Jerky Making FAQs
Last Updated: 05/23/2013
Are there special considerations for safely making and consuming homemade jerky?
We highly recommend that you review the USDA's Fact Sheet on Jerky & Food Safety before making your own jerky. Also, be sure to call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854 or send email to: email@example.com regarding any additional safety concerns that arise during your home jerky making adventures.
What are the best cuts of meat to use when making jerky?
What is the best way to cut meat into jerky strips?
How should the meat be ground for reconstructed jerky (ground meat formed into jerky strips with a jerky gun)?
Grind first through a coarse plate, then through a fine plate. The finer grind will allow the meat to be more tightly packed into a uniform jerky strip. Never add fat to the mix. Jerky should be as lean as possible.
Is there anything special that I need to do when using a pre-packaged seasoning kit?
How do I season jerky on my own without a kit?
When making your own jerky seasoning, there are a few basics to know when it comes to ingredients:
Should I use cure (curing salt/sodium nitrate)?
What's the best way to marinate jerky?
Vacuum seal the meat with the marinade in vacuum sealer bags or in vacuum sealer canisters. The vacuum opens the pores of the meat and draws the marinade more fully into the meat. If using vacuum sealer bags, hold the bag below the vacuum chamber, and place a folded paper towel strip just below where you are going to seal. This will help keep liquids out of your vacuum sealer chamber.
How long do I need to marinate jerky?
How long and at what temperature do I dehydrate jerky in a dehydrator?
Dehydrate at 155 degrees for about four hours. After four hours, check it every half hour. The drying timing is dependent upon several variables. One is how much jerky meat you place into the dehydrator (the more you put in, the longer it will all take to dry). Another is how moist the jerky meat is when you put it into the dehydrator (the more moisture, the longer the dehydrator will take to heat up, and also to remove that moisture).
How do I know when the jerky is done?
It will be completely dry, but still flexible - not brittle (the meat should bend, not break).
Do I need to rotate my dehydrator trays?
You do not need to rotate the trays if you are using a Weston Dehydrator, but it doesn't hurt either.
How long and at what temperature do I dehydrate jerky in a smoker?
Do I need to rotate the smoker racks?
How long and at what temperature do I dehydrate jerky in an oven?
Dehydrate jerky at 200 degrees for 2 hours in an oven, checking it every half hour. If your oven goes lower, set it as low as 155.
Are there any special considerations I should make when dehydrating jerky in an oven?
How do I store jerky properly, and for how long?
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