My girls dream of this stuff; beg for it as they pass it in the store; would barter and trade it for all their candy if they could just get some jerky. But alas, their mother always says...
Seriously, have you read what they put in this stuff?
Here's one brand's list of ingredients:
Ingredients: beef, corn syrup, dextrose, less than 2% of salt, natural smoke flavor, hydrolyzed corn and soy protein, flavorings, water, vinegar, sugar, molasses, sodium erythorbate, soy sauce (soybeans, wheat) yeast extract, citric acid, caramel color, and sodium nitrite. Contains soy and wheat.
Oh, my! I won't go into a rant about all the issues I have with these ingredients, but suffice it to say, there's more I'm opposed to than in favor of in this list. And what about GMOs? Between the soy and corn alone, it's got to be over the top in this food item!
So, let's try an organic jerky:
Other ingredients: beef, sugar, water, soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt), flavorings, apple cider vinegar, salt, paprika, smoke flavoring, citric acid.
Much better, but I don't care for my family to eat a lot of white sugar, and what's liquid smoke made of? I'm always suspicious; I just don't trust a lot of food companies anymore. At least the soy is organic, so it should not have GMOs unless it was contaminated and they didn't know it. So, I looked into liquid smoke and this is what I found:
I used a Kitchen Aid Food Grinder that attaches to the front of my mixer. Works great!
Marinade your meat overnight or if ground, a couple of hours.
Next, using a jerky gun, like this Oster model which we picked up at Walmart for around $13, pack it fairly tight with the meat.
Using a funnel helps!
Select what type of form you want for your jerky based on what comes in your kit. We tried all three of ours, but like the "slim jim" round sticks the best. Screw ring on firmly.
Begin pushing the meat out by pulling the trigger gently. You'll need to practice a bit and re-stuff the meat back in the gun until you get the hang of it. Even if the meat falls apart a bit, just stick it together because when dried, it seemed to do fine. You do want it to lay fairly flat, and we found that it could ripple or bunch up if you're not moving the tip back at the right pace.
Because the meat was dripping a bit, I put some foil under the tray for easy clean up, but it didn't touch the food.
I dried the jerky on 155 degrees for about 8 hours. The flat type could have been removed earlier (but I was asleep), while the rolled variety was just about perfect! And all of it was oh, so good!!
What a treat! And we have lots more to do now that we know we like the marinade.
Do you have a great marinade recipe for jerky that's healthy, too? I'd love to know about it so I can try more!