Homemade Beef Jerky

I found the jerky gun at an extremely reasonable price at Wal Mart a couple of years ago.  Here's one pretty similar to the one I have, this one's about $15.00. Since then, I've decided I would like a jerky gun that holds a little more meat. This way I won't have to reload as often when making those huge batches.  Bass Pro Shop has a couple of nice guns I have been eye balling. This one would work just fine for me, it's priced at $29.99, buttt, this bad boy, the "Jerky Canon" caught my attention immediately.  It's a little more pricey at $49.99.  It would be well worth the price merely for it's time saving capabilities on those bigger batches of jerky.

2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 lbs. of ground turkey (or venison)
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup brown sugar (opt., I like a sweetness to mine)
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce, or to taste
8 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
8 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 Tbsp. ketchup
4 tsp. kosher salt

I mixed the beef/turkey and all the ingredients in a large glass bowl, then cover it with plastic wrap and left it to refrigerate/marinate for about 4-5 hours. You could use all ground beef, but I find that the by adding the ground turkey (or venison), it helps cut down on the grease that the jerky produces.  I use paper towels to wipe down the jerky after it's done.  But I'll get to that step shortly.

After I had all my raw jerky slabs placed onto my trays I ran the dehydrator for about 8-10 hours at 145 degrees.  The last hour I would periodically check on the consistency of the jerky.  I like a firm jerky but not a brittle jerky.  The edges will be the first to dry out.  When the center still had a tiny bit of "softness" to it seems to be the consistency that is perfect to me. For a tougher jerky, of course, cook longer and just keep checking.  Take a piece out and let it cool and see what you think about the consistency.  When the jerky is cooled, it tends to stiffen up a bit. So, keep testing until you find your perfect "bite".

The final count all depends on what length of jerky slabs you make. If you made your pieces about 6-7 inches long, you could get about 70 (give or a take) pieces.  If you choose to go for the longer (11 inches), you should end up with about 40ish pieces. That's alot of jerky!

P.S. Don't have a dehydrator, no prob.  Just place jerky on baking sheets and stick in a 150-170 degree oven for 8-12 hours.  Flipping over every couple of hours.  If you have a cooling rack that will fit on top of your baking sheet, that is even better as this will allow the heat to evenly cook the meat where you would not have to flip the jerky. Oh, place a wooden spoon in the oven door, as to prop it open. This will help the drying process by allowing the moisture to escape. Your house will smell AMAZING too!

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