Making a bear jerky is something that a lot of gourmets are hesitant to do. Specifically, bear meat is a sensitive type of ingredient. If you don't prepare it cleanly and freshly, it can cause illnesses such as trichinosis (roundworm related infection).
However, since we are talking about jerkies here, things should be okay. I have tried making bear jerkies on several occasions, and I did not experience any bad thing after eating it. Fortunately, my hunter friends always ensure that the bear meat they spare me is well preserved. Honestly, I won't risk cooking if my ingredients are not fresh.
Bear meat is typically hard and lean. Therefore, the drying process might take time than the usual. Moreover, I usually crank my microwave at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. According to various studies, this level of temperature is already enough to kill off any bacteria and unwanted organisms.
If you are not yet satisfied with this, you can preheat your oven to 170 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. It should be enough to remove any detriments while drying your meat. Of course, I have prepared a unique recipe for a bear jerky. But before I reveal them to you, let me introduce some basic concepts regarding this delicacy.
Considerations in Making Jerkies
Creating jerkies is a straightforward process. Unlike most meat recipes, this one doesn't involve cooking, frying, or grilling. Instead, you are just drying the meat so that all of its internal liquid will dissipate. But for this same reason, the preparation time of a jerky is really long. However, I can say that all your effort will be rewarded once you can consume this delicacy.
Choice of Cuts
When making jerkies, make sure that the meat you use is lean. It should come out from parts that don't contain too much fat. Otherwise, the drying process will be long. Moreover, fat cuts won't yield the best results for your jerky. There is a good chance that they will end up the way you don't expect them to be.
Alternatively, you could also use ground meat for your jerky. Specifically, you can utilize this ingredient fully if you have a jerky gun. You just put the meat inside the canister of this tool. It will then squeeze out the meat in the form of strips from its nozzle.
Controlling the temperature while making jerkies is pretty essential. It will eventually determine the speed and quality of your jerky. Do not put the device or even to temperatures that exceed 170 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. It will not dry the meat. Instead, it will cook it. And that's not how you make jerkies.
Ideally, you should start at temperatures that range from 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. But as I mentioned earlier, we are dealing with bear meat. Therefore, I recommend that we should take extra precautions. Every time I make bear jerkies, I always put my oven on 165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. In this way, the microbes would die without compromising the drying process.
How to Make a Delicious Bear Jerky
I already indicated the basics of making jerkies. Now, let me introduce to you my very own bear jerky recipe. Take note of the process and ingredients so that you can achieve the best results.
- 4 pounds of bear meat (must be in strips)
- Curing salt (1/4 cup)
- Brown sugar (1/2 cup)
- Black pepper (1 tablespoon)
- Granulated garlic (1 tablespoon)
- Worcestershire sauce
If the bear meat is still whole, you have to slice it into strips. The latter should be as thin as possible. In this procedure, you will definitely need a sharp cutting knife. I have listed some of the best cutting knives on the market today. If you are not too confident with the capacity of your current tool, then you can check out that list.
Of course, you could also ground the bear meat and use a jerky gun instead. This process is relatively simple, assuming that you have a jerky gun.
After you prepared your meat, it is time to create your marinade. Just mix all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Mix them thoroughly until their flavor comes together. When this happens, you can already add the bear strips and mix it well with the marinade, too.
Put a plastic cover to the bowl and refrigerate it for 10 hours. Make sure that the meat is fully submerged in the mixture so that it can get the required flavor that it needs. You could also stir the marinade from time to time.
Once the refrigeration period is over, you can already take out the meat from the marinade. However, you should not rinse. Instead, let it air dry on baking racks for at least an hour. If you want to add extra flavor to the meat, you can garnish them with black pepper.
Dehydrating the Meat
Put the meat strips in an oven with a preheated temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are using a smoker, you should use a food thermometer to measure up the current temperature of the device. Obviously, the heat should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit, too. Just like I mentioned, you have the freedom to increase the heat, depending on your preferences.
Also, I have to remind you that dehydration requires the circulation of warm air. Therefore, you have to make an opening so that the moisture from the device can escape. Ideally, you can put a cooking foil to crack a small space to the oven door. For smokers, just open the vents from time to time.
If you set the temperature at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the estimated dehydration time would be 4 to 5 hours. In the middle of the process, you have to flip the strips so that you can achieve an even cooking. After this period, your jerky should be ready already.
Jerkies have a long lifespan. Since you have taken out the meat's internal liquid, the growth of molds and other bacteria that could cause food spoilage would be prevented.
However, to fully preserve the jerky, you need to place it in an airtight container. By doing this, you could extend its edibility up to 1 month. If you put the jerky container in a freezer, the jerky could still be consumable after four months!
The lifespan of the jerky is one of the biggest reasons why hunters and outdoor adventurers love it. It is not susceptible to spoilage, which is beneficial for long trips. Moreover, they provide excellent nourishment, too! They are among the healthy treats that you can bring anywhere you want!
Learning how to make bear jerky is pretty easy. As long as you got the right tools and ingredients, this treat is achievable, even in the convenience of your home. At this point, I will remind you that you should only pick the fresh bear meat. You don't want to take that meat that has suspicious quality and texture. They might be old and not good for consumption already.
Did you like this short cooking course of mine? If you have any questions and clarifications, feel free to ask me in the comment section below! I will be waiting!