Monday, 7 November 2011

What is Jerky? Give a recipe for Homemade Jerky.

JERKY is a method that is used to preserve meat, poultry or fish for a long time.  It is a method whereby these products are cut into thin strips which are then dried out to kill the bacteria present in these meats.  This method is used for preservation of meats for consumption at some later time.  Salt is the main ingredient used to make jerky and to preserve it.  Also, along with salt various other ingredients can be used such as herbs, vinegar or citrus juice, which when added, enhance the flavor of the jerky.

A jerky is the most favored food for travelers, hikers or campers as it is light to carry as well as non-perishable.  It also contains high-protein, which is required by adventure sportsmen to sustain their strength throughout the journey.

Jerky is available in a number of flavors as well as constitutes different meats such as beef, lamb, fish or pork.  These are available off the rack in many supermarkets or stores.  Homemade Jerky is also used by many as it saves money as well as one can control the ingredients which are used while making it.

There are various drying methods which are used for making a jerky.  These drying methods are –
Sun-dry – It is the most traditional method of drying a Jerky.  But nowadays it is not recommended as it is time consuming as well as unhygienic.  The process takes a lot of time and has to be heavily salted or else there is risk of food poisoning.  Also, this method can only be used in regions where the climate is dry and sunny.
Oven-drying – This is the most common method of drying a Jerky.  Ovens are a great choice for drying.  But there are certain precautions to be taken – see to it that the temperature is at a low when setting up the jerky.  Also see to it that the oven is ventilated to encourage air circulation.

Other methods of drying that can be used are –
But, these are not recommended as they have to be maintained at a constant temperature and many a times the jerky gets undercooked or burned which may spoil the main concept of drying.

Recipe for Homemade Beef Jerky

2 pounds of strip loin
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup salt
1 tbsp grounded black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder

Directions –
·        Place beef in freezer for 45 minutes until it is firm, but not frozen.  Cut this beef into thin strips.
·        Make a mixture of vinegar, sugar, water (2 cups), salt and half of pepper, chili and onion powder and then marinate the beef in the mixture overnight.
·        Pat the beef with the remaining pepper, onion and chili powder.
·        Heat the oven to 150 F and place beef on the rack over a sheet.  Cook for 8 hours.  Let the beef dry out and then let it cool.
·        Place in a plastic bag.  Your Jerky is now ready.

This jerky can be used for upto 3 weeks.

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