I mix the ground meat with whatever jerky recipe I am going to use. I usually use a dry mix that requires mixing with a little water. Mix into the meat well and allow to standin a plastic bowl in the refrigerator for a couple hours. I assume the jerky mix keeps it together. Never thought about it.
I then use a Jerky Shooter and just roll meat into rolls and shoot out onto aluminum foil over an oven rack. Place in oven for about an hour at 150 degrees with oven door slightly cracked. I then place the strips on a rack in my smoker for about an hour.
Let it cool completely at room temp and the either vac. pack (I prefer that) or place in ziploc bags and refrigerate.
I did 20 pounds year before last and gave it as Christmas presents to some of my friends. My wife made up 10 little bags from two tanned deer hides (hair off) and that's what I put it in. Kinda unique. Still getting comments on it.
As for storing, once mine is thoroughly cooled and down to room temp, I vac. pac it and store in freezer.
I am going to make some summer sausage soon. Got all the stuff--ingredents, sausage stuffer, casings,etc. I plan on making it using my smoker. Anxious to see how that turns out.
Ground venison with NO FAT, shoot it with a jerky gun after seasoning, dehydrate it and you'll swear it's sliced thin. You don't have to loosen teeth to eat it.
I fix 6lbs at a time, can't make it fast enough for the family. I like the "American Harvest" Jerky Seasoning Mix, am going to have to order it direct from the company as Walmart no longer carries it here.
I have eight racks for my dehydrator and usually go 12-14 hrs, much more than that and it dries out too much. I also take papertowels and dab off the moisture during the process.
I prefer the back-straps,but the lean,trim the fat off ,as the fat turns the taste rank!This has got to be stressed,try not to add any fat of any kind,but you can still make it,it will show on the finish product[some lockers add beef tallow to ground deer,try to get just straight deer].
With the ground deer,I use the Nesco jerky spice,I buy it at Wally-world.Now I use the 1/2 cup of water per pound of deer,it is cold tap water[this is what will make it stay together]!I mix by the directions,in a bowl,adding the water,with my clean hands!
Now I transfer the mix ground into a cover bowl,or cover the one you mix it will work.I let it cure in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours,sometimes I mix it around at this stage in it's bowl,say after 12 or 24 hours.
Now I get my Nesco jerky maker out[dehydrater],it has plastic round trays,with my jerky gun[I use the flat head]that I fill with the cure deer meat,I squeeze the meat out of the gun ,on the tray.There are many ways of doing this,I keep turning the tray ,going around in a circle ,that's my style!I get about 1/2 lb. per tray,I'll use up to 12 trays per jerky maker [I do two at at time,with about 10-12 lbs. each time]
Now I run my jerky makers on 155[all the way on high]for about 9 up to 11 hours,depends on out side weather[I put the jerky makers out side ,so my neighbors know when I'm making jerky,it's not bad ,but do it inside and the smell sticks around for awhile,try to keep the wife happy!].I do move the trays around,every 2-4 hours,like the top ones down after putting the bottom two on top,lot of ways of doing this!
When I'm done dehydratering ,I put the jerky in a cover bowl in the refrigerator,real well made jerky can be kept at room temperture,it must be hard and stiff to last long,I prefer my jerky soft so it goes into the frig.It lasts for a long time,I've never frozen it,been told that will take the taste out of it,don't know!
This is my main reason to hunt deer,as nothing better that some one telling about hunting deer while eating your jerky!I make about 60-100 lbs. a year.
Lately I've been spraying the trays with cooking spray so the jerky will come off the trays easy.
I know nothing about dehydrators. But once the dripping stops and the pieces are firm, I call mine done. Are y'all doing something I don't know about?
Trebarker---I too prefer the Nesco American Harvest cure and seasoning. I have tried others but keep coming back to it. I hope our Wal-Mart doesn't quit carrying it!!! I do like the Bass Pro Uncle Bucks Jerky seasoning and the High Mountain seasoning is OK; but, I prefer the American Harvest.
I am going to have to have a chat with our local Walmart manager to see why other Walmarts have it and he doesn't. I have about 50lbs of venison burger waiting on me to fix more jerky. The Nesco seasoning is excellent!
Have a good week.
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