Back from the dead with something I made that is a bit out of the ordinary! Turkey Jerky! You might be thinking, I thought jerky was made out of beef and came in a plastic bag and costs way too much??? Well you’re wrong! You can make this delicious and surprisingly healthy snack at home!
Anyway, I am going to be going hiking in about a month, so I figured that I should try making some snacks that I can bring on the trail. Obviously we aren’t going to have refridgeration, so I needed something that wouldn’t go bad. I also wanted something with a bunch of protein in it, and turkey fits the bill.
Making sure your meat is sliced thin is very very important for making jerky. The idea of the process is that you’re drying out the meat at the same time you’re cooking it. The cooking process takes a few hours, two and a half for me, so you want to make sure your meat is thin so that you won’t end up with a raw center.
Another important aspect to successful jerky is minimizing the fat content in your meat. While fat normally will make meat juicy and tasty, it causes jerky to go rancid when not refrigerated. Turkey is sufficiently low in fat, and turkey breast has almost no fat in it which makes it an excellent cut for making jerky.
Now to the fun part: flavoring the meat. You can use pretty much any marinade you like, teriyaki, bbq, mustard, whatever you think will taste good! I put all of my turkey in a bowl and soaked it in a mixture of some things I thought would be delicious:
- Liquid smoke(gives it a delicious smoky flavor)
- Worchester Sauce(Still can’t pronounce this one)
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Garlic Powder
- Cayenne Pepper(Gave it a nice kick)
- A bit of lime juice
I let the turkey soak for about 24 hours to really get the flavors in there. Make sure you’re gonna have time to watch over the meat when you cook it, because this step will take a while. Heat your oven to as low as it will go, for me this was 200F. Dab your turkey try with a paper towel and arrange it on a wire rack like in the picture above. Once your rack is ready, stick it in the oven with all of the turkey hanging down. You’re gonna want to have a baking sheet underneath it to make sure they don’t drip all over everything. Oh and because my oven only got down to about 200F, I left the oven propped open about 7 inches. I think this helps the dehydration process by letting the air circulate. SCIENCE!
My jerky only took about 2 and a half hours to cook, but this is a rough estimate. I had to leave my apartment after 2 hours and 15 minutes so I closed the door and turned the oven off. When I left the jerky was cooked enough that it was edible, and when I got back around 4 hours later, it was tougher and had the exact consistancy that I was looking for. As you can see in the pictures, the jerky holds its shape well. You want it to be a bit chewy, but tough enough that you know it is cooked all the way through.
This turned out AMAZING! In my humble opinion. I seriously ended up eating the entire batch the next day. I’ll be making this more often, and if you like jerky, you should seriously try this out. Even if you don’t like it, you should try it out! And don’t be intimidated by the 2 hour cooking time, the actual active amount of time is probably all of 10-15 minutes, so it really isn’t much work. Try this out!