A spot of dehydrating and a minced beef jerky recipe

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Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
Afternoon all, hope everyone is having a great sunny bank holiday.

In between making use of the gorgeous weather I have been filming a short series on dehydrating food for camp meals at the request of a subscriber.

Minced/ground beef, onion, peppers and mushrooms all ready to be vacuum sealed.

Also tried minced beef jerky for the first time and can’t rate it highly enough (especially with ground cashews added in), full of protein and a much cheaper alternative to beef steaks or joints that I wish I had known about sooner.

Anyway I thought I would share my recipe for any, like me, who seem to have missed the memo on this especially considering how simple it is.

To start take some lean minced beef (mine was 5% fat) and combine it with your preferred flavours.
I went with salt/pepper, powdered garlic, powdered onion, smoked paprika and some knorr meat seasoning I had in the cupboard - I went with dry seasonings but you could easily add liquid smoke, soy sauce etc...
Work it in really well and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to seep into the meat - I added some crushed cashews to the last quarter of my mix for extra protein and honestly wish I had done it for the whole lot.

Next take small handfuls and form a sausage shape then flatten on a chopping board to make ribbons about a half inch thick or just over a centimetre in new money, mine were quite wide so a cut them into smaller strips.


Lay out on your dehydrator trays (mine was a cheapy from amazon that has no temp control and runs at a constant 70’ish degrees and being honest it’s never done me wrong) and run for about 8 hours or until completely dry - I usually let mine run overnight as I am looking to completely dry it out for storage but you can reduce the time if you want it a little bit moist and chewy.

Now it’s worth noting that even with relatively lean mince it started sweating fat about half way through, I rinsed the whole lot under cold water and blotted on some kitchen paper before going back into the dehydrator which seemed to stop the issue and it was totally dry when done with no signs of fat.

So that was my newly found method of making jerky in large’ish quantities at a very reasonable cost - 750g of lean mince costing me £5 and that was without shopping around.

Hope it inspires some of you to give it a go, I love a good jerky or biltong, here a few pics of the before and after.
The beef and veg will be vacuum sealed for camp meals, the jerky is unlikely to last the rest of the day

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bigboned

Forager
Feb 17, 2016
208
40
Ireland
Wow I always thought u had to use proper lean cuts for jerky as the fat would go rancid ( although I suppose on a really hot day sheep don’t go off!)

I don’t have a dehydrater only oven on lowest temp BUT I’m nowsooo tempted

Looks amazing
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,269
2,069
McBride, BC
Thanks HH. Reminds me that I will have mince delivered from a beef ranch this afternoon. XX-lean, $8.80/kg. ( approx L2.50/lb)
Might as well make up a batch and freeze it for later.

I like the look of your dried veg. Do you know yet how long in a little hot water it takes to soften those things?
Do you add any seasonings/marinade before drying?

Had some silly notion that the jerky could be a staple for at least a camp meal or two. What a fantasy! A treat meant to be devoured.
I use a wire mesh cake rack in a very slow kitchen oven (200F) for drying jerky. Making jerky makes you a magician.
It becomes the coin of the realm to be traded for all other noxious camp chores.

I bought myself some HiMountain cure and seasoning from Cabela. The regular and the pepper mixed is just right.
Then I bought a big "jerky" pistol as well. 1lb mince squirts out as 17' x 3/4" x 1/4" thick.

Mince looks granular in everybody's kitchen. I was instructed by a fur trapper to put on a disposable vinyl glove and mix and mix and mix.
All of a sudden, the lump goes from granular to meat fiber stringy. Not tough but it sure does hang together better as it dries.
 
Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
Thanks HH. Reminds me that I will have mince delivered from a beef ranch this afternoon. XX-lean, $8.80/kg. ( approx L2.50/lb)
Might as well make up a batch and freeze it for later.

I like the look of your dried veg. Do you know yet how long in a little hot water it takes to soften those things?
Do you add any seasonings/marinade before drying?

Had some silly notion that the jerky could be a staple for at least a camp meal or two. What a fantasy! A treat meant to be devoured.
I use a wire mesh cake rack in a very slow kitchen oven (200F) for drying jerky. Making jerky makes you a magician.
It becomes the coin of the realm to be traded for all other noxious camp chores.

I bought myself some HiMountain cure and seasoning from Cabela. The regular and the pepper mixed is just right.
Then I bought a big "jerky" pistol as well. 1lb mince squirts out as 17' x 3/4" x 1/4" thick.

Mince looks granular in everybody's kitchen. I was instructed by a fur trapper to put on a disposable vinyl glove and mix and mix and mix.
All of a sudden, the lump goes from granular to meat fiber stringy. Not tough but it sure does hang together better as it dries.

Hi Robson,

I usually put the veg and meat into cold water when I arrive at camp and start setting up.
Once I’m comfortable and have the fire going I will pop it to the side and let it heat slowly as I’m never in a rush to eat.

If I had to guess I’d say about 45 mins at a simmer should do to rehydrate it.

I would like to get a jerky gun as they seem to make everything so much easier.

There was a lot of mixing involved, I only tend to add seasonings to the meat as the veg is only really there as an addition to my camp meals though I do throw some in before I vacuum seal them all together.


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bopdude

Full Member
Feb 19, 2013
2,936
172
56
Stockton on Tees
I'll be trying this for sure, thanks for the ideas, @Nice65 I use my dehydrator for my biltong, leave it overnight and boom, in the morning some nice billy, doesn't last long ;)
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
5,325
1,808
W.Sussex
Tell me about it, I can eat loads and a fair bit gets gifted. Mine goes in a converted kitchen cupboard with a computer fan in the top, holes in the bottom, and an 80W lightbulb for heat. 3-5 days is a long wait, but well worth it.
 
Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
Tell me about it, I can eat loads and a fair bit gets gifted. Mine goes in a converted kitchen cupboard with a computer fan in the top, holes in the bottom, and an 80W lightbulb for heat. 3-5 days is a long wait, but well worth it.

Cheap dehydrator and an overnight run for me, much quicker but I dread to think of the power consumption compared to your set up.
I'm pretty sure mine consists of cheap hairdryer parts!


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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,269
2,069
McBride, BC
Dehydrators aren't 1.5kw machines.
Mine is very quiet but has no power rating that I can find.
Might be 250W for the heater and a little more for the fan.
I'm pretty sure it doesn't spin my electricity meter off the wall.

I can dry (to a leathery state) 25 lbs of Roma tomatoes in 2 batches over 48 hrs @ 65C or so.
Biltong and jerky, as good as they are, are barely a match for a mouthful of dried Roma.

Before I forget. Those of you who don't do any of this jerky and dehydrating have yet to experience the aromas that fill your whole house. Drying Roma tomato is a heavenly scent. Drying is a great non-freezer method to preserve bulk food. First Nations here have maybe 14,000 years of experience. I want to do clams and smoke them as well.
 
Last edited:

Ascobis

Forager
Nov 3, 2017
128
69
Wisconsin, USA
I’m inspired to get my biltong box loaded up with beef strips again.
A good biltong box would be made of plywood. Can one fake it with cardboard? I do want to try to make biltong but do not want to spoil the attempt by being too much a skinflint, unless, of course, I can do so.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,269
2,069
McBride, BC
Biltong and Jerky are different for 3 major reasons.
1. Biltong is coarsely sliced meat, jerky is very much thinner.
2. Biltong is spices and vinegar and salt are used. Jerky has 2,000 recipes for seasoning and cure with no vinegar at all.
3. Biltong is air-dried for a week or more. Jerky is dried at low heat. Biltong is not heated at all. After a week, is it fly-blown as well?

I believe there's a regional difference and that very few people here in North America would have any appreciation for biltong.
Yes, I've made biltong the traditional way, cardboard box & a small desk fan. South African herb and spice mix. Good but I've had better.

Given my results with the Hi Mountain cure and seasonings, I'll stick with it, burger or round meat jerky. Excellent organic meat is very cheap here.

Pemmican is dried and pounded bison meat mixed about 50/50 with bison backstrap fat. Approx 1770 recipe. Added dried wild berries is a myth.
Rocky Mountain House, for example, had a quota to prepare for the fur traders. They made 44,000 lbs of pemmican in 9 days
and packed that into 90lb bison hide bags to make the daily burgoo. Your own Hudson's Bay Company recorded those facts.
So I made pemmican because I have lots of bison meat and fat. It is sustaining but revolting. You can't add enough carrots and potatoes.

When the tide comes in, it floats everybody's boat.
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
5,325
1,808
W.Sussex
A good biltong box would be made of plywood. Can one fake it with cardboard? I do want to try to make biltong but do not want to spoil the attempt by being too much a skinflint, unless, of course, I can do so.

That should work, but bear in mind it’s not going to be hygienic for long. The meat drips while drying.

Those large plastic storage boxes with lids are a cheap option and can be cleaned easily. I put newspaper at the bottom of my box (old kitchen cupboard).

I’ve just bought some meat, I’ll post up some pics when I get it cut and spiced.
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,269
2,069
McBride, BC
Dehydrators are really cheap in the long run.
End of season when so many crops ripen and there's as absolute glut of food in the market place.
I can run mine nearly nonstop for a couple of weeks. All sorts of fruit and vegetables.
The only thing that I could do better would be to some how add the option of apple wood smoke.

Pack your clothes with the vacuum sealer if you have any notion of really saving space.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,279
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
If done properly, the (South African) biltong does not get damaged by flies or any decomposition process.
Developed for a hot, fly infested country.

Most S. Africans I know here make their own. Delicious!

I do a Same version, but as I do not have access to reindeer I use imported venison.
It is very simple. An hour in the BBQ, away from the heat, but lots of wood chips to smoke it, then overnight in the drier (on low heat).
No spices, no salt, no vinegar.

I do not know the shelf life, as I munch it up within a few days.
 
Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
Dehydrator is a luxury item, can be replaced by your oven, but you will have lots of use from a vacuum sealer.

Get a powerful one, the extra cost is worth it.

Would definitely agree but would add, as Robson notes, a cheap dehydrator will pay for itself in both power use and convenience compared to an oven.
I’ve tried both but definitely prefer the dehydrator as it’s much less faff!

The vacuum sealer is a godsend, I pack up my very light dehydrated meals based on how many will be eating from the pack and they take up very little space.
You can also seal up oats for breakfast (or perishables like bacon to get more life out of them on the trail).

I’ve even made a full cooked breakfast, including beans, popped into the freezer to solidify a bit then vacuum sealed, the sealer bags I use seem fine to boil in the bag which makes for a tasty breakfast (in summer I also freeze the whole thing so it is preserved for longer.


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