Ok, so I know it sounds strange as can be, but I’m going to say I love beef jerky…I always have since I was a kid. But, jerky is actually a healthy snack, being that it is pure protein. You just have to watch the sodium content, as some jerky can be pretty high and that’s where it starts being not healthy.
If you think about it, jerky has been around almost as long as mankind. Jerky was the way to prepare and store meat for long term consumption when you never knew when you would have fresh meat again. There were no refrigerators or freezers back then, so they went on large scale hunts where they would find big animals such as mammoth or buffalo and come back with tons of meat at a time to keep the tribe eating protein for many months. After eating a first festive “barbeque”, most of the remaining meat was cut into strips and laid out to dry in the sun and air until it was jerky. And that is a quick historical summary of where jerky came from, lol, courtesy of Jean M. Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear Series…a very interesting book/series, by the way.
Campers and hikers use jerky as a quick and easy high protien snack that is very easy and light to carry. Jerky can be made from any meat you want…turkey, deer, beef, even ham! It can be made from ground meat using a press, as this recipe is , or by strips of thin meat.
Every year before mom moved here, Thanksgiving was the holiday she travelled here and that was our “Christmas”. One of the rules, besides having plenty of Crown Royal on hand, was to make sure we had a Honey Baked Ham. One year, we were adventurous and decided to cut up some of the precious pre-sliced ham and put it on the dehydrator to see how it would turn out. We loved it! Another year, we made a big batch of ground deer jerky (the best jerky meat in my opinion), and put it into ziploc bags for mom to take home with her. With our backs turned, Lacey immediately sniffed it out in her bag and proceeded to chow down….through the plastic even! Before we noticed, she had eaten over a third of it! And yes, she was sick, but she loved every minute of it!
So, back to the recipe…this recipe is not truly my recipe or even one from scratch. But it is a recipe you should consider trying. I don’t think people realize how truly easy it is to dehydrate anything, much less jerky. Dehydrators are very inexpensive, and you can use them to make your own dried fruit, which I must say, is 100 times better than the stuff you buy in the store that is loaded with sugar. And the Nesco Dehydrator and extra spice kits are available everywhere…even at the local everyone-hates-it-but-has-no-choice-but-to-use-it Walmart. I love my dehydrator…
Nesco Beef Jerky
- 1 pound ground meat (beef, venison, or turkey, etc)
- 1 package Nesco Beef Jerky Seasonings (original *my favorite*, smoked sausage style andouille, cajun, cracked pepper and garlic, fajita, hot -n- spicy, pepperoni or teriyaki,)
- 1 package Nesco Spice Cure
Mix the cure and seasonings with the ground meat as you would a meatloaf. Fill the cylinder of the jerky press with the meat mixture, and put the tip of your choice on the end of the cylinder
Using the trigger on the “jerky gun”, press out the jerky, creating the strips on the dehydrator tray. Use a knife to cut the beef mixture at the press tip once you have your desired length.
Continue until you have used all the meat mixture.
Set the dehyrator at the meat setting (usually the highest temp), and let run for 4-8 hours, or until the meat is cooked.