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Warrior Jerky

What I've learned about the fine art of making Beef Jerky:

  • Don't make the strips too thin or too thick. 5-6 mm will get you "normal" jerky, less will get you more crispy jerky and more will get you more juicy jerky.
  • Basically any meat without too much fat will do.
  • The longer you keep the meat in the marinade, the better will it taste, feel and look! -- NOTE -- There is a limit to this, see Version 7 and Version 8

Warrior Jerky - Version 1 - Fiery Pits of Hell Jerky!

Warrior paved the way for the rest of the project team with this very hot attempt at killing himself!

The Basic Ingredients

  • 1 pound of flat steak (round steak)
  • 1/5 cup (50ml) (at most) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup (100ml) soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 TON (30grams) pepper mix (red, green, black, white)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Background information (excuses)

My approach was this: I KNOW jerky, I don't need to follow a recipe! This was of course a total lie, I used way too much pepper and I cut the slices too thin.

Like Flambard says, you'll want to go for thicker and thicker and thicker strips each time. A little warning is in place however, thick slices might not be cooked all the way through, so don't blame us if it kills you!

Preparation

I didn't freeze the meat before cutting it, I've been swinging sharp blades every day the last ten years, I can handle a little minotaur steak!
Well, no, I couldn't, that was a bad idea.

Freeze the meat for an hour or two first, it'll make it so much easier to cut the strips. The meat I used had basically no fat on it so it was easy enough to just cut it. You take the blade and sort of push-slice it through the meat, with the grain. Or against the grain if you prefer, it's supposed to make it more chewable.
After cutting the meat I got out the ingredients and put all the strips of jerky on a plate and carefully COVERED each strip completely with pepper. The important thing to remember is that if you can see the meat you don't have enough pepper yet. Or so I seemed to think.

Then I proceeded to add honey, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce and grabbing all the meat with my hands just kinda squeezing it all gently together, making sure it mixed well. Then I put it all in the fridge and a couple of hours later Billsey saved my life by reminding me I had forgotten the soy sauce. So, I took a lot of soy sauce and kinda let the jerky swim around in it. After six hours total I took the jerky out of the fridge and so began the...

Drying process

I was already suspicious of my meat. All this pepper must surely kill me? I tried to brush off most of the pepper before laying the strips down on the oven plate with some baking paper under it. The oven was heated to 70 degrees Celsius and I put in the jerky. I let it cook at 70 degrees for about 30 minutes before reducing it to ~55 degrees (it varied between 43 and 63 actually, but mostly a steady 54-55 or so. After about 11 hours I took the Warrior Beef Jerky out, just in time for breakfast!

My first reaction was that it was very hot. My second reaction was that the slices were too thin, not enough beefy taste and the strips were too crispy. I had a couple of thicker strips though and they tasted great and had that right chewy feeling.

I have already bought more meat for further experiments during the holidays, I will stop at nothing to make the perfect jerky!

Warrior Jerky - Version 2 - Smoked Worcestershire Jerky!

I had two very nice slices of meat, one tenderloin and one mørbrad (whatever that is in english)

With the tenderloin steak I went for a smoked worcestershire taste and for the other steak I tried a teriyaki beef jerky recipe, the first one was more successful.

Basic Ingredients for Warrior's smoked worcestershire jerky!

  • 4 tablespoons of Soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

Warrior Jerky - Version 3 - Teriyaki Jerky!

Basic ingredients for Warrior's Teriyaki jerky!

  • 4 tablespoons of Soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of Teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Pictures will be coming soon, also a much more elaborate description of the entire process. Watch this space :)

Warrior Jerky - Version 4 - Smoked Worcestershire Jerky

Again it's tenderloin, this time shorter strips, more spice, more worcestersauce, and letting the meat stay in the brine for much longer than before. 14 full hours! It's currently in the oven at 70 degrees where it'll stay for a total of 3 hours before I reduce it to ~50 deg.

More detail and pictures to come shortly!

Warrior Jerky - Version 5 - Teriyaki Jerky again

  • 400 grams of meat
  • 100ml soy sauce
  • 100ml teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tea spoons of garlic powder
  • 2 tea spoons of freshly ground pepper
    • 16 hours in the marinade
    • 7 hours at 70 degrees
    • More to come

Warrior Jerky - Version 6 - Yummy Smoked Worcestershire Jerky

Click the thumbnails for bigger pictures!

Basic ingredients for Warrior's Jerky version 6!

This is the smoked worcestershire jerky based loosely on Jug's Jerky as well as on my own experiences from previous versions.

  • 400 grams of meat
  • 100ml Soy sauce
  • 100ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

The meat in all it's glory

The meat, marked with the cuts against the grain

Closeup of the grain, it can be hard sometimes to figure this out

I cut the big chunk of meat in two, then in smaller pieces. Then in quite narrow strips. This is just a tiny portion of all the meat.

Put all the meat into a zip lock plastic bag, add all the ingredients and put in the fridge for a small eternity

The top one is GOOD jerky, narrow strips, almost square, slightly drier, the bottom is BAD jerky, too wide, harder to chew, more pulling involved to tear the meat from the ..um, meat.

Jerky on a tray. Notice the color, it's very light compared to previous jerkies. I guess it's from the long period in the marinade. It gradually gets darker after a while in the fridge.

Jerky on a tray in the oven, notice the toothpicks (hanging strips theory)

After two hours at 70 degrees and eight more hours at 50 degrees this is the result you get. Very dry/salty looking jerky. It's very tasty at this stage and hard to resist :)

A closeup of an especially dry and salty looking jerky. You can't imagine the taste!

Both these strips from the exact same piece of meat, one teriyaki and one smoked worcestershire jerky, the teriyaki got 16 hours in the marinade and tastes more teriyaki than jerkies of the past but the smoked jerky got 27 hours in the marinade and cutting the meat before drying it I could see that the marinade got about 1.5-2mm into the meat so it's very tasty.

A closeup showing the directions of the grain and how it affects chewability :)

Warrior Jerky - Version 7

General information

After the previous, quite successful jerky I decided to go shopping.
I went to Sweden and bought roughly 6 kilos of meat and version 7 and 8 comes from a rather massive 2 kg steak.
One of the main reasons that beef jerky is so expensive is because it takes a lot of meat to get any decent amount of jerky.
To get 100 grams of jerky you'll often have to start with at least 300 grams of meat.
I started out with a steak weighing more than 2 kilos and ended up with roughly 300 grams of beef jerky.
Only 800 grams of the 2 kilo steak actually ended up being used for beef jerky so if you're buying meat ONLY to make beef jerky you should know that unless your meat is very lean and fat free you'll be throwing away a lot of meat (and money!).

The Basic Ingredients

  • 400 grams of beef meat
  • 100 ml of light soy sauce
  • 100 ml of Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 tablespoons of honey (probably 2 of them on the inside of the plastic bag. the rest in the marinade).
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke

Preparation

Freeze the meat before cutting it. I froze it for about an hour but you could probably freeze it longer to make it easier to cut. However I don't want any ice crystals to form and ruin my jerky so I'll rather use my superior knife skills to compensate.

Cut the meat in half. Decide what way the grain runs. Decide if you want to cut with or against the grain. Mark the width of your jerky as well as your chosen grain cut on each of the halves. Make sure you get this part right, it can be sort of confusing. Then proceed to cut the halves into smaller slices which you'll then cut each strip from.

I personally prefer to cut the strips the size and shape I want them, put them in the marinade and THEN examine them more closely to cut away any remaining fat but this is up to you. After the meat has been dried I'll also look at the strips and remove any fat that I find.

Anyway, after you've cut the meat and your strips are all looking fine and dandy it's time to put them into the marinade.

I originally wanted to do a 30-40 hour marinade but it turned out I didn't have time to do that (due to travel) so it ended up being a 60 hour marinade. Since then I've found out that this is not a good idea, you may and up with basically salty water (or at least a marinade that is pretty boring).

However I think my marinade survived it quite well, it's not as sweet as I had expected, but it's somewhat sweet so I'm fairly happy about it.

Anyway, I do it like this:

I put all the meat (typically around 3-500 grams depending on the size of the steak) into a zip lock plastic bag and put the bag into a glass bowl (this makes it much easier to handle). I then add the soy sauce which is the base of all the jerky recipes I've used and then the other ingredients. Typically all the liquids go first, then spices and everything else.

You now put the bag with your marinading meat into the fridge and leave it there for as long as you'd like. Making jerky is a lot about patience, finding the right meat in the first place, cutting it, removing fat, letting it marinade for maybe as long as 2-3 days (more than 35-40 hours at own "risk" - the meat may become mushy and the marinade may actually lose a lot of it's subtler tastes). Once the meat has spent enough time in the marinade it's time for the ...

Drying process

I originally wanted to go for my tried and tested drying strategy, 50 degrees for as long as it takes to get the meat nice and dry. Typically you're looking at 6-9 hours.

However, after five hours of drying I found out that a couple of my strips were still quite cold for some reason and since it was getting late that evening and it appeared that the jerky wouldn't be finished by the time I had to go to bed I decided to go for an alternative drying technique that I know, instead of 6-9 hours at ~50 degrees Celsius you dry it at much lower temperature for much longer. I put my oven as low as I could and kept the door more open than usually. My oven thermometer reported ~32-35 degrees Celsius and I let it stay in the oven for almost 19 hours.

This worked really well in my opinion and I think I may use it for the next batch as well.

For a job like this, you'll need a proper JUG SCALE. Special made for the job, of course. Click the picture to see the scale in all it's Jug Glory.


The two batches of meat (each about 500 grams).


As you can see, the jerky is soaking wet after a long marinade. You'll need to dry the jerky properly.

And you use paper towels for that!

Actually, I put the jerky on a piece of cloth and use the paper towels to dry them. I've found that this is what works best. If you put it on paper towels the paper may stick or just get too wet.


Another picture of how you do it!

6 mm thick!

1,7 cm wide!

6 cm long! And other measurements as well! (I found the average weight to be around 3 grams pr strip).

This looks like it'd be pretty tender doesn't it? :)

Since I'm still learning the noble art of jerky making I'm also experimenting with differently sized strips. This one is especially fat and juicy.

Another fat strip.

Some of the strips have a very different size and look. This one is every bit as tasty as the others, just a little harder to place on the tray.

The Dark Lord summoned out of a pulsating mound of flesh!

Beware. Meat is tricky. Click the picture and zoom in here and you'll see how important it can be to examine your meat closely. This one had sneaky fat inside.

Reasonably happy about the dryness of my jerky by this time. Now it's time to examine the strips once more and cut away any nasty fat, examine both sides of each strip and use a super sharp knife and apply proper dagger skills and you'll be fine.

In my previous batch I tried out the toothpick strategy. It's actually a must if you're going to create a big batch of jerky in one drying (you could also use two trays and just swap the trays a couple of times), as meat hanging from a toothpick takes far less room than if lying on a tray. In my last attempt I had some problems actually getting the toothpickjerky properly placed on the tray so this time I used a perfect, handmade wooden chest from Warrior's Chest Empire to make the job a little easier for myself.

The strips get acquainted, lined up close like that.

Hanging happily forever. I tried to put the longest strips on the toothpicks and the shorter ones on the tray the old way but it doesn't matter, you can put shorter strips on toothpicks as well.

The Dark Lord is lying helplessly on the table(Actually he's probably on a Russian plane on his way to Flambard this very minute, lets hope he's still immobile and sort of dry and tasty).

"Morgoth, feeding (on) hungry adventurers since 1990"


These two batches of jerky were specially made to be sent to my fellow MAngband Project Team member, Flambard (the cave dweller) as well as for my own enjoyment. I'm fairly happy about the results.

Jerky in a zip lock bag, a couple of oxygen absorbers and a short trip to the mail office later and it's on it's way.

Warrior Jerky - Version 8

The basic ingredients

  • 400 grams of beef meat
  • 100 ml of light soy sauce
  • 30 ml of Worcestershire sauce
  • 70 ml of pineapple juice
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 20 grams of brown sugar

Warrior Jerky - Version 9

I felt it was time to experiment with more advanced recipes so for version 9 & 10 I decided to make one really hot and spicy jerky full of taste and one sweeter jerky with just a hint of spices. The jerkies are currently soaking in the marinades (from about 6 pm until 9-10 am roughly 39-40 hours later) and after that I will try the long drying technique I first tried in the previous two versions, basically drying the jerky at as low a temperature as possible for however long it takes (typically 16-20 hours).

  • 400 grams of beef meat
  • 75 ml of ecological light soy sauce
  • 60 ml of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder

Update -- Marinaded the meat for 40 hours, drying it at (guesstimate) 30-40 deg C for 19 hours.

First impressions:

  • Not dry enough -- I didn't have a thermometer and my oven has no indication of it's temperature. Could have been colder than I think. I will not do that mistake again.
  • Too much fat -- I only removed the worst fat before the marinade and didn't remove any more after the marinade like I usually do. I thought I'd skip that step this time and rather remove it after drying but that is not practical. I will not do that mistake again.
  • Great taste! I'm really happy about this recipe, all strips are spicy due to the amount of pepper, some strips have a distinct smoky taste, others a hint of vinegar and other strips are just perfect smoked pepper vinegar jerky to the fingertips.

Warrior Jerky - Version 10

  • 400 grams of beef meat
  • 100 ml of soy sauce
  • 30 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 70 ml pineapple juice
  • 20 grams of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of acacia honey
  • 2 teaspoons of himalaya salt
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili explosion (chili, paprika, pepper, tomato)

First impressions:

  • Marinade and drying time identical to the smoked pepper vinegar jerky so the same things applies to this jerky.
  • Used the same approach regarding fat trimming, so same result.
  • Reasonably happy about the taste, but it seems sweeter jerkies don't achieve the same "dryness" as other jerky does. Not sure exactly why this is but generally the thinner strips taste really good while the the thicker strips generally don't seem dry enough.
  • The pineapple juice may be the cause of this problem, it's probably a better idea to sweeten the jerky with non-liquids or smaller amounts of liquid sweeteners.

This meat was a bit different from what I've used in the past, one pretty large, square'ish block of meat, about 1 kilo.

Cutting the larger pieces into smaller pieces.

From the piece I'm cutting in this image (the current cut being the width of the jerky, not the thickness) I probably get some 6-7 strips of beef jerky.

Finished strips. Beef jerky strips will usually have many sizes and shapes, especially if your meat is marbled.

I made two marinades for this, zip lock plastic bags are great for this (easy to turn around once in a while and easy to open and SMELL the YUM!

I was a weary Jerky Warrior this time and just didn't have the energy to finely remove all the fat I should have. This resulted in lots of strips basically being inedible. This picture also shows more clearly the variation in size, thickness and shape.

I was sort of disappointed with these two batches but I clearly remember this strip here as being one of the best strips of jerky I've ever tasted. The recipe was very successful.

Warrior Jerky - Version 11

  • 400 grams of beef meat
  • 60 ml of soy sauce
  • 40 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 50 grams of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of HP Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons of himalaya salt
  • 1 teaspoon single speyside malt whiskey (The Glenrothes 22yo)

Plan

I froze the meat for about 90 minutes and it was easy to cut. Going for a ~30 hour marinade for this version (previous version was about 40 hours, version before that almost 60 hours). I have not yet decided on drying technique, I want to use my dehydrator for some of the jerky but I'm not sure. Most likely I'll return to the tried and tested ~50 degrees for 6-10 hours since I've had very mixed results with the extremely long drying times at low temperature (bad experience with this oven and without oven thermometer).


In the past the first cut of the meat used to be across (see Version 6) But over the last few days I've learned (due to a bad case of marbling, see next picture) that it's a good idea to "open" the meat in a way that'll let you see as much as possible of the inside, to better get an idea about how to cut it the most efficiently, as I found out in this version it is possible to cut the meat in a way that removes the fat without removing too much meat and at the same time leaving nice fillets.

This was the meat where I first tried cutting the meat in this direction. As you can see this meat with it's plentiful marbling more resembles something like a serrano ham than beef jerky. I decided to use this meat for something else.

Another picture showing the huge amounts of fat in this piece of meat. If your meat looks like this you probably should not try to make jerky from it.

The marbling went basically through everything. I managed to get maybe 100 grams of reasonably fat free meat from this but thats about 10% so again my points concerning jerky economy made earlier makes sense. Make sure the meat is as fat free as possible!

The meat had huge amounts of this type of fat, not really seen that before in those round steaks, really thick layers of clear and white fat.

Luckily I had one more (the last of about 6 kilos of meat bought in sweden recently) steak in my fridge. Opening this one was sort of nerve wrecking as I really wanted to make jerky but at the same time these two steaks looked identical before cutting them up. Luckily this one was much kinder to me and I learned a lot cutting it in this direction as opposed to the earlier jerkies. You can sort of pull the meat on each side of the white line apart while "removing" the meat from the fat.

I also had a lamb leg and got a nice fillet out of it.

And the lamb is quite lean, very tender meat.

Warrior Jerky - Version 12

  • 200 grams of Lamb and 100 grams of Beef.
  • 70 ml of soy sauce
  • 60 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 1,5 tablespoons of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoons of himalaya salt
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder

Whale Jerky - Version 13

  • 400 grams of Minke whale meat.
  • 100 ml of soy sauce
  • 100 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons of honey (on half of the meat)
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke (on the other half of the meat).
  • 30-35 hours in the marinade (probably too long for this kind of meat).
  • 3 hours at 60-72 degrees, 4 more hours at ~50. Very short drying time but the meat dried very quickly. Oven with hot air.
  • Conclusion: Really tasty but too much soy/worchestershire sauce. Probably also too much garlic powder. The idea was just to test whether whale meat is good for jerky and it is. Pictures to come.

Three more varieties of Whale Jerky - Version 14

  • First batch:
  • 400 grams of Minke whale meat.
  • 75 ml of soy sauce.
  • 25 ml Worcestershire sauce.
  • 4 tablespoons of American BBQ Sauce.
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • Second batch:
  • 400 grams of Minke whale meat.
  • 75 ml of soy sauce.
  • 75 ml Worcestershire sauce.
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper.
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard.
  • Third batch:
  • 400 grams of Minke whale meat.
  • 75 ml of soy sauce.
  • 75 ml Worcestershire sauce.
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper.
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • 1 teaspoons of garlic powder.
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder.
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke.
  • All three variants stayed the same time in the marinade, again for about 30-35 hours, I am pretty sure now that this is too long for this type of meat
  • 2 hours at 60-72 degrees, 3 more hours at ~50. Very short drying time, unfortunately ran out of time (I am still alive though).
  • Conclusion: To come.

The Impossible Bacon Jerky - Version 15

  • Making Jerky from Bacon:
  • Recipe to come.
  • Pictures to come later...