I love making jerky on my Nesco Snackmaster Pro. I’ve been using ground top round for my ground beef jerky, but any lean ground meat will work. I tend to prefer jerky with a lot of flavor. I’m not really into mellow jerky. Which is why I enjoyed the heck out of this Cracked Pepper N’ Garlic jerky made using a seasoning from Hi Mountain that I picked up at our nearby Cabela’s. The jerky is definitely peppery (I used more seasoning than the package calls for because hey, like I said, I like my jerky to be packed with flavor!) with a nice hint of garlic that isn’t overwhelming. It’s a really, really tasty jerky that you’ll enjoy more than you may want (so make a double batch!).
I grind my meat using my own grinder, but if you’re friends with your butcher (and you should be), you can get him to trim and grind it for you. Or if you prefer sliced jerky, your butcher can do that for you too. That’s why they’re there. Getting to know your butcher is a really good idea, so take the time to say ‘hi’ even if you don’t need anything from him or her the next time you see them.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 heaping tablespoon Hi Mountain Cracked Pepper N' Garlic Jerky Seasoning, see my note below
- 2 teaspoons curing salt (comes with the seasoning) (optional if you're going to refrigerate the finished product)
- 1/4 cup water
- NOTE: I personally feel that the flavor is too mellow when mixing per the package instructions, 2 1/2 teaspoons per pound. I use a heaping tablespoon. You may want to first make a pound per the package instructions and see if you want a stronger flavor.
- Place beef in a resealable bag or container.
- Place meat, seasoning, curing salt and water into a mixer and mix for 5 minutes.
- Transfer meat to a resealable container or bag and refrigerate for up to 8 hours, massaging every hour or so to get the marinade distributed and absorbed evenly.
- Remove meat from the marinade. Add to a jerky gun and squeeze out onto Nesco trays.
- Add the dehydrator top, set to maximum temperature setting and dehydrate for 5 hours, rotating the trays (bottom to top) every 2 hours or so.
- To test for doneness remove a piece and let cool slightly. Try to bend the meat. If it gives and starts to tear at the bend it is done. If it bends without tearing return to the dehydrator and let it run another 15 minutes and test again. If the meat is crunchy it is overdone but still good. It's really personal preference as to how you like your jerky. Soft, chewy, crunchy. There's no wrong here.
- Let cool before storing in an airtight container.