A spot of dehydrating and a minced beef jerky recipe

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Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
Nice recipe, good for hiking with (assuming water is plentiful). I've been thinking about a dehydrator and vacuum sealer for ages, but never taken the plunge..........yet.

It’s well worth the initial outlay, probably pick up both for around £50 if you shop about online.

The big benefit of these for me is they are more of a trail food so no need to rehydrate, though you are right that they can give you a bit of a thirst.

The trick is knowing when to stop as the meat will rehydrate to a degree in your stomach which can lead to... discomfort... if like me you make a couple of kilos of silverside biltong and stupidly eat half of it before realising your mistake!


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Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
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.

Interesting point as I often make what I call biltong from top/silverside joints coarsely sliced, herbs and spices but no vinegar.
So far it looks and sounds like biltong but then I dry it in my dehydrator so does that make it jerky.

It’s doesn’t mean much to me in the grand scheme of things but is there a line that determines if it’s a jerky, biltong or some weird bastardisation?

I’ve tried mass produced, pre-packed US jerky and I’m not a fan but like most things I’m sure it is a far cry from the type that is made by hand.


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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
Is that not the absolute truth?
Jerky and biltong do not exist for long enough to find out if the preservation process actually works.
How do you make enough to learn what works?

I think I have maybe the remains of 5-10lbs of dried Roma tomatoes in the freezer.
A couple of handfuls will simmer in a batch of pea soup today.
I even have to hide the tomato bags when company comes. They always want "just a little taste."

I hope that I can score a case of strawberries this fall and dry those.
Fine dice on some breakfast bready thing?

I think that somebody decided to store their vacuum bagger on the top of my kitchen fridge.
That's as much as I know about those. A whole breakfast in a bag would be quite appetizing.
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
HH: the South African biltong definition is not my own. Read that it in a recipe booklet.

Here in N.A., a much finer slice and a thousand recipes for a goopy marinade. Heated drying makes jerky.

I agree 100% = the store bought jerky is gross. It's so easy to make my own.
Especially with the Cabela Jerky pistol = a giant syringe holding a pound of seasoned burger mince.
I just use the dry cure and seasoning mixes put out by HiMountain. No added sugar, soy sauce, etc
I measured the output = I got 17' long x 3/4" wide from 1 lb meat.

5 lbs organic lean burger mince has just cost me $20.00 I bought 30? lbs.
If I thaw all that, I'll bake 3lbs as Italian Polpetti meatballs and freeze.
I'll mix up the other 2 lbs as jerky and squirt a couple of mesh cake racks for a single 225F oven load.

For as little as the power costs to run a slow oven for a few hours, the added value in the jerky is enormous.
Look at the prices for the crap in the stores.
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
My people have been dehydrating veg and funghi for centuries using heat from an open oven/ cast iron stove/ electric stove. I bought a dehydrator last year - YES - much, much easier!

Cod is meant to last about 12 months in excellent condition deep frozen in a plastic bag. Halibut 3 months.
Using a vacuum machine, we still eat cod that is caught 3+ years ago, and halibut caught almost 2 years ago. Perfect condition!

Vacuum packing is fantastic, even for 'normal' food/use.

Buy a couple of chest freezers, buy, prep, vacuum and freeze when something is in season and cheap!
Buy bulk.
Saves lots of money.

The only produce that does not freeze well are strawberries. But good enough if you make cooked deserts with them.
 
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Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
I will soon start creating a couple of meals I plan to use when I go bushwalking with my son in July in Norway.

Basically cooking the separate ingredients, drying, then vacuum packing them in separate vacuum bags.
We plan to do 4 or 5 days, so we need enough to make 4 meals. About 16 small packs.
4 ingredients per meal.
Meat/fish, Rice, Pasta, Veg mix.
In case foraging fails.
 
Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
Store bought N. American jerky is weird. So sweet!

The Saffies make a nice dry sausage too, Droerworst or something.
Lovely taste, but not for you guys with NHS dentistry!
:)

Droewors is one of my favourite meat creations and not to far from what I made in the OP.

There are a few SA speciality shops not to far from me and I can never resist picking up a half kilo whenever I’m passing, I dread to think how much I’ve spent in them over the years!


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Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
During 3 years of Army service, I lived 80% of freeze dried meals.
Doctors blame my internal problems on this.
Chemicals. Not hydrating and cooking the much properly.
Most meals consisted of opening the pack, eating it dry and flushing down with cold water.

Do not do it. Rehydrate. Cook.

Yes, droewors. Excuse my spelling.
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
American dry rubs for BBQ are very sweet. Not what I expect. Good, but too much for my guts to handle.
The seasonings are wonderful and I have learned to cut the sugar to 1/4 of the recipe. Guest-approved.
At least try that. Since all the ingredients are dry, you can mix a whole coffee can of it and it keeps very well.
I have yet to try some rub as a seasoning for jerky Good experiment.

Dry a whole bunch of different things in an oven load and see what you like.
 

Monikieman

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Jun 17, 2013
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Monikie, Angus
I must get round to trying the meat!!! I was shown that you can de-hydrate cooked rice!! gave it a try and it's great. Will try with minced beef.

I de-hydrate a bag of carrots, bag of celery and 6x leeks. All blanched and when finished, into blender for a great powdered stock.
 
Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
I must get round to trying the meat!!! I was shown that you can de-hydrate cooked rice!! gave it a try and it's great. Will try with minced beef.

I de-hydrate a bag of carrots, bag of celery and 6x leeks. All blanched and when finished, into blender for a great powdered stock.

Also a great may to make your own powdered/instant soup without all the artificial muck that normally goes in.


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Nice65

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Apr 16, 2009
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Interesting point as I often make what I call biltong from top/silverside joints coarsely sliced, herbs and spices but no vinegar.
So far it looks and sounds like biltong but then I dry it in my dehydrator so does that make it jerky.

It’s doesn’t mean much to me in the grand scheme of things but is there a line that determines if it’s a jerky, biltong or some weird bastardisation?

I’ve tried mass produced, pre-packed US jerky and I’m not a fan but like most things I’m sure it is a far cry from the type that is made by hand.

Biltong is dried spiced whole meat, jerky is dried and usually smoked minced or ground meat. The vinegar wash kills any bugs on the biltong, I wipe off any after draining and pat the meat dry. The salt and spices rubbed into the meat afterwards also help preserve it and keep it free from such nasties as Botulism.

I haven’t tried making jerky, but I’m not a fan of the stuff anyway, the more meat is broken up, the more prone it is to absorbing bacteria. Just my point of view, but I trust the biltong better.
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
We make both sorts of jerky here = very thinly sliced whole meat as was done in the Paleo days with bison.
I don't like that as it's too tough on my old teeth.
I read that biltong is thick, chunky, vinegar-washed and dried at room temperature.

So, I use burger with cure and spice mix added. The Cabela's Jerky pistol holds a pound/454g.
and squirts that out a s a 17' strip, 3/4" wide. In a 225 oven with the door cracked, that dries down is a few hours.
Bagged, that sweats a lot of water> ice in the freezer to dry it out even more.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Unless you have a spare set of teeth in the drawer, do not even try Droewors then!
Unless you are prepared to suck on a piece for several hours.
Even I with healthy teeth ( no NHS dentistry, ever! :) ) does not try to chew those.
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
9,269
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McBride, BC
The real traditional, paleo pemmican, as recorded by the Hudson's Bay Company no less,
was pounded, pulverized dried/smoked bison meat and bison fat, approximately 50/50 and no fantasy of dried berries (the sugar rots).
The pemmican was combined with root vegetables for burgoo.

Nobody in their right mind would try to eat the dried bison alone.
Plus in the burgoo, any sand or pebbles would fall to the bottom of the pot.
 
Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
Afternoon all, I finally got round to editing my dehydrating minced beef footage that I was talking about at the start of this post.
Hopefully this will show a little better what I was talking about.



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Rydergrove

Member
Dec 28, 2012
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www.betweenthetrees.xyz
Great post. I take either jerky or biltong with me all the time. Recently done a 4 day trip to Lake District where a biltong steak was always in pocket.
I generally find that steaks dried keep better than minced beef.

Further details on betweenthetrees.xyz

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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