A. Ground Meat Method: Mix contents of one Seasoning and Cure* packet with 5 lbs lean, ground meat and 1/2 cup cold water. Mix until sticky and the color is uniform throughout, without any streaks. This ensures that the cure is evenly distributed. Choose one of the next two methods to form strips of seasoned meat prior to drying.
Jerky Gun Method: Use a jerky gun to form strips of seasoned meat. Lay the strips on wire racks (or dehydrator trays), leaving approximately 1/4" space between the strips. Do not overlap.
Rolling Pin Method: Place a small portion of seasoned meat between two sheets of waxed paper. Roll the meat until it is about 1/4" thick. Remove the top piece of waxed paper. Cut the flattened meat into strips, then gently lay them on wire racks (or dehydrator trays), as instructed above.
B. Whole Meat Method: Use only lean, well-trimmed wild game or domestic meat. Slice meat with the grain no more than 1/4" thick. Add contents of one Seasoning and Cure* packet to 1 cup cold water in a large, non-metallic bowl and mix well. Add 5 lbs sliced meat to marinade, mixing well, making sure all surfaces of meat are coated. Transfer the meat mixture to a large plastic storage bag. Refrigerate 8-24 hours. Longer marinating will intensify flavor. Remove the meat from marinade and lay on wire racks** Leave approximately 1/4" space between the strips, being sure not to overlap. Discard remaining marinade.
NOTES: *Cure contains sodium nitrite, which is essential in preserving jerky. Use caution when handling and follow instructions carefully. Keep out of the reach of children.
**In place of wire racks, sliced jerky can be placed on metal skewers and hung down through the top of an oven rack. Place a cookie sheet on the bottom rack to catch the drippings.
A. Conventional Oven: Set the oven temperature to 180 degrees F. Put the loaded wire racks on cookie sheets, then place into oven. Prop the open door about 1" for the first hour to improve ventilation and reduce drying time. Bake for 1 hour, then turn jerky strips over. Turn jerky strips over every 30 minutes while baking until done.
B. Dehydrator Method: Completely load the dehydrator before turning the unit on. Dry the jerky at 160 degrees F for 4-6 hours. Rotate racks and blot surface of jerky occasionally, until done.
C. Smokehouse Method: Preheat the smokehouse to 140 degrees F before loading. Then follow these instructions:
STAGE 1 1 hour 140 degrees F Smoke Off Damper Closed
STAGE 2 1 hour 150 degrees F Smoke On Damper Open
STAGE 3 160 degrees F Smoke Off Damper Open
***Until the jerky shrinks 50% by weight or until done
Note: These instructions are meant as a general guideline. Refer to and follow the instructions of your smoker.
III. STORAGE & TIPS: Jerky should be stored in a dark, dry place, between 50-60 degrees F. Jerky will retain its color and flavor for months stored in this manner. If moisture droplets appear on the inside of the storage container, the jerky should be dried further. Properly dried jerky should be firm, not crisp. Good jerky will break, but not snap when bent. Drying times will vary based on several factors: the amount of jerky, relative humidity, and moisture content of the meat. Avoid storage in plastic containers or bags.