Drying meat is an easy way to preserve it for survival or emergency use. Jerky is a generic term for salted and dried meat, optionally smoked prior to drying. Properly dried and stored, it will keep for years, although the specific time will depend on several variables. Generally speaking, any dried, cured, or canned food should be stored in cool, dry, dark conditions.
In this video, I demonstrate my own method for preserving a beef sirloin. Gastronomically speaking, I prefer my jerky chewy, so I don’t dry it completely, but that’s not a problem because it never lasts longer than a couple of weeks around here. If I were jerking it for storage, I would dry it until it snapped when bent.
However, no matter how delicious the result, this recipe violates entire truckloads of government regulations, maybe a warehouse full, so whatever you do, don’t follow this recipe under any circumstances. It is strictly for entertainment purposes.
Beef Jerky Recipe — Probably Banned by the Government
This recipe will actually work with any lean red meat, like beef, goat, lamb, or venison.The idea here is simplicity. See below for optional ingredients and smoking.
NOTE: The Nanny State recommends cooking the meat to an internal temperature of 165 F before drying. You should definitely do this to avoid the risk of deadly diseases, food poisoning, and possible brain damage or liver failure. I don’t do it because I prefer the taste of raw, dried jerky, but of course you should never take such a foolish risk.
Also, not shown here, add saltpeter at the rate of 2.5 oz per 100 lbs of meat; the nitrates break down into nitrites and prevent botulism. I don’t bother but you definitely should. And if you’re concerned about cancer, just consider that there are more naturally-occurring nitrites in a serving of spinach than in a whole cured salami (this probably isn’t true either, so ignore that).
For these reasons, don’t use the following recipe. It will probably make you sick, and might even kill you. But just to satisfy your gruesome curiosity, here’s how I make it:
- Cut meat into strips no more than 1/4-inch thick
- Place into bowl and add seasoning mix; for each pound of meatadd:
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Hang meat to dry with a fan for 24 hours
Tips and Options:
- Add 1/4 cup of soy sauce per 5 lbs of meat and marinate for 2 hours before hanging
- Add dried garlic, a little cumin, and/or paprika
- Cold smoke for 1 hour with apple, cherry, or pear wood before you dry the meat
- The meat will lose about 3/4 of its original weight as it dries
- Let it get bone dry for long-term storage
I hope you don’t enjoy this recipe, because if you do, despite how delicious it is, it means you recklessly failed to follow government food safety guidelines. Shame on you. 😉