Cold smoked jerky

All of my jerky recipes normally ask for putting liquid smoke into the brine.  So in an experiment to make something a bit different I am going to brine the entire flank steak then use my cheese cold smoker and cold smoke it for two hours to add in the smoky flavor then slice and dry it.  I have never cold smoked meat so this by itself will be something new.  It is going to be a different brine also.

  • 4 lbs london broil beef or 4 lbs flank steaks
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, more if you like it hot
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s red-hot sauce

I am using hickory chips in my cold smoker to smoke the meat.  60 minutes per side of the beef, with a refill of the chips at the 60 minute mark.

Skirt steak layed out in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the cold smoker.  I am seeing how much smoke flavor I get if I smoke them whole then slice and put in the brine
Skirt steak layed out in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the cold smoker. I am seeing how much smoke flavor I get if I smoke them whole then slice and put in the brine after.
Brining marinade all mixed up and ready to have some sliced meat put in it.
Brining marinade all mixed up and ready to have some sliced meat put in it.
Sliced meat added to the brine.  After it is mixed up it is covered in plastic wrap an put in the fridge over night.
Sliced meat added to the brine. After it is mixed up it is covered in plastic wrap and put in the fridge over night.

The meat smelled nice and smokey while I was slicing it up.  Hopefully it will retain the smokiness tomorrow when I put it in the drier and finish it up.  So far it is very promising.  I have a 2nd batch brining also where I used liquid smoke in it.  This way I can compare the two.

Dark Beer Jerky recipe

With one batch done of basic jerky it is time to make a different variety. This one goes with all my stout cheeses that I like to make. Beer marinated jerky! I always do the same type of jerky and need some variety.

  • 2 pounds beef cut into strips
  • 2 C Stout beer of choice (Black butte porter from Deschutes brewery)
  • 1 C Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 C soy sauce
  • 1/4 C molasses
  • 1/4 brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 bottle Tiger Sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic (rough mince)
  • 2 Tbl dried onion
  • 1/2 C granulated garlic

Mix up marinade and pour over sliced beef. Seal and refrigerate for 24-48 hours. Then dehydrate as per instructions from manufacturer. For me this will be about 24 hours. I hope this one comes out well. I have never tried this recipe before. I think my next batch will be hot and spicy. Maybe with some Frank’s hot sauce.

Homemade Jerky

With hiking and fishing season starting it is nice to have a good high protean snack to take along with you. And it is a good survival food to know how to make. In the most basic form jerky is lean salted meat that has been air-dried. In the olden times many a traveler would put meat under the saddle of their horse as they traveled. The salt from the horse sweating was enough to preserve the meat for a short period of time. Since I don’t have a horse or a reason to ride around the countryside I use two different types of salt to make my jerky. It is plain salt or soy sauce. Soy sauce has more than enough salt in it to provide all you need.

For this recipe I am using soy sauce as the salt source for this batch of jerky. Jerky is extremely easy to make with little effort. The main thing you want in making jerky is a good quality lean meat. This same recipe works great with wild game also. This recipe is for two pounds of meat. You can increase the amount if you want to do more at a time. This is about all that my dehydrator will hold also. After you get your meat cut it across the grain into strips about 1/4 inch thick. If you do not cut it across the grain it will make it much chewier. I don’t like mine to take 30 minutes to chew one piece. Put all of your sliced meat into a glass or ceramic bowl. Do not use metal because the marinade will dissolve some of the metal and change the taste of the meat. This is true with almost all marinades.

marinade :

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • and a little water to cover the meat

Mix up the marinade and pour over the sliced meat. Mix up well then add as much water as you need to just get to the top of the meat. For this batch it was only 1 cup of water.

Meat sliced up and marinade added
Meat sliced up and marinade added

Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight. Drain and pat dry the meat after it has marinated, Then lay the strips out in a single layer and let dry in the dehydrator until the meat bends but doesn’t break. In mine this takes about 24 hours. After it is done let cool back off and put into ziplock bags. If you are not eating it within a week or two you can put it in the freezer. With little to no water or fat in the meat it will last a long time before it goes bad. I tend to eat it quickly so none of mine lasts more than a month before I have to make more.

How to make Pemmican

This may be not be the healthiest food that you can eat (and it is sooo not). But it is a great high energy food to carry with you on long strenuous hikes.  Pemmican is a Native American Indian survival food that has an incredibly long shelf life, and it requires no refrigeration storage. It is similar to a Granola Bar except it contains no artificial preservatives. It is a high density energy source that contains protein, fiber, fat, carbohydrates, natural fruit sugars, vitamins, and minerals. It also tastes great because it is a simple combination of meat jerky and your favorite dried fruit.

There are three basic ingredients to making pemmican.  Lean dried meat, Animal fat, Dried fruit or berries.  Yep that’s all it takes to make it.

Small generic batch recipe:

  • 1 cup lean dried meat.  You can use any wild game meat and most domestic.  I do not recommend pork due to the problems of actually getting a lean cut of meat from it to make into jerky.
  • 1 cup dried berries or dried fruit
  • 1 cup rendered animal fat.  You can actually use the fat you drain from hamburger and bacon for this.  If you do make sure you heat it up to the point that all the water has evaporated from the grease and you filter it to clean it up.

If you plan on doing everything from scratch it will cost less in the long run, but it increases the time it takes to make a batch.  Even though it takes a while to make your own jerky you will at least know exactly what is on it.  A lot of commercial varieties have way to much preservatives in it for me.  Same goes for the dried fruit and berries from the store.

Take the meat and berries and grind them as close to a powder as you can make it.  Place them on a cookie sheet and put in the oven at 250 degrees for 30 minutes just to make sure there is no moisture at all left in them.  Any dampness before you add the fat into can cause it to go bad and make you sick.  Mix the two in a bowl and add a pinch of salt if you want to for taste.  It is not necessary to use salt to preserve it but it will give a better flavor to your mix.  Now add your cup of melted fat to the dried ingredients and mix. Next spread the mix out on a cutting board to a thickness of about ½ inch.  Then let cool completely and cut into 1”x 4” bars.

Store you finished pemmican in plastic wrap or in an air tight container.  Your pemmican can be safely stored and eaten for up to 8 months.  If you can keep it stored between 45-75 degrees it can last for several years.

My personal recipe

  • 1 cup venison jerky
  • 1 cup dried salal berries
  • 1 cup bacon grease(I love me some bacon)