It is a common thing that I hear people questioning the viability of a ham jerky. After all, most of us are only familiar with bacon jerky. For me, you can make any meat into jerkies. It is up to your creativity on how far you would go in your kitchen.
I am not professional cook myself. But I am quite confident about my skills when it comes to making jerkies. And yes, I have my very own ham jerky recipe! It should not come as a surprise though. After all, pork is a popular pick as a main ingredient for dehydration. Bacon is one good example.
In this article, I will show you how to make a ham jerky. Also, I will discuss a few things that you might need to consider if ever you are going to make this treat. So what are you waiting for? Let's get started!
Ham Jerky Recipe
I love ham jerky because of its chewy texture that your mouth can surely lavish. It is tasty enough to fulfill the cravings of your appetite. Even my kids love them! Fortunately, preparing this recipe is pretty easy. Just follow the instructions I laid down below, and you can make an appetizing ham jerky of your own!
- One pound of ham slices (1/4 inch thick)
- Soy sauce (1/4 cup)
- Worcestershire sauce (1 tablespoon)
- Black pepper (1 teaspoon)
- Garlic powder (1 teaspoon)
- Onion powder (1/2 teaspoon)
- Salt (1/2 teaspoon)
Preparation of the Meat
It is important that you freeze the ham partially so that slicing them would become a lot easy. The thinner the slices, the better. This is the reason why I recommended 1/4 inch slices. Specifically, thin slices are easier to dry compared to thick ones. When slicing, you need a sharp cutting knife that can do make the process quick and efficient.
If the meat comes with layers of fat, trim them away. They are not usable in making jerky. Moreover, they can turn rancid, which is not good for this particulary delicacy. If you are aiming for a chewy texture, you have to make the slice on the grain.
Preparing the Marinade
Take a huge bowl and mix the rest of the ingredients that I listed here. Stir the mixture thoroughly so that all the seasonings would bring out the optimal flavor for the ham jerky.
After you created the marinade, you can already submerge the ham slices in there. Try to hand-mix the ham strips with the marinade so that you can bathe the meat properly. Once you are satisfied, you can already cover the bowl and put it in your refrigerator. The refrigeration process usually takes overnight.
- Some people want to make sure that their food is free from any detriments. After all, foodborne diseases could strike anytime, especially if you don't sanitize your ingredients properly. The drying heat required in making jerkies is already enough. However, if you want to have a safety net, you should heat the meat before you dry it.
You can do the heating process after you have taken out the meat from the refrigeration. Pour the meat and the marinade in a pan and let them boil for around 5 minutes. If your cuts are thicker than 1/4 inch, then you need to increase the heating time. Ideally, the boiling temperature should not be lower than 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
After boiling, you could already drain the boil and let the meat dry for a while.
You can fully dry the meat by the use of clean absorbent paper towels. Gently tap the surface of the surface of the meat so that you can take off any liquid residues. After this, arrange the strips on a baking rack. Make sure that the strips won't have any contact with one another.
Put the baking rack in your microwave oven that has a preheated temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You could also use an electric smoker or food dehydrator if you have one. Food dehydrators are typically a convenient choice, especially if they possess high-serving capacity. These devices are great in heat distribution, which results into an even drying.
You will heat the meat strips until they become a jerky for four to six hours. You could also assess the readiness of the meat by checking its texture. If it is already firm and bendable, your ham jerky is already complete! Take note that meat strips that have been marinated have faster drying time compared to those that haven't received such treatment.
Once your ham jerkies are ready, take them out from your drying device and let them cool for awhile. If you are not going to consume them immediately, you can store them in your glass jars or any food containers. But for me, you should take a bite while it is fresh and hot! You will definitely love the taste of your ham jerky!
Storing the Jerky
You can safely store the jerky to extend its lifespan. Ideally, putting them on vacuum-sealed containers would do the trick. Refrigerating these containers would lengthen the lifespan of the jerky for 1 to 2 months. If you put the jerky in the freezer, it would last for three months or greater. It should be safe, as you cured the meat with salt and soy sauce.
Things to Remember When Making Jerkies
Of course, it is not enough that your jerky is delicious. You should make it safe to eat as well. Here are my recommendations that would make your jerky immune from bacteria and other harmful organisms.
- Wash your hands properly. After all, you are dealing with raw meat here.
- Your equipment and tools should be clean too.
- Always choose fresh meat. If necessary, refrigerate them on the temperature that is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you want to thaw the meat, do it in the refrigerator, not on your counter.
- Do not reuse the marinade.
Making ham jerky is pretty easy. This treat is a doable recipe even for those who are not really into cooking. As long as you have fresh meat and set of ingredients that would accompany it, you can create ham jerkies on the convenience of your kitchen. Moreover, jerkies are not expensive delicacies. Therefore, you can indulge on them guilt-free!
Did you like this simple recipe of mine? If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, just feel free to ask me. I will be waiting! Happy cooking!