Welcome back! Let's talk about making jerky on a smoker!
First, you can use any meat you like, the methods are pretty transferable, just know that when I make jerky it's 99% goose! There's not many things you can do with goose so we like to turn it into jerky! Just know, that you can use deer roast, beef roast, even turkey breast, but we use goose, and special shout out to my brother Dave and father Mike for keeping our meat pantry stocked! Thank God it's goose season!!
Second, and my stick burning traditionalist friends might freak out here, but for jerky, there's really no substitute for a pellet smoker. Being able to hold a really low temperature is key here and temp fluctuation or burning too hot is going to yield a pretty nasty product. We're slowly drying out the meat, not cooking it essentially
We have the meats (we're not Arby's) we have the pit, lets talk marinade! This has been a closely guarded secret for years and a little hesitant of giving it out, but if you're going to go through the painstaking process of making jerky, I'd prefer you do it right... just maybe throw some props our way when your friends compliment you.
This amount of marinade is for one batch and designed for about 4lbs of meat.... Deep breath... ok, here it is.
4 Cups of Very Yeri Teriyaki (sesame seeds strained out)
2 Tablespoons granulated garlic
2 Tablespoons granulated onion
3 Tablespoons corse black pepper
3 Tablespoons crushed red pepper
1 Tablespoon Emerils essence (available at stores or make your own)
1 Tablespoon Tabasco
1 Tablespoon liquid smoke
1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning
Whisk and refrigerate
Next the meat, and this is where patience is a virtue and cutting corners will make all your efforts for not. Remember this is for goose, so substitute meat if you don't have any geese handy or don't have hunters i your family
Take a 1 gallon ziplock bag and stuff as much meat as you can and still be able to close it, then put it in the freezer. What this will do is give you a nice solid square hunk of meat that will be easier to work with
When it's frozen, take it out of the freezer and let it thaw just a little bit, the reason we do this is cutting frozen meats allow you to get a good blade on it and get thin slices. See picture here...
Now when these thaw they'll be smaller, random shapes, most big enough for the pit. What I like to do next is take a chefs mallet and pound the thicker ones even flatter
Using the cellophane is a nice trick and prevents you, your clothes, the ceiling and everywhere else from getting splattered with meat and turning the kitchen into a crime scene.
Now take either a really big ziplock, like the 2 gallon ones, or a large Tupperware with lid, add the meat, then a little marinade, add some more meat, little more marinade. Tossing together each time. Since the meat is cut so thin it will want to stick together, making some sides impervious from that awesome marinade you've made. So toss and add, toss and add until finished. Refrigerate for 2 days!
It may not be necessary to marinate that long if you're using beef, but if you're using deer, goose or any kind of wild game, two days is needed to get the gamey flavor out and the marinade in.
Now you're ready for the cook!! I like to use more mild pellets, pecan and cherry typically. If you traditionalists insist on using a stick burner that's fine, but you're going to want to keep the pit at a steady 180 degrees, if you can manage that on your smoker, that's the goal here. Set the pit for 180 and lay out each piece individually, not allowing the pieces to touch. Close up and walk away, typically takes about 4-5 hours per batch. Remember, we're not cooking, we're dehydrating
After about 3 hours go check on it, make sure nothings burning, no edges are getting crispy and after about 4 hours check and make sure the thicker ones aren't soft. You should be able to tell by the feel of it whether it's done or not. After all is said and done it should look like this....
Now here's the last little tip, and trust me it's worth it. Let it cool in a big dry bowl or something and then after about 30 minutes or so put it in a ziplock. Don't eat any yet. The main reason for that is this... once the jerky rests for a bit and cools down whatever moisture that is left in the meat wants to seep out, this is primarily the marinade, once it gets put in a ziplock it's allowed to sweat just a little bit and the outside of the jerky gets a delicious, almost candied glazing! NOW.... you can enjoy it!
One final tip.... This is pretty "all natural" I know the marinade isn't considered all natural or organic but what I mean by that is we don't put any added preservatives or curing agents in the marinade. This is healthier yes, but also means that this won't last as long as your typical bag of jerky. However... if history is any guide, it won't last very long once it's ready! If you're really concerned I'd say it'll last about 10 days to 2 weeks on it's own, not refrigerated. That's all for now, hopefully you'll enjoy the process as much as the final result! Please share and like our pages and if you have any questions feel free to contact us whenever you like, until then, Happy Cooking!!!