A food dehydrator is on my list of kitchen appliances I should never buy myself. Like its brother, the deep fat fryer, I know I'd just get carried away, dehydratin' and frying stuff left and right.
But, that doesn't mean I don't wanna create my own tasty and natural dried foods every once in a while...particularly: jerky. Of all kinds. So, I figured out a way to make some without any specialized tools.
Making jerky at home can seem quite complicated, and it can be if you don't follow the right steps. But, here's the ManMade guide, complete with everything you need to know. Grab pen and paper and meet us in the kitchen.
How To Make The Perfect Homemade Jerky
1. Choose THE BEST ingredients: that might sound quite obvious, but seriously, using high quality ingredients will make a huge difference. You'll be concentrating all the flavors, so they have to be delicious to start with. If you're using some sort of meat, choose one that's nice and clean and free of hormones (some places label their meat with this info). If you're going for fish, get a wild, fresh catch. For this guide we'll be using wild sockeye salmon.
2. Select your seasonings: figure out if you want it sweet or salty, spicy or mild and choose your seasonings accordingly. Remember that the flavours get enhanced as the jerky dries up, so keep that in mind and don't use something extremely strong or it'll be too overpowering. For this guide we are doing a spicy marinade.
3. Clean your meat / fish well: you can ask the clerk at the store to clean it for you or you can do it at home. Make sure your protein is free of any bones, cartilage, and chunks of fat.
4. Plan ahead: making jerky takes a bit of time as you need at least 12 hours to marinate the protein, plus cooking time.
5. Make a big batch: make more than enough! Remember that the protein will shrink as it dehydrates and you don't want to invest all this time to end up with 4 pieces of jerky.
RECIPE AND STEPS:
- A couple fillets of wild salmon (about 15oz each)
- Pinch of sea salt
- Couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- Couple dashes of Tabasco Sauce
- 1 tablespoon of Paprika
- 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon of honey
- Clean the fish and make sure there are no bones hidden in the skin. Also, remove the silvery flesh on top of the fillet as this will become tough when cooked, BUT leave the skin on, this one will get crunchy! Use a very sharp knife to slice the fillets as shown above (1/2 an inch max). Set aside.
- Mix rest of ingredients in a non-reactive bowl.
- Dunk the salmon in the marinade and coat all pieces. Leave marinating for at least 12 hours.
- After 12 hours or more have gone by, remove the salmon from the marinade, pat dry with a paper towel and lay flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon pad - as an extra precaution, rub some oil on the paper or pad 'cause it'll get sticky.
- Place in the oven at 200F and dehydrate for about 2-3 hours or until nice and crisp. Make sure to flip them half way through.
And that is all! Wasn't it easy? Dudes I'm serious, once you make your first batch you'll be addicted and you'll want to experiment with tons of seasonings. Jerky also happens to be the perfect drinking snack.
Remember, whether you use salmon or beef, the steps are the same!