I mentioned in my last post that I’m headed camping in a few days. My camping munchies wouldn’t be complete without jerky. And I’m not talking about the store-bought stuff. No, I like to make it myself. But I don’t have the time or money to marinate some top round for jerky. There are a lot of new things I discovered when I came on board Kitchen Kneads 10 years ago. Ground beef jerky is one of those things. For one, it’s more affordable to make and only takes about 3 or 4 hours to cure.
But my favorite thing about making jerky out of ground beef is that it’s easier to chew. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t really like to chew and chew and chew my jerky. The flavor can be amazing, but I’m not as inclined to eat it if I have to chew it too much. Especially if I’m still chewing and the flavor is long spent.
You can make jerky with ground turkey too and it’s just as awesome, though the texture is a little crispier.
So, what do you need?
- A dehydrator. I have this Nesco one.
- A Jerky Works jerky gun.
- Jerky seasoning. I love these made by Nesco.
- Curing salt. This comes with the Nesco jerky seasonings.
Here’s a thing or to to know before you start making jerky.
First: Buy the leanest meat you can. I prefer 94% lean or higher. If your meat has too much fat it will drip to the bottom of your dehydrator and cause an awful mess. Another reason for buying lean is that it will keep its size better. With fattier meat, the fat drips out and the jerky shrinks. The leaner, the better.
Second: We’ve found that using all of the curing salt that comes in each the Nesco package makes the jerky too salty. I like to use have a package. I haven’t noticed any difference in how it cures and frankly, it doesn’t sit around long enough to go bad. If you’re concerned about not using enough curing salt, then by all means use the whole package.
Third: The jerky gun. When making jerky with ground meat, it makes it a heck of a lot easier to use some type of extruder. Makes sense, right? It’s not sliceable and you need to somehow get an even thickness. Nesco has a super awesome extruder they call a jerky gun. It’s very easy to use. You can find those right here or in our store.
Fourth: I like to cure my jerky on my dehydrator’s highest setting. That would be 155 F. At that temperature, it takes 3-4 hours to cure. It’s usually closer to the 3 hour mark for me. A lower temperature would mean a longer cure time.
Fifth: Use honey. This is a personal preference, but I like to put about a tablespoon of honey in my jerky when I use the Teriyaki seasoning. It just makes it a little better.