Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Making Homemade Beef/Turkey Jerky.....no, really!

I've kinda been neglecting my household chores while I've been in the garage working on projects.  Who needs clean laundry anyway?  Okay,....well, maybe we do need clean clothes!  So, I made the sacrifice today and did NOT even look at my on-going buffet project or any of the other fun stuff out there.  I spent most of the day doing laundry and housework and just plain relaxing.  It was actually nice to not get dirty today. 
However, I couldn't resist doing something while I was home today, so I headed into the kitchen to try my hand at making beef jerky!
Jerky Drying Pan & Rack...you could probably create your own
using any oven safe rack and a drip pan.
I know it may sound strange to some of you, but my son and I bought a jerky drying pan and spice kit last month.  I had a gift card for Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World (even if you are not an outdoor enthusiast...this store is pretty awesome!), so we went to spend it.  My 9-year old and I found an entire section dedicated to jerky-making materials. There is even such a thing as a "jerky gun"!  (It took some convincing for my son to believe that we should not purchase said "gun" until we decided that jerky-making was going to be a routine thing......don't know if I'll ever own a "jerky gun", but the idea is fun.)

So, here it is....our first attempt at homemade jerky:

The spice kit directions said to use extra lean meat.  So, I bought extra lean (96/4) ground beef and (93/7) ground turkey.  I was originally going to make a batch of turkey jerky and a batch of beef jerky, but then decided I might get a better flavor by combining the two meats.
Use extra lean meats!
We used Grandma LeMure's brand jerky mix.
Mixing the spices into the meats!
Then I went to work at making meatballs...I found that using my cookie scooper made the perfect size meatballs.

 
Then, I pressed each meatball between some plastic wrap and flattened them with my roller. The directions said to make them "thinner than 1/4 inch."


After rolling them out, each one was placed on the drying rack.  The kit said to place them in a 160 degree oven for approximately 4 hours.  I couldn't get my oven any lower than 170 degrees (and didn't feel like looking for the instruction manual to see if it went lower), so I went with it at 170.

After "drying" for 4 hours, it looked pretty good.  I think I made this first batch a little thin, so I did not roll out the second batch quite as much.  It is in the oven now.  We shall see if the thicker is better.

My son gave our homemade jerky his seal of approval and a thumbs up!  I think it tastes pretty good too.
For those of you who are following Weight Watchers Points Plus (like me), two pieces (I made 48 meatballs with 2 lbs of meat) is equivalent to only 1 point....not a bad protein snack, huh?