I did it! I made jerky!
It was a little touch and go there for a while. As per my earlier post, forgetting to cut up the meat before marinating was the first hiccup. Having NO idea how my dehydrator would work was another potential problem, but IT’S ALL OK! I HAVE JERKY! AND IT TASTES GOOD!
It took about 5 ½ hrs to dry the meat. I probably could have left it in another hour and if it was a larger batch that I was wanting to store for a few weeks or months, then I’d have made sure to get more moisture out of it. I rotated the racks several times to make sure there was even exposure to the hot air and I also tested the beef a few times (much to Jade’s delight when I ‘shared’) as I wanted to see how the texture was going. The jerky pulls apart quite easily and there is a subtle chilli and ginger flavour along with a hint of sweetness resulting from the maple syrup. Overall I’m really pleased with both the texture and flavour – they’ve far exceeded my highest expectations for my first go!
To be honest, I’m not a big red meat eater. While I do love a good steak occasionally, this is generally only if someone else has cooked it. There’s something about the smell of red meat as I’m cooking it that puts me off, no matter how wonderful the final product looks/tastes. The Crockpot/slow-cooker has been my saviour in this regard – while I find the initial smell somewhat revolting, by the time it’s actually ready, the scent of garlic, spices and stock has permeated to create a drool-worthy hunger-inducing aroma. What I like about jerky is also that dominance of spices; which is why I LOVE Biltong. I was introduced to this South African delight many years ago by a friend of mine whose family hails from that part of the world. The delicious combination of coriander seed, salt (and potentially a myriad of other spices depending on the cook) has several times left me with raw lips from an hour or so of chomping and chewing on a stick of desiccated goodness.
Unsurprisingly, Round 2 will feature the (hopefully) wonderful delight that is Biltong. Feel free to post via comment any Biltong recipes you recommend – I’ll be going with a primal-ised version of this one (substituting coconut sugar for brown sugar) otherwise. I’d also like to give kangaroo a go – it’s super lean and I can get nice long fillets that should dry into nice long sticks.