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How To Prepare Whole-Muscle Jerky

Select a fresh cut of meat with minimal marbling. Flank steak, top round or bottom round are good choices.x

Remove all visible fat from the surface of the meat as it has a tendency to turn rancid during long term storage.
3. Wrap the meat in cellophane and place in your freezer for an hour or so until it’s firm enough for easy slicing.
4. For a chewier, more traditional jerky, slice the meat with the grain as shown in the adjoining photo.

5. Slice the meat across the grain as you would when carving a roast if you prefer a less chewy jerky.

6. You can leave the slabs as is or slice them 1/4" (0.65 cm) thick x 1-2" (2.5-5 cm) wide x 6-10" x (15-25 cm) long.

7. It’s important to cut the meat to a uniform thickness so it will finish drying at about the same time.

8. Combine marinade ingredients with meat strips; making sure they are covered with liquid; refrigerate overnight.

9. Next day, arrange the meat strips on drying racks, leaving enough space to allow sufficient air circulation.

10. Dry meat strips at 145°F (63°C) for 7-12 hours. The finished jerky should bend or crack but not break when bent.

11. The hard work is done and it’s time to enjoy the finished product with your family and friends.
Bon appetite!

12. Store jerky in clean jars or plastic bags, checking frequently for mold. Or vacuum seal and freeze up to 1 year.

Safe handling Tips
With a growing interest in home jerky making, it becomes increasing important to practice precautionary safety measures . As previously stated, the hot pickle preparation method of precooking the meat to a temperature of 160° F (70°C) prior to drying, helps to provide protection against the survival of harmful bacteria.

But there’s also a number of other important safe handling and preparation practices you should be aware of as you enter into the exciting business of home jerky making. By adhering to these eight simple guidelines, you will have a leg up about the concerns of food safety, and know that the product you produce will be safe enough for your family and friends.

(1) Prior to making jerky, mix one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of cold water. Sanitize the entire work area (all surfaces that will come in contact with the meat), including bowls, tubs, measuring utensils, knives and cutting boards with the bleach mixture. Allow all working surfaces and equipment to air dry before using.

(2) Wash your hands in hot soapy water before and after handling any raw meat.

(3) Raw jerky meat should be stored at 36-40°F (2-4°C) prior to it being processed. Furthermore, double check the cooling unit to make certain it maintains a steady 36-40°F (2-4°C).

(4) Given the fact that bacteria grows rapidly above 40°F (4°C), frozen meat should be thawed slowly in a refrigerator or cooler and not at room temperature.

(5) When you marinade jerky meat it should be done in a controlled cooler or refrigerator between 36-40°F (2-4°C). Do not save or reuse jerky marinade once it has been used, doing so could prove deadly.

(6) To avoid food-borne illnesses, caused by Salmonella and E-coli bacteria, it’s important to cook, or dry, all jerky and snack stick products to 160°F (70°C). This includes wild game (deer, elk, moose, antelope, caribou and bear) as well as domestic meats such as beef, pork, lamb, poultry, etc.

(7) Make sure to use a reliable thermometer throughout the heating/drying process to ensure the meat reaches the correct internal temperature. The USDA recommends 160°F (70°C).

(8) The use of curing salt is vital to jerky making because it changes the osmotic pressure in the meat batter, which in turn inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. See more about cures on pages 44-46.