together 2 minced cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of salt, a tablespoon of ginger powder, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne and ½ teaspoon of fresh-ground black pepper. Type As & ABs: you can substitute one teaspoon of cumin for the cayenne and pepper, reduce the salt to one tablespoon, and add 1/2 cup of wheat-free tamari. Put the meat into a glass or ceramic container, distribute the spice preparation over all sides of the meat, cover and put it in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, drain any liquid that has seeped out. Line the bottom of your oven with some protective covering (like aluminum foil) and arrange the meat strips flat across the oven racks. Each strip should be supported by at least two wires of the rack; you don’t want the sides of the strips to touch as they hang there. Set the oven to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and leave the door just cracked open. Use an oven thermometer to monitor the actual temperature, and adjust it so that it remains around 140 degrees Fahrenheit for six to eight hours. Start testing the jerky after six hours – it should, as I mentioned, bend with some cracking when it’s done.
There is a wonderful little book which explains and elaborates upon the basic techniques of the manufacture of all kinds of jerky and pemmican, and I recommend it to anyone who would like a solid grounding in the subject. It’s called, surprisingly enough, Jerky, written by A.D. Livingston and published by The Lyons Press. No matter whether you just want a snack to take to work, plan to store large quantities of game meat for survival and kitchen recipes, or are hoping to find a use for the nutria you’re eradicating from your pond, this book has what you're looking for.