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Home Made Jerky

Now that I've made a barbecue smoker ( http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Barbecue-Smoker-for-9/ ), it's time to make some actual food with it. Since I had some very lean elk and antelope meat in the freezer, jerky seemed like a logical choice. Follow the steps below to make a delicious snack.
 
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Step 1: Gather tools and materials

I used a recipe similar to Alton Brown's jerky recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_29310,00.html

As for the food, you will need:
~2 pounds red meat (I used elk and antelope meat since that is what I had on hand, but any super-lean meat will do)
~2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
~2/3 cup soy sauce
~1 teaspoon liquid smoke (since I used real smoke this batch didn't have any liquid smoke)
~1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (two of those little packets that come with pizza is the perfect amount)
~1 tablespoon honey

Equipment you will need:
~Barbecue smoker, like this one:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Barbecue-Smoker-for-9/
(or you can just use an oven)
~Wood chips and/or charcoal to make the smoke. I recommend hardwood like apple or hickory.
~A sharp knife and cutting board or a mandolin slicer.
~Bamboo skewers

Step 2: Preparation

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1. Trim off any remaining fat or gristle from the meat.
2. Slice the meat as thin as you possibly can, going with the grain. Make the strips about as long and as thick as a pencil, and about half an inch wide.
3. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and pour it into a large plastic bag.
4. Put the meat in the bag and let it marinate overnight.
5. Pull out the meat and skewer all the pieces through one end. Arrange the pieces with a small gap in between them.

Next we will fire up the smoker and get cookin'!

Step 3: Put THAT in yer pipe and SMOKE IT!

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Well, put it in the smoker and smoke it, that is.

1. Start a small fire in the bottom of the smoker, or if you use an electric smoker like I did, just put the tray of wood chips on top of the burner. DON'T soak the wood chips in water, since we want to dry the meat out.
2. Arrange the skewers on the grill so that the strips are hanging down and there is enough space in between all the pieces for air to circulate.
3. Put the lid on, with the vents open, and wait. It will probably take about 6 to 8 hours to fully dry out the meat. You probably don't want to do this outside at night since raccoons or stray dogs might tip over the smoker and run off with the meat.
4. When the meat is good and dry, take it off the skewers and put it in plastic sandwich bags. Unless you got every last drop of moisture out of the meat or you have some of those desiccator packets lying around from an old bag of jerky, keep it refrigerated.

If you don't have a smoker, you can also use an oven. Heat the oven to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit and hang the meat from the racks. You should also keep the door cracked open with a stick to let out the moisture.
gghay4 years ago
This Is awesome!!!! Ilove jerky so yummy
munching on woodland critters i very fun were can i find elk meat can i buy it or do i have to get a shotgun & hunting permit so i can go old yeller style on those elks
Can i do this for fish?
Rmg126 years ago
Ew isn't it made by lea and perrin's otherwise it is bad quality.
buy some here http://www.splishme.com/ :DD
but sounds delish anyway :D
morgantm7 years ago
I am looking into how to make jerky at home. Am I correct in that it looks like jerky is (or can be) make by just dryhing it out and not actually cooking it? Sorry if this is a stupid question...
discontinuuity (author)  morgantm7 years ago
Yes, you don't actually have to cook it, but I wanted a smoky flavor in my jerky. As some comments have pointed out, "true" jerky is not cooked, just marinated and dried.
LinuxH4x0r7 years ago
MMmmmmmm, now I want some! Great job
shooby7 years ago
Wow, this looks so good, smoked or dried. Tried moose before, real good, never antelope though (New England antelope populations are very low this tme of year!)
discontinuuity (author)  shooby7 years ago
I actually found this meat when I moved into my current home. None of my roommates remember who shot or butchered the animals, but they are dated October 2003. So far, no one has died in the six months since we found the meat and started cooking it. The goose meat that we used to have tasted terrible, though.
Two things:
This looks delicious.
and...
Great job. ;-)
I have nothing against you, and to tell you the truth this is a good instructable...

... but smoking jerky over heat causes it to cook and ruins the point of drying it in the first place. Which doesn't taste/chew as well as it would if it was only dried.

I noticed you used Alton Brown's recipe, but it only had the recipe listed and not his method of preparation. http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_31151,00.html It's there on the recipe page. Dries it without heat.
discontinuuity (author)  Erik Lindemann7 years ago
The smoker I have doesn't get very hot, maybe 200 degrees maximum, which is a good temperature to kill bacteria. I was mostly going for the smoke flavor with this recipe, and it ended up tasting just fine, if not better than most store-bought jerky.
The salt and brine would be enough to kill any critters. Heat is completely unnecessary. You could build a cold smoker by building a second box to store / hang the meat in and connect some duct work to pipe the smoke into it from the grill. Thats how they do it in the commercial and more traditional jerky operations. More complicated, but it would give you a dryer and more shelf stable end product that would keep for a much longer time.
Though it might not be traditional jerky- I have a lot of friends who bake jerky rather than dry it and, while it's not as "chewy", it's still flippin' delicious.