Step 1 - Properly Cutting and Weighing Meat
After you have selected your meat type and which recipe to use...the only thing left is to make your Jerky! The first step that we cover in our video series is how to properly cut your meat to dehydrate it. This is an important step to making consistent jerky - i'll tell you why. The dehydration process (which is what makes meat into jerky!) is really a simple process but if it's not done properly, you can have very inconsistent jerky (some will be very dry, some will not be dry enough) or worse yet, be a breeding ground for bacteria. Understanding this will ensure the most consistent, safe-to-consume jerky as possible! And this all starts with cutting your meat properly. The basic process of dehydrating your meat is simple. All it involves is moving air (set at a certain temperature) across the surface area of the meat to pull the moisture out to the surface where it can evaporate. Simple, right? Now...the reason cutting your jerky is so important is an easy concept to understand, as well. Imagine that you have two pieces of meat: one is 1/4" thick and one is 2" thick. If you had both of these pieces in your dehydrator, with the same amount of air moving across it at the same temperature for the same period of time...do you REALLY expect both pieces to have the same consistency? This is an exaggerated example to help you understand the concept: the more consistent your pieces are cut to, the more consistent the jerky will be. Even over many hours of dehydrating, there will be significant differences in consistency between a couple of 1/16ths of an inch of thickness. In this video, we show you a couple of ways to ensure consistency in cutting your meat. Here is a link to the Jerky Board and Knife set seen in the video. This set is the next best thing to an electric meat slicer. Meat slicers are a fast, efficient way to slice your meat up...but the downside is the size and the cost. If you plan on making large batches of jerky or making jerky often, you might want to look into a good electric meat slicer. There are many decent ones out there but the one I use is the Weston Heavy Duty Food Slicer. There are cheaper units available...but this is a good, reliable, mid-priced unit. Now that you know the importance of slicing your meat, go line up everything you need to do this step right! Next up in the series...How to get the most flavor into your Jerky!