Peppered beef jerky recipe

With all of the delicious recipes for Beef jerky that are floating around it is difficult to just stick with a single recipe to use.  Some are dried in the oven, some in a dehydrator, and some are smoked dried.  For this recipe I am going to do a side by side comparison and do half in my electric smoker and half in my dehydrator.  I tend to just do all of it in the dehydrator normally, and add a little smoke flavoring to the brine.  This is my all time favorite recipe for making jerky.  It does have some curing salt in it so anyone that is concerned about having nitrates they can leave it out.  It doesn’t change the flavor of the jerky but does make it last longer if you plan on multi-day trips.  The sodium nitrate in it helps prevent the growth of bacteria. This recipe is set for only one pound of meat but can easily be scaled up as needed.  The amount of curing salt will seem high to anyone that has experience in curing meats, but since this is a brine recipe more is needed.

Peppered jerky recipe
Kayla is ready with all the ingredients to make some jerky

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 lb of lean beef (any lean wild game can be used also)

Marinade:

  • 1 1/2 tsp of pickling salt (or any salt without added iodine)
  • 1/4 tsp Prague Powder #1 (I added a link here since I have never seen this sold locally)
  • 1/4 tsp ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (mesquite or hickory work well)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground back pepper (if you would like a stronger kick feel free to add more)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water

how to put it all together for delicious jerky:

  1. Make sure you trim all visible fat from your meat. if anything goes bad first it meat with a high fat content that goes rancid.
  2. Mix ingredients for marinade together in a glass bowl or plastic container.  Most marinades are acidic and will start breaking down a metal bowl (and aluminum is a very bad thing to eat)
  3. Cut meat into strips going with the grain.  You can cut it against the grain but it tends to break and get very crumbly.  the strips should be about 1/4 inch thick.  any bigger and it takes longer to dry.
  4. Marinade for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator.  I normally just leave it in over night so around 12ish hours
  5. Finally dry for around 7 hours at 160 degrees in a dehydrator.  For the half I put into the smoker it took 10 hours to finish.
Dried beef jerky
Lay the thinly sliced beef out flat on the racks
Dried beef jerky
The two different ways to dry the jerky made for different texture and color. The top one is from the dehydrator and the bottom from the smoker. Both taste great but also not even close to the same taste or texture

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Jamacian jerk smoked chicken legs

Time for more smoked goodness.  The whole chickens I made last time were delicious, but the chicken breasts didn’t have as much flavor as I was hoping.  So this time I decided to just smoke some chicken legs.  They remind me of making large hot wings.  The original  recipe for this calls for Habanero peppers.  Which would have put them just the way I like them to eat but for all the others in my family they would be too hot.  The jalapeno and Serrano’s made it just right.  They have a nice tingle but don’t make everyone run for a glass of milk

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 Serrano peppers
  • 2 lime, juiced
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon dried thyme ( you can use fresh if you have it)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 pounds chicken legs
  • 1 onion cut into chunks

Use a food processor or blender to make a puree of the ingredients (minus the chicken).  If the mix is to thick add a little water to it.  Pour the puree over the chicken legs and let marinate for 6 hours or more in the refrigerator. Next preheat the smoker (I use Mastercraft Electronic smoker) to 275 and cook them for 60-90 minutes or until the interior of a leg is up to 160 degrees.

Mastercraft Electronic smoker
Chicken legs all seasoned and going into the heated smoker

Mastercraft Electronic smoker
smoked and all ready to eat. Eating them the next day was actually tastier than fresh out of the smoker.

I like the flavor of these but I think a buffalo style smoked chicken leg would be even better.

 

For other smoker recipes and general recipes you can visit the recipe page

 

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Rosemary smoked chicken

Mastercraft Electric smoker
Finished to perfection

Dinner for today will be something new in the smoker.  I wanted to try smoking a whole chicken in the smoker (since they were on sale it is two chickens).  This is an adaption of a recipe by Bobby Flay for his Tuscan rosemary smoked chicken.  He has some of the best smoked recipes out there. The first thing you do with the chicken is to prepare a brine for them

Brine mix:

  • 4 chicken bullion cubes or 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup non-iodized salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 10 sprigs of fresh rosemary(mine were about 3-4 inches long)
  • 1 head of garlic diced/crushed

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, and add in all the brine ingredients.  Make sure all of the salt, honey and sugar are dissolved, then remove from heat.  Add in some ice to bring the brine down to room temperature. Pour into a container and refrigerate for 3 hours.  I put mine in a small cooler and added extra ice to keep it cold while it brined.  For a crispy skin rinse dry and let air dry in your refrigerator for 2 hours.  I am not a skin fan so I did not let mine dry before putting into the smoker.  Right before you put the chicken in the smoker rub them with oil.  Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees and then cook for 1.5-3 hours depending on how big the chicken is.  Mine went the full 3 hours.  The wood for smoking is hickory and rosemary stem mixed together.

Mastercraft Electric smoker
After the first batch of wood chips. Already turning color on the skin.

 

Delicious chicken for tonight’s dinner.

To go to the recipes page please click the link

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Smoked trout

Today’s delicious project is smoking up all the fish I have caught this year.  It has not been my most successful fishing year since I had to save them up until I had enough to actually fill up most of the smoker.  I need to go kokanee fishing in a lake that has more fish in them.  Also for this smoke batch I have a Northern Whitefish to smoke. This is a fish that I have never smoked but is supposed to be great smoked.  I am doing a basic sugar brine on these like what we used when I was a kid in Alaska on salmon

brine mix:

  • 1/2 gallon of water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Brine the trout/kokanee/whitefish for 75 minutes then let dry on a rack to form a pellicle (hard glaze coating) for an hour or so.  Then on to smoking.  They are then smoked at 190 degrees from 90 minutes or until the meat will flake easily and the interior of the fish reaches 140 degrees.  I am using an electric smoker for them so I can control the smoke and temperature more easily.

trout and whitefish on the racks drying to form a pellicle
trout and whitefish on the racks drying to form a pellicle

 

NIcely smoked whitefish
Nicely smoked whitefish

The whitefish is nice and flaky.  Great flavor to it.  I will need to go catch some more.  They are easy to catch and there are lots and lots of them all over central Oregon.

Smoked kokanee look delicious
Smoked kokanee look delicious

Delicious comes to mind when I tasted them out of the smoker.  Now I will need to catch more fish to smoke sense these will disappear quickly.  Maybe i will try to smoke some bluegill or crappie if I can catch some.

Slow cooker pacific mussels and sausage chowder

There are many types of chowder in the world and even more variations of chowder recipes. Over the centuries if it is from the ocean then some one has probably made chowder out of it. After my last trip to the coast to forage I didn’t get any clams but I did get a nice bucket of fresh mussels. Which make a perfect chowder. The only thing that tends to throw people off about using mussels is that instead of the normal white of clams these are an orange color. Using a slow cooker for this makes the mussels nice and tender and delicious.

Tasty bowl of chowder with mussels and sausage.
Tasty bowl of chowder with mussels and sausage.

ingredients:

  • 8 oz chopped mussels
  • 4 sliced chicken sausages
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 6 to 8 medium potatoes
  • 3 c. water
  • 3 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 4 c. half and half cream or milk
  • 3 to 4 tbsp. cornstarch or (instant potatoes)

If you are using fresh mussels like I am you will need to steam them open and then cut them up. Also be careful of the occasional pearl. All of the ones that I have found were small but they would still have chipped a tooth. Cut the mussels into bite-sized pieces after removing them from the shell if they are large. In a skillet, saute sausage and onion until golden brown; drain. Put into slow cooker with mussels. Add all remaining ingredients, except milk and cornstarch. Cover and cook on high 3 to 4 hours or until vegetables are tender. During the last hour of cooking, combine 1 cup of milk with the cornstarch. Add cornstarch mixture and the remaining milk and stir well; heat through.

A link to my handy slowcooker

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Garlic mussels with Yakisoba noodles

Tasty and healthy stir fry of mussels, bok choy, and noodles.
Tasty and healthy stir fry of mussels, bok choy, and noodles.

Once more I have a nice amount of wild harvested mussels to something with.  These are a different type than the bay mussels I harvested last time.  These are the California mussels that live along rocky outcrops all over any rocky habitat throughout the Oregon coast.  And I found a bonus in these mussels.  There were several small pearls that I found while cleaning them.

Lots of mini pearls that were embedded in the mussels.
Lots of mini pearls that were embedded in the mussels.

They are not very big, but it was fun to find them.  For this batch of mussels I am going to stir fry them with some veggies and Yakisoba noodles.  Stir frying is a very quick and easy way to make a quick meal.  The noodles are already cooked so they just need to be warmed up.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of yakisoba noodles
  • 2 cups fresh bok choy
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 8 oz cooked and shelled mussels
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or oil of choice
  1. Saute the garlic in the oil until it just starts to change color
  2. Add in the bok choy and bean sprouts and cook for 2-5 minutes at medium heat or until they are almost cooked
  3. Add in the yakisoba noodles and mussels, then cook until heated completely.  This usually only takes a couple minutes
  4. At this point you can add in any sauce that you like for flavoring.  I am just adding a light soy sauce to the mix.

Mussels with pesto

Mussels and pesto blending together
Mussels and pesto blending together

Yesterday day was a great day of fun and sun at the beach.  And the perfect low tide to pick a limit of bay mussels of the jetty.  The only thing about getting mussels off the jetty is that they tend to be on the small size.  The largest one that I found was about 4 inches.  The average was just over 2 inches.  With all these delicious mussels I decided that mixing them in with some pesto would make for a great dinner tonight.  That and it’s a very simple recipe.  This will make two servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb cooked and shelled mussels
  • 2 ounces pesto
  • 4 ounces dried pasta of choice

Cook up your pasta as per directions and drain.  While the pasta is cooking warm up the mussels with the pesto in a large saute pan.  add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat the noodles evenly with the pesto.  pour into bowls and enjoy.

All blended into a bowl of delicious delights
All blended into a bowl of delicious delights

Egg and ham breakfast squares

Nice tasty square of eggy goodness
Nice tasty square of eggy goodness

I have been looking for something I can make on the weekend to have for a quick breakfast meal before work that is fairly well-balanced.  This is also an attempt to include more vegetables into my diet.  I am not a big fan any vegetable, but I need to eat some to improve my diet.

ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 8 ounces ham
  • 1 cup cooked grits

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and then pour into an oiled 9×9 pan and cook at 375F for 30-40 minutes.  Then cut into the size you want to eat them in.  If cut into 9 servings it is 131 calories per section.  After it is cooled you can store in the refrigerator or freeze the sections for later.  Then when you want one just put in the microwave to warm up. You can also pour the mix into cupcake tins and make them a more individual type meal.

Wheat bread with acorn flour

Not the largest loaf of bread but it smells great.
Not the largest loaf of bread but it smells great.

If you can’t tell I am trying to incorporate acorn flour into a lot of my recipes.  This recipe is from an old healthy eating cook book I have had for a long while.  It is not 100% whole wheat since that would be hard as a rock and very very dense.  But it is still a good bread.

ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 pkg dry active yeast or equivalent
  • 1 cup warm water.  It needs to be around 120F .
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp cooking oil (you can substitute in applesauce)
  • 1/2 cup acorn flour

what to do:

  1. in a medium bowl combine 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, rolled oats, yeast, oil, and honey.  Mix until all of it is incorporated all together.  Then mix in the wheat flour, acorn flour, and as much of the remaining all-purpose flour as you can.
  2. on a lightly floured surface knead in as much of the remaining flour as you can and continue to knead for 6-8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Then lightly spray your bowl with oil and put your ball of dough into the middle and let rise until it is doubled in size. This will take about an hour
  3. punch down when doubled and let rest for 10 minutes.  While it is resting spray a loaf pan with non stick oil.  After 10 minutes shape the dough into a loaf shape and put in pan and then let double in size in the pan.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375F and bake your loaf for 30-35 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you tap it.  Put it on a cooling rack and eat when it cools down.

According to the recipe before you add in the acorn flour it is 84 calories per slice if you cut it into 16 slices.  With the acorn flour it will bump it up 20-30 calories per slice.  Acorn flour will give it a nice protein and fat boost to make a well-rounded type of bread

Bannock with acorn flour

Today is recipe day since it is cold, wet, and icy outside.  Bannock is a great easy flat bread to make at home or on a grill while camping.  The dry ingredients can be mixed up ahead of time then all you need to do is add the water and butter to it.  There are huge variations to recipes for making Bannock.  I decided to add in some of my acorn flour to see how this would turn out. I haven’t tried nearly enough recipes with all the flour I made in the fall.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour. ( a great variety is to add half as oat flour.)
  • 1 cup acorn flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup water (adding whey instead of water makes it very soft and fluffy)

Measure flours, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir to mix. Pour melted butter and water over flour mixture. Stir with fork to make a ball.  Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface, and knead gently about 10 times. Pat into a flat circle 3/4 to 1 inch thick.  Cook in a greased frying pan over medium heat, allowing about 15 minutes for each side. Use two lifters for easy turning. May also be baked on a greased baking sheet at 350 degrees F  for 25 to 30 minutes.

I am baking it this time.  I rolled them into balls then flattened them out to about hamburger sized patties.
I am baking it this time. I rolled them into balls then flattened them out to about hamburger sized patties. These will be my bread for lunches for the week.

They don't cook up very thick but once they cool they are easy to slice for sandwiches
They don’t cook up very thick but once they cool they are easy to slice for sandwiches

 

If you want to give it a nice twist while camping you can form the dough into cigar shapes then twist them around a green branch and roast them over a campfire.  It makes for a nice change from marshmallows and hot dogs