Little Ole Jerky Maker Me

Herky Jerky


     Some times I get Silly, some times in a good way, But silly just the same.  and it usually cost me more than planned.  This is nearing mid-March,My grandson has been in Afghanistan since Mid -Nov.  In a attempt to boost his and his Marine Comrades moral, we have been sending him care packages from home, eleven so far.

     He occasionally gets a chance to send me a E-mail.  A couple months ago I purchased some thin cut round steak and made some jerky.     My wife bought me a new dehydrator around Dec., as I have been unable to locate the one I already owned in that disaster called a garage.  So any way as the grandson has continually told us jerky is gold over there (?).  The upshot of this is I sent him a generous bag of my home made marvelous (in my own Mind) jerky.  Jeremy sent me a E-mail after receiving it stating quote, ” every body loved it, even the interpreter, said ”  thanks Papa”.

     Well If you knew me you would thats like lighting a candle for a stupid moth.  Started looking for affordable meat, searched Costco, and local markets.    Was going to get Brisket as was reputed to be cheap and a usual choose.  Was in Stater Bros.   They had a large chunk of Brisket in the counter area with a lot of fat and gristle on it.  I inquired if the had any trimmed.  Was informed it would cost $1 more a pound if they trimmed it.  So I wanderers back to my wife and told her the results of my search.  She told me to go back and check on London  Broil.  Good Lord,  London Broil, Heck, I seldom get London Broil.

      Well I scurry my some what over sized butt back to the butcher counter.  There I am waited on by a young man, I’d call him a kid, but  am sure he was over twenty.   I ask about London Broil and if I could get it sliced.  He asked me what I intended to use it for?  So I explain I am going to make jerky for my grandson in Afghanistan.  Lowering his voice he leaned across the counter and informs me that the meat goes on sale Wednesday for $1.77 a pound.  To which I reply I’ll see you Wednesday, and take my leave.

     Wednesday rolls around and you find my scurrying tail charging up the isle of Stater Bros headed for the meat counter.  The same fellow waits on me again.  As soon as I ask for the London Broil, he remembers me.  I order ten pounds and asks it to be sliced thin.  I expected it to be cut on a meat slicer, but the older butcher instead puts  a metal mesh glove on his left hand and cuts the ten pounds of meat by hand.  People it took him some time I had no idea that ten pounds of meat would amount to so much.  With ten pounds of London Broil, valued at $17,  tucked under my wing ,this old bird heads home .

      Now the fun began, the meat still needed further trimming.  There is a thick rime of hard fat on the outer side and the fat and the membrane that separates the various muscles to be cut away.  I only tackle what I think will take to fill the five trays on the dehydrator.  It eventually took three and a partial times for the machine to do it all.

     After the meat is trimmed it needs to marinate in the brew for a while, I let mine soak for a hour.  My wife thinks longer, but most recipes call for a shorter time.  When loading up the machine I have to marinate the meat in two batches.  Like Ole Col. Sanders, I have my secret recipe, taken from the book that came with the dehydrator.

     Ah come on, I know you are mentally twisting my arm.  So Ok , here it is.   I use a almost quart sized jug of Soy Sauce, Maybe a cup and half of brown sugar, Just a dash of sea salt, pepper, onion powder,    and garlic salt to preference, oh I forgot liquid smoke flavoring.  In later batches I added chili powder or teriyaki sauce.  None of it turned out bad, just one batch I got a little too much salt for my taste ,but those chow hungry Marines are going to chomp it up.

     Once the dehydrator is on, I rotate the trays every four hours top to bottom and turn each tray a quarter turn to ensure that the meat is dried evenly.  On the first turn you would be amazed how much the meat has began to shrink.  Instructions states to leave space between the meat for circulation of the air.  I however, load my trays with my meat touching without overlapping.  As soon as it starts to dry, the rapid shrinkage makes plenty of room.   When you observe the drying process you begin to realise how much moisture is in meat.  What do they say, our bodies is 90% water, I believe it.  I expect if you were to dehydrate my 260 pound tail I would wind up the proverbial 90 pound weakling.

     So any way, back to the original tale.  I started  making jerky on Wed., by Monday I am finally working my last batch of two trays.  On Tue. we made our monthly Wall Mart run, and are headed home.  Anything else we need to do?  My wife  asks, as she is doing all the driving since I had the stroke last year.  Not unless you want to get some more London Broil before the sale goes off tomorrow. I chirps.  So off to Stater Bros we go again.

      The meat is in the outer counters individually packaged.  Only one butcher is in sight and he is busy.  They are not supposed to handle pre-packaged meat so the slicing will fall on me.  How hard can that be?  I had intended to buy $40 worth of meat, there were only 9 trays of meat all less than $4 each so I took all nine trays.  $34 in all, I totaled the weight up when I got home and calculated I had just under 16 pounds of meat.

      Oh Lord, I sliced meat for five days plus the trimming.   Folks if this clown ever tackles something like this again, I gonna purchase a meat slicer at Wall Mart for $35, it will be worth it.  I jerked meat from Tue. To the following Monday.   All in all I had raw and drying meat in my nostrils for 13 days.   It is all good, My wife who does not eat red meat, will chew on this stuff to my amazement.  My son pronounced it good also.  As for me I cannot generate much interest in it, other than to check it progress in the dehydrator.  I like it, but have currently had my fill, see my earlier peice on chicken.

               So about 26 pounds of meat, worth $50, plus the $120 vacuum food saver and bags, I bought to pack the jerky for shipment to Afghanistan, this turned out to be more expensive than planned. 

     But have already decided the Food Saver  was good investment have used it several times already.  The wife likes to buy meat in bulk form at Costco and cut into smaller portions for later use.  This machine will prevent moisture  from frosting the meat and the absents of air in the package inhibits spoilage.  As for the jerky, It compacts the packages very tight, I was able to get at least ten quart sized bags into the box with the 25 cigars he wanted.

Folks I ain’t interested too much in raw meat right now.

Thanks for rambling along



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