Jerky’s got a bad rap. Maybe that’s because the commercial stuff resembles dog treats, but somehow jerky went from sustenance for hard-core backpackers to scarily ageless snack you buy at a gas station. So our mission was clear: to develop recipes that are straightforward yet authentic. These delicious no-fuss jerkies (turkey, beef, and salmon) require nothing more than an oven, a handful of ingredients, and some patience.
Notes from the
Test upon test taught us what does and doesn’t work when it comes to jerky. Here are some pointers:
» Use an oven thermometer to confirm that your oven is at the right temperature.
» Check your thermometer periodically throughout the drying process to ensure a consistent oven temperature.
» Work with cuts of meat that are lower in fat, since they will have a longer shelf life once dried. For poultry, that means the white or breast meat; for beef, the top loin, sirloin, or tenderloin. (It doesn’t apply to fish.)
» When making the rub or marinade, be sure to use salt (or ingredients that include salt), which helps the flavor and extends the jerky’s shelf life.
» Freeze the meat before you slice it (anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour ahead) to make slicing easier.
» Use a very sharp knife to cut the meat to keep the strips as even and thin as possible.
» Pat any excess oil from the dehydrated meat before storing it. In general, fat is the enemy of the jerky’s shelf life.
» Let the jerky cool completely on the oven racks before storing.
» Store the jerky in an airtight container. The turkey jerky is fine stored at room temperature, but the salmon and beef jerkies should be refrigerated.
Thai Beef Jerky
Fish sauce, ground coriander, and honey infuse beef with an irresistible, almost floral flavor.