From cowboys to seafarers, jerky has been a simple food source for sustenance for explorers and a way to preserve food safely for the days to come. The trend of jerky, or dried meat, goes way back to the days before electric refrigerators and freezers existed, when fresh meat and cheese was preserved or consumed quickly. Jerky, being a high protein, low calorie snack, has growing popularity today, which is no surprise! While the consumption of jerky is on the rise, no matter how it is made, it’s the recipe of jerky that has varied, as well as the ingredients. Jerky can be made out of any meat, including these highly preferred choices!
Beef Jerky - Beef Jerky flavors are great standalone recipes, and thanks to a new wave of modern-day professionals, eating healthy and high-protein snacks is all the rage. Making your own beef jerky is fun, easy, and relatively quick. A dehydrator is the perfect way for making beef jerky, but you can use an oven at a low temperature for similar results.
Shark Jerky - Sometimes it’s nice to dive out of your comfort zone into the newest jerky flavors such as Shark Jerky, with spiced-up flavors. Japan has been the biggest player in Shark jerky consumption. This jerky is usually made up of traditional taste and new technology. Uniform thickness & size of Shark Jerky pieces are very important if you want that perfect batch and taste of jerky.
Tuna Jerky - This lean piece of jerky is highly preferred by people who do not look forward to eating fat jerky. It comes in a variety of strong flavors, textures and thin cuts in the market. These pieces are high in protein and Omega 3.
Emu Jerky - This Jerky is highly known for its dark flavors. Emu Jerky is made from the meat of the largest native bird of Australia. These flightless birds are farmed for their low-fat meat and its jerky is marinated with raisins, cranberries, and the usual spices as well. The recipe tastes great and Emu Jerky is easy to make in the comfort of your own home using your oven or an outdoor smoker
Kangaroo Jerky - If you’ve never heard of Kangaroo Jerky, it is a dried meat of South-African origin. It is quite similar to beef jerky recipe . This snack is gluten-free and dairy-free. This protein-rich snack can be added to soups, stews, and salads. Some like the texture of it to be drier while others like it a bit chewier, so you can adjust the drying time according to how you like your Kangaroo Jerky.
Ostrich Jerky- If you haven’t heard of Ostrich Jerky yet, you’ve missed one of the really appealing flavors of Earth! An average ostrich is much more than feathers and huge eggs. Its meat has a reputation for great taste, low fat content and very little cholesterol. This red meat has lot of spices to compliment the recipes with!
Yak Jerky - When it comes to exploring different flavors of jerky, you can’t get anything more exciting and delicious than exotic Yak jerky meat. Yaks may be known as tough critters, but that doesn’t imply a similar texture to their jerky. If you’re feeling a little not so chilled on the adventure side, Tibetan Yak Jerky is one of the best jerkies around. You can easily find quality yak jerky in a local supermarket or roadside in hiking trails or mountainous areas.
Alligator Jerky - Are you an exotic jerky lover? Do you love trying different spices and flavors that are added to enhance the texture of meat? If you have not tried Alligator meat Jerky yet, you have missed out on a burst of flavors and proteins. Most of the reviews suggest that Alligator Jerky reminds them of “lean smokey bacon” and comes in handy as a recipe for a death-defying experience with friends. Just in case you turn out to be a reptile lover, crocodile jerky is sure to go well with a little Vegemite.
Tips and Tricks to Make Jerky Recipes Easier
• Preferably mix marinades and pastes in a re-sealable freezer bag made of plastic. Add the meat to the bag and squeeze as much air out as possible before sealing and marinating in the refrigerator. As the bags are flexible in size, the whole of the meat gets marinaded easily.
• If you like it hotter, add more spices. Remember, the fresher your seeds and hot peppers are, the spicier the jerky will be. With time, the seasonings lose their heat.
• Preferably use the sharpest flat-bladed knife you have. Your arms and hands will thank you for thin-cut slices of jerky.
• The meats listed above are those that taste the best with the marinades according to the environment.
• Whether you cut your jerky into slabs or strips, the cut should be between 1/4-inch to 1/8- thick.
• The thinner you keep your meat slices, the quicker they dry.
• Refrigerating the meat for up to 45 minutes before slicing can help you slice it in an even and easier way.
• Make sure you scrape off any excess marinade or paste before leaving the pieces to dry. This helps them to dry evenly.
• All the meat fat should be trimmed off as much as possible.
• Meats should be dried at a temperature between 160 to 165 degrees F.
• Preferably wear plastic gloves while preparing as they help in keeping everything clean, offer lesser chances of cross-contamination, and make cleanup easier at the end.
• 1 pound of fresh meat can easily yield around 4 ounces of dried jerky.