Archive for the ‘Jerky’ Category

Jerky – Some Recipe Refinement


I got an email this morning from Throwback at Trapper Creek regarding my previously posted jerky recipe, which led me to responding with a couple recipe tweaks – one of which is pretty key in my mind, so I figured I should post those thoughts here as well.

First. On my first elk jerky batch of the winter, I had sliced the cow elk round while still mostly frozen. It sliced a dream on my cheap deli slicer. I added the cure ingredients right away. The jerky was enjoyed, but I found it gamier than expected. On this most recent batch, I let the sliced par-frozen meat defrost pre-curing. I was suprised how much blood was released during the defrosting, so I poured it off, and may have even given the meat a quick rinse. Ah. The potential source of gaminess: the blood. The result? Less gamey jerky. I had unknowingly allowed the blood/juices related to defrosting become part of the cure flavors on that first batch. Not a good plan, in my books. So I will forever defrost the sliced meat fully and drain pre-adding the cure ingredients – yields a far cleaner flavor.

Second. Less importantly, I gave onion a go rather than garlic. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan of my fridge stinking like meat and garlic – not sure what about that turns me off, but it does. Result with onion is very nice, more subtle/delicate than garlic. Maybe next time, leeks.

Time to take out the next piece of elk round, as this batch won’t last the week.

Jerky Pleasing All Parties


Jerky has become a repertoire item around our home – something that reappears over, and over, and over – like bacon. At risk of offending all parties, jerky pleases food snobs, picky eaters, and red necks equally – and I actually don’t quite understand why.  Not many foods can transcend those gaping holes in preference, so why does dried raw meat turn people on? How does my daughter spit roast chicken on her plate, yet pound back the uncooked, dried game meat that she’d otherwise never touch? I think it’s largely a texture preference that’s plugged into our DNA, evolution telling us that this is safer to eat. I use this recipe still. Were I to use the exact same ingredients and stir fry the meat, the picky folk, game haters, food snobs, red necks, and children wouldn’t eat it. But dry it, and shabam.

In all honesty, although I enjoy jerky – especially as a portable snack food, I’m not one to get too overly excited about it. I get excited about dry cured sausages, but not this. But so long as others do, and it’s an effective way to get people excited about eating game meats, I’ll keep making it, and they’ll keep eating it as fast as I can make it. One of the great things about game – jerky is obscenely expensive to purchase retail, in the neighborhood of $50-60/kg. When a game animal like this costs you zero, it makes for some pretty fantastic value add. A boon for this cheapass.

Jerky – A Recipe Worth Sharing


I’ve made a fair whack of jerky, both in the oven and over wood fire, sweet-glazed versions, plain versions, smoked and unsmoked. I’ve recently come across a recipe that’s worth sharing. Not only is it dang tasty, it avoids the onion/garlic powder route which even ‘Charcuterie’ suggests [a rare shortcoming of the book]:

per pound of meat [in this case, very tough 09 moose]:

1 tbsp kosher salt

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp dark brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried chili [optional]

1 tsp cracked black pepper [optional]

Slice meat thin and most importantly – evenly – while still partially frozen. Mix with marinade ingredients above, and refrigerate for a day or three. Dry via your method of choice. Note that jerky pieces never finish all at the same time, so you have to pull them off as they get to a texture you like.

Yes, I have a smoker

In response to my serving anything I’ve smoked: “Oh, you have a smoker? What kind do you have?”. I then answer, knowing the answer will create an assumption of half-assedness. “I use my BBQ”. End of conversation, typically. Despite my desire to reassure them it is not half-assed and actually does a fine job, I just let it go. I think people would prefer to hear that I have an elaborate and expensive professional unit of some kind. A back-yard trophy that can slice, dice, and increase my awesomeness.

The reality is that fire makes smoke, and so long as you have a place to put some fire, you’ve got a place to smoke some food. The only other ingredients are some ingenuity and can-do-attitude.

Shots of my outdoor smoking apparatus are here, here, here, and here. Today’s smoking: moose jerky. I found a really good recipe that I can get behind that gets devoured, and I may even post it…soon…maybe.

Jerky Day.

Jerky day. I actually can’t remember the last time I made jerky, but sadly, I think it’s been over a year. Why? Sometimes, I’m just not that smart, what can I say. But I got inspired by my moose-bacon, and was driven to do another cured and smoked game product right away. So I’ve got 5lbs of calf moose and elk sliced up, and am doing it two ways:

1] smoked with hickory and dried over wood coals, and
2] dried in the oven.

Both have been cured in half dry cure [kosher salt, sugar, pink salt], and half kosher salt – with some soy and smashed garlic cloves – for about 24 hours. I then do a very hi-tech procedure involving taking the pieces and pounding/spreading them lightly with the bottom of my mortar, as they tend to tighten up/bunch up while curing. Then on to racks, and off to dry. So simple. So non-perishable. So portable. So popular [esp with the kids]. Such a good way to get people eating game. If this batch works out well, I’ve promised myself to immediately make another large batch. Notes on the results of each method to come…