This article will share how to tell if jerky is done dehydrating. Keep reading the article to get well-detailed information on how to prepare this popular snack. Let’s get started!
Nothing beats the excitement of eating tasty jerky. Most hikers and campers prefer to carry jerky as their main snack. Jerky is rich in protein and is easy to pack. It is also lightweight, and therefore, you will not feel the impact of its weight on your bag pack.
The best part about this handy food (besides the taste and flavor), is that you can prepare it at home by yourself or choose to buy it. Homemade jerky is usually healthier and cheaper. Making your own jerky is easy; you only need to know how to marinate it, cut it right and control the heat.
Factors to Consider When Making Jerky
Homemade jerky comes with many advantages. You decide how delicious you want your jerky to taste. Moreover, you get to choose the spices and seasonings to your taste. Many grillers recommend the “Traeger Jerky Rub.” It is ideal for chicken and beef jerky.
Note: With all food preparation, always be mindful of food safety, to avoid common bacteria growth. Some of these harmful microorganisms are harmful bacteria, or e. coli (fecal bacteria).
If you want to make homemade jerky, here are the preparation factors you need to consider. They include:
Before you start making your jerky, you need a food thermometer. It will come in handy, especially if your oven or smoker does not have an inbuilt thermometer. The thermometer ensures you cook at the right internal temperature to ensure proper food safety.
You will need to pre-heat the oven before you start making your jerky. You need to pre-heat the oven to a fairly low temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The benefit of preheating the oven is that it kills any bacterial growth in it.
2. Drying Time
Jerky takes four to eleven hours to dry. However, the amount of time depends on the kind of meat cut. Thick raw meat cuts take a long time to dry in the food dehydrator. Moreover, there is no specific drying time because people slice their meat differently.
The recommended drying time is an estimation of ten hours for your meat to dry completely, and become dry jerky.
If the texture of your jerky is crumbling, it means you have overcooked it. The right texture of well-made jerky has a gummy and leathery feel. Moreover, if you cook it well, it should be easy to chew your meat and not be difficult. It is fine if your meat has a little crunch and looks dry on the outside; it should still be chewy.
4. Jerky Recipes
There are literally hundreds of jerky recipes available. Therefore, piles of different ingredients are used. Having said that, there are a handful of ingredients that are commonly used amongst most jerky recipes.
Some of these ingredients are: soy sauce, brown sugar, liquid smoke, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and, of course, your strips of meat.
Dehydrating Jerky Techniques – Not Just a Food Dehydrator
For best results, the method of preparing jerky is by using the food dehydrator method. However, you can use other methods for your dehydrating process.
Another good option is using a pellet grill, aka a pellet smoker, to make jerky. The advantage of smokers is that they are easy to clean compared to food dehydrators.
Also, some people use the oven drying method, which is doable, but less convenient. Regardless of the method you use, you will probably still have good jerky.
How To Tell If Smoked Jerky Is Ready?
A smoker will give your jerky a sweet and smoky flavor. The first step in smoking jerky is making the proper meat cut. You will need a slicer.
Then, you will marinate it to give it a unique taste. After that, insert the meat into the smoker by placing it on the jetty rack.
The recommended vault jerky is the “Camp Chef eighteen-inch Vault Jerky Racks .”It is made of nickel material and has two jerky racks. You will also need aluminum foil to keep your meat flat and prevent mess.
Your jerky will take several hours to be ready. The cooking temperature should be in the range of 1700F to 1800F to give it the proper texture.
When it is done, it will be chewier and tender. If you want a crispy taste, you can keep it for an extended period.
How To Tell If Jerky Is Done Dehydrating?
The most popular method of making jerky is the use of a food dehydrator. It ensures water is taken away from the meat. You will have to cut the meat into lean pieces and trim off all the fat. After you are done doing this, you start drying your jerky.
Since you are using a dehydrator, you will pre-heat it at 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The pre-heating process should take fifteen to thirty minutes for the food dehydrator to be properly heated. After you are done pre-heating, you place your prepared meat inside to start drying.
It should take about six to ten hours to reach the proper amount of dryness. You can remove the meat strips to see if they are dry enough. You will use clean tongs to remove the meat; then, you will hang it on the wire drying rack to cool.
When it dries properly, the strip will not crack when you bend it. This is known as the bend test. It will only produce a crack sound.
The meat strip is supposed to be flexible and firm and it should not crumble into pieces. If it has properly dried, it should not be sticky or grease on the hands. After you’ve done this a few times you’ll know how to tell if jerky is done dehydrating.
When a Jerky Is Done Dehydrating Depends on It’s Type
When it comes to jerky options, there are plenty. It is you to choose the one you want to make. A majority of people are used to making the beef option. However, you can use other types of meat to prepare your jerky.
The most vital factor is knowing how to make the right meat cut and ensuring you use lean meat only. Moreover, fat in meat affects the drying process since it does not dehydrate easily.
The following are different types of jerky and how to tell if jerky is done. What you make is based on your personal preference. They include:
1. Beef jerky
Beef (usda approved is recommended) is the most commonly used meat option for making jerky. You make your own beef jerky yourself and spice it to your taste. You can use a smoker or a dehydrator to dry beef when it comes to drying.
The first step is to cut the strips of beef to the right thickness and remove all the fat. The best cuts are very lean. The heating process will determine the time it will take to dry. You need to set your dehydrator or smoker at the right temperature to avoid foodborne illness.
The seasonings you use will affect how long the meat will take to dry. It is essential to drain the marinade from all the strips before heating it. The time it takes to dry will differ; it can take four to six hours to dry properly. You can check the strips to ensure it has properly dried.
2. Venison Jerky
Wild game makes for excellent jerky. Deer is a good choice for meat jerky. You can use the different parts of the meat to make your own deer jerky. You can cut around the roast, eye, hind legs, or rump to get the best cut.
Deer have many muscle fibers in a similar direction to the roasts that help your jerky. Depending on your preference, you can make small or big cuts.
The best cut for deer meat is a 1/8 inch thick strip. If you cut a thin strip, it will over dry. The best way to prepare the meat is fast freezing it before heating it. When it dries properly, the meat should be chewable. You will also not gnaw because of dried muscle fibers.
3. Fish jerky
It would be best if you tried fish jerky. It is very delicious, although it is messy. It is also used to make delicious homemade recipes. You can make fish jerky without a smoker, oven, or dehydrator. Fish has low-fat content and you should not use catfish to make your fish jerky.
Before you season, cut the fish into thin strips. When drying the fish, you will use low heat to ensure you retain its nutrients. You can heat the fish at a temperature range of 1100F to 1490F. The drying time of the fish will depend on the thickness of the fish strips and temperature. Your dried fish jerky should be quite brittle and bendable.
4. Poultry Jerky
For poultry jerky, you can use turkey or chicken for your jerky. Many people like chicken and when marinating, it takes a short time. It is healthier compared to red meat. Although, some people may argue on that point.
You only need to ensure you cook it at the proper temperature and length of time, and that’s the sure way to know how to tell if jerky is done dehydrating.
If you do not cook at the appropriate temperature, food bacteria such as salmonella will start thriving. It would be best to use a food thermometer to ensure your chicken is made well. Moreover, the best part of the chicken to use is the chicken breast. It contains fewer fats compared to other parts of the chicken.
Your dehydrator should be set at a temperature of 1600F when heating the chicken. It will take about six hours for the strips to dry properly. However, if you use large chicken pieces, it will take at least eight hours to dry the chicken strips.
5. Bacon jerky
Bacon jerky is a delicious recipe and you should try it. You can make the bacon jerky in many different flavors, such as maple bacon jerky and candied bacon jerky. The bacon jerky can be made using a smoker, oven, or dehydrator.
The best way to cook bacon jerky is using thick slices. However, if you want crunchy jerky, you can make regular size cuts. It will take about 3 to 4 hours for bacon jerky in an oven to dry properly.
It will take the same time to dry in a smoker. However, with a dehydrator, it will take longer to cook. When it dries properly, it bends but does not crack.
Final Thoughts On How To Tell If Jerky Is Done Dehydrating
In conclusion, you can make jerky with different meat types. Now that you have gone through this article, you should be able to tell when your jerky is done. You should avoid overcooking it to ensure it is delicious. The best part about making jerky at home is trying out different recipes to achieve your desired result.
Feel free to use this article as a guide to help you make different types of jerky and to be a guide on how to tell if jerky is done dehydrating.
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