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How To Make Beef/Deer Jerky at Home

Jerky is great for camping, great for backpacking, and great for anytime healthy snacking!

AC Legg & Ask The Meatmans' Own
Beef/Deer Jerky Seasonings

All of our Jerky Seasonings are shipped FREE in the U.S.!
Each Bag Will Season 25 Lbs. of Jerky Meat

AC Legg
Beef/Deer JERKY
Seasonings

 

Legg's exclusive high-barrier, multi-wall packaging protects the seasoning's freshness and flavor for at least 12 months.

  • Quality
    Legg's "Old Plantation" Seasonings are custom blended from only the finest spices available, to insure that your finished product has the taste tempting flavor that you demand.

  • Consistency
    At A C Legg, their raw spices and finished spice products are constantly being monitored to assure you of uniformity and consistency - order by order, year after year.

  • Service
    A C Legg has enjoyed over
    80 years of success in the spice business. Their people are unequalled in expertise and competence.

The seasoning blends in this section are designed as a fresh sausage. This means they do not contain any of the binding ingredients used in a cooked or smoked sausage.  They DO NOT require a meat cure (like Speed Cure). These items can be stuffed into Natural Hog Casings
or made into patties.

Special Price - 3 Bags of AC Legg Jerky Seasoning.  1 Bag Traditional AC Legg Jerky Seasoning, 1 Bag Peppered AC Legg Jerky Seasoning and 1 Bag Cajun AC Legg Jerky Seasoning. Special Sale!
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Our How To Make Deer Sausage,
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How To Make Deer Sausage, Deer Snack Sticks and Deer Jerky DVD!!

[This DVD work equally well in making Smoked Beef Sausage, Beef Snack Sticks and Beef Jerky.  It is exactly the same process!  Just substitute lean beef or beef strips where the DVD uses lean deer or deer strips.]

This DVD is 1 HOUR & 26 minutes LONG!

This DVD+ Format and will play on most DVD Players!  Recorded on February 20, 2006.

This is an instructional DVD detailing the process of making Smoked, Ready-To-Eat Deer Sausage, Deer Snack Sticks and Deer Jerky. We show how to mix, stuff and smoked Deer Sausage and Deer Snack Sticks.

Follow along as we demonstrate how to mix deer and pork, season it, stuff it, and smoke it in a smokehouse.  We charge $2.66/lb to make Deer Sausage, $6.00/lb to make Deer Snack Sticks, and $14.00/lb to make Deer Jerky!  With the use of this video, hunters can spend a fraction of this cost to make their own delicious, home made Deer Sausage, Deer Snack Sticks and Deer Jerky!

This will be an excellent value year after year!

Making beef jerky is the same process used in making deer jerky in this DVD!

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The following guidelines were written using  beef as the "main" ingredient.
These guidelines work equally well with deer.
 Click here to view our "How To Make Deer Jerky" Page.

The best beef cut to use in making jerky is beef top round.

Look for a freshly cut top round roast at your grocery store or butcher shop and ask the meat cutter to slice the roast 1/4 of an inch thick.

(They may charge 10 to 25 cents a pound to do this, but it is well, well worth the money!)

We'll start with some of the basics first, then get into the actual recipe.
(And I know of a least 50 different recipes for making beef  jerky, so I will just give you a basic one to start with. You can add or subtract many of the ingredients as you experiment.

 

1.     I'll be talking about making "whole muscle" Beef jerky. This is not the same as ground and formed or hamburger type jerky.  We only use Beef Top Round to make our Beef Jerky.  We feel that it is the best cut for jerky.  Below is a photo of a Beef Top Round.  Click on the photo to enlarge.

2 pieces of Beef Top Round used to make Beef Jerky.  Click on the photo to enlarge.

2.     If you don't have some kind of mechanical slicer, I suggest you buy one or take the beef top round to a butcher shop for slicing. Rival and Chefs' Choice are two companies who make food slicers for retail sale.

The reason why you need one? To make really good jerky, the jerky meat needs to be the same thickness throughout the meat, one-fourth of an inch thick is standard.
It is impossible to cut the top round by hand consistently at one-fourth of an inch. Below is a photo of Beef Top Round sliced 1/4 inch thick.

 Sliced beef top round (1/4 inch thick) used to make beef jerky.

Here's a good tip: freeze the top round about one hour in your freezer before slicing, this will make it easier to slice!

I personally slice the meat across the grain. I think this is about 50/50 in the real world. Half the people say to slice it with the grain, the other half against the grain.

I've done it both ways many, many times, and it seems that if you slice against the grain, the jerky is not so hard to chew when it is dried. (And for people with bad teeth, like me, that is worth trying slicing against the grain!)

3.      I always use a rub for my "cure" for deer or beef jerky. Some people use some type of liquid, such as soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce, but I think the jerky tastes better without liquid. This is because you are trying to remove all of the moisture out of the meat when you make jerky, so why add extra to it.
4.   As for as what seasonings to use?  I use the the AC Legg packaged jerky seasoning or one of the other flavors we have.
5.   Sodium nitrite, (also called Speed Cure, Quick Cure or InstaCure), is used VERY sparingly. The recommendation from the government is 6.25%. This breaks down to 4 oz. per 100 lbs, or 1 oz. per 25 lbs.

 Some people don't use Sodium nitrite to make their jerky, but I HIGHLY recommend to for food safety. (A close approximation would be 1 tsp. per 5 lbs. of meat.)

6.   I sprinkle the seasoning on both sides of each jerky strip. (Sorry, but I still just "eyeball" this, so I can't give you any exact measurements.)  Below is a photo of the strips of Beef Top Round being seasoned.

Sprinkling the Jerky Seasoning on the sliced beef top round.  Make sure to sprinkle the jerky seasoning on both sides of the meat.  Sprinkle to taste.  It might take some experimenting to find the exact amount to use for your personal taste.

I place the seasoned jerky strips in a plastic container, cover with a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap loosely, and place in the "refrigerator" for 15 hours.
(I don't recommend over 24 hours, I think this makes the meat mushy and less flavorful.)

7.   I then lay the jerky strips on stainless steel screens in my smokehouse for 6 to 6 1/2  hours at 150 to 165 degrees. Place the slices close together, but not touching or overlapping.

We smoke/dry the beef jerky in a smokehouse.  Here is photo of the jerky laying on screens in the smokehouse.  Click on the photo to enlarge.

 You can also hang the jerky strips on bacon hangers and place them in the smokehouse.  We use hickory sawdust to smoke our jerky with (except the Mesquite Flavored Jerky - with it we use mesquite chips), although other types of wood can be used to smoke jerky with. 

 [If you don't have a smoker or smokehouse, a close approximation to this would be place in your oven for about the same time and temp., and remember to leave the oven door slightly open.
This helps in moving air over the strips and drying the meat. You can then use a dry smoke flavor seasoning mixed in with your jerky seasoning rub to give it a smoke flavor.]

Meat Smoking and Smokehouse Design Book for ONLY $21.97 - Shipped FREE in the U.S.!  308 Pages Long

8.   Dry until a piece of jerky cracks but does not break when it is bent. This is when the jerky is done.  Properly dried jerky is chewy and leathery. It will be as brittle as a green stick, but won’t snap like a dry stick.

 To test for the jerky for the proper dryness, remove a strip from the oven or dehydrator. Let it cool slightly, then bend the jerky; it should crack, but not break.

If you are looking for a more "precise" way to test for when your Beef Jerky is done, you can use a Surface reading infrared thermometer.  For our customers who are looking for an Infrared Thermometer to check the surface temperature of their Jerky, we highly recommend the Fluke FoodPro.  We have been using this Infrared Thermometer for the last 3 years and have never had a problem with it - and we are rather "rough" on our thermometers!  We recommend smoking/drying your Beef or Deer Jerky until the surface temperature reads 165 degrees. 
This is the safe temperature recommended by the FSIS. And do not let the Jerky get any higher than this are your Jerky will come out VERY brittle!
You can order one from Amazon from the link below.

9.   For best results, to increase shelf life and maintain best flavor and quality,  freeze the jerky, vacuum package it in vacuum bags made specifically for food storage (not zip-loc bags) and place a packet of oxygen absorbers in the bag.  (We use oxygen absorbers.)  Label and date the jerky packages.

 Oxygen absorber are very cheap and well worth their price for the safety minded. Below is a link to Amazon where you can place an order.  We use 2 of these oxygen absorber per vacuum bag with 1 lb. of Jerky in the vacuum bag.
These exact same oxygen absorbers we use when packaging our Beef Jerky.
That's about it. If you make a larger batch of jerky seasoning, you can easily and safely freeze what you won't eat in the immediate future. It will last over a year easily.

Below is a picture of our Beef Jerky made with the "Recipe" above. Click on the picture to see a larger view.

Here is the finished beef jerky.  Delicious and ready to eat!  Click on the photo to enlarge.

 

If you found this page interesting, you may also want to look at the following pages:

Kobe Beef

London Broil

Chateaubriand

Beef Marinade

Tri Tip

Filet Mignon

Beef Brisket

Flat Iron Steak

 

Ask The Meatmans' Hot Teriyaki Seasoning


According to a study published by the American Medical Association, E.Coli can survive drying times of up to 10 hours and temperatures of up to 145 F.  It is recommended that venison (and beef) being dried for jerky should be precooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 F. 
 

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Last Updated:  Monday, March 31, 2014 02:58 PM

 



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