“The word “jerky” is derived from the Spanish word charqui which is from the Quechua word ch’arki. which means to burn (meat).” If you ask me, Beef Jerky is as American as Baseball and Apple Pie. As much as I love a good chew on a piece of brisket jerky, my real gas-station-dried-meat-infatuation lies in the Hawt Rod. Here’s how we make ours at SPiN Toronto…
I don’t want to deter you(because homemade Hawt Rods are killer!), but if you don’t follow this recipe correctly, you could end up very sick. If you use the right ingredients, follow all the instructions and use the correct equipment, you really shouldn’t run into any issues. I would suggest doing a little research on the subject online. The most important rule here is ‘If in doubt, throw it out!’. If something just doesn’t look right(slimy, furry, sticky, smelly etc), it’s just not worth the risk. And on that note…
Disclaimer: ChefJonLovett.com is not responsible for any illness you may encounter in attempting this recipe.
A note on Ingredients:
- Buy the best meat available to you. I can’t stress this enough. Buy beef chuck from a reputable butcher and ask them to grind it for you. Minimally, but ground chuck that has been ground that morning. This is REALLY important.
- Curing Salt aka Prague Powder #1 or instacure #1 is a nitrate and salt mixture used for curing meats. Nitrates are common preservatives. They are found naturally in green vegetables like spinach and celery. It also provides a ‘bacony’ flavour and pinkish colour in cured meats. Think bacon, corned beef or salami.
- Dextrose (aka Glucose) is a simple plant sugar, which acts as the favourite food for LS25 bacteria. It can be purchased at a baking supply store or a bulk food store. It’s sold as a sweetener.
- This recipe calls for active cultures of LS25. This is a lactobacillus bacteria. It’s a similar culture to what you would find in yogurt. As it reproduces and feeds(on the added dextrose), it creates lactic acid which creates an inhospitable environment for harmful bacteria. This lactic acid in conjunction with the added salt and nitrates preserves the hot rods during and after the fermentation stage. This can be found from specialty butcher supply distributors(Canada Compound or Malabar Super Spice in Southern Ontario) or try asking your local butcher shop.
A note on Equipment:
- A Jerky Gun can be found online for under $50. I highly recommend it if you want a quality shape and uniform sized Jerky/Hawt Rod.
- You’ll find a Dehydrator online or at Walmart/CAnadian Tire/Home Depot/E-bay for between $50-150. Most importantly, you want one with a a thermostat that allows temperature control. Excalibur is trusted brand and makes dehydrators in all shapes and sizes. Unless you have lots of experience dehydrating/curing meat, you’ll want to use a dehydrator for this recipe. It will give you constant results.
- There is mention of an electric mixer in this recipe, it is not required, but be prepared to mix the meat by hand for 6-10 minutes. This can be tiring, but will give the same results as a mixer.
Slim Jims (2.5 kg recipe)
Yield is 1.75 Kg or roughly 70 pieces of 15cm meat sticks
2.5 kg Freshly Ground, very lean ground Beef(Beef Chuck works really well)
1 level tsp. Prague Powder #1
2 tbsp. Spanish Paprika
3 tbsp. ground Mustard Seed
1/2 tsp. ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. ground White Pepper
1 tbsp ground Fennel Seed
1/2 tsp. granulated Garlic
60 g kosher Salt
25g powdered Dextrose
1/2 tsp Fast Fermenting Starter (kept in freezer)
100ml Still Bottled Water(non-chlorinated)
2. Combine all other ingredients, except the beef in a small, clean stainless bowl.
3. An electric mixer works really well to mix the beef and spices. I use the paddle attachment when I make it. Add the beef, mix on low. Slowly add the spices and bacteria water.
4. Continue mixing the beef for 6 minutes on low speed.
5. Check to make sure the spice/salt mix is fully incorporated and not stuck to the bottom of the bowl. Your meat should be very sticky at this point. The texture should have changed and it should be sticking to the paddle, your hands, its self. This is a good thing. If it doesn’t appear sticky, keep mixing or kneading with clean hands, if you are working without a mixer.
6. Pipe the mixture using the Original Jerky Gun according to manufacturer instructions onto your clean dehydrator racks. I use the double sausage fixture.
7. Each sausage should be 4 FULL PUMPS from the gun. Use scissors to cut the meat to get a nice clean cut on the end of each Hot Rawd. You can make longer sausages if you wish, it will not affect the recipe. Make sure the sausages are far enough apart that they are not touching one another.
8. Place the hot rods in the dehydrator set to 100F. Leave overnight(12 hours if possible).
9. Increase the Jerky temp to 120 and continue to dehydrate for 30-60 mins or until desired texture is reached(dry but still chewy).
10. Remove sausages and squeeze each one in clean paper towel if necessary to remove as much grease as possible.
11. Store in a refrigerated, airtight container. They will keep for 2-4 weeks or more. Its important to keep them as dry and well sealed as possible.
Give this recipe a shot! The results are worth the wait. Please leave a comment or any of your own tips or advice.
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