Moist and Tender Jerky Experiment

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Butterbean
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Moist and Tender Jerky Experiment

Post by Butterbean » Thu Nov 01, 2018 17:39

Wanted to attempt to make a very tender and moist jerky. I know this sounds contradictory but I'd read where you could reduce the shrink in jerky to only 20% if you bind the available water with both sugar and salt. Think jelly. Its got very little available water.

With that thought in mind I made an attempt at this.

I sliced an eye of round thick - about 3/8's of an inch slicing across the grain.

Next I weighed the meat (6.33lbs) and though I would normally use 1.3% of my spice blend I increased this to 1.5% since - assuming this worked - the meat would not shrink and concentrate the spices and salt.

After measuring the spices and cure based on total meat weight I mixed 20% water and 18% dark brown sugar to a container and mixed this well.

From this point you can either marinate the meat for 24 hours or use a vacuum tumbler and tumble the meat for 40 minutes.

Next step was putting it in the smokehouse. It was late in the day when I did this but my curiosity pushed me on. At first, I ran the smokehouse with no smoke at 125F for an hour or so to get most of the "wetness" off but when I noticed the edges beginning to dry I put a heavy smoke on them and gradually increased the temperature over time. Unfortunately, sleep was weighing on me more than my curiosity and I pulled them from the smoker to finish in the electric jerky drier which has a timer on it.

Checked the jerky this morning and it was shelf stable and weighed a little over 3.7 lbs (I had eaten a piece before weighing) so it looks like I only experienced 41.6% shrink from the original starting weight which is better than the 1:2 or 1:3 ratios normally expected when making jerky.

The jerky is quite tender and very moist. As a traditionalist I'm on the fence on whether or not I like it or not. Its different. Very moist and it has a teriyaki sweetness to it which is the first thing you taste with the spices and heat coming in at the end. In hindsight, I think some of this sweetness could be overcome by bumping the initial spice blend up to compensate for the lack of shrink. Don't know how much more I could add and if this increase could be figured on a directionally proportional amount based on the reduced shrink. Seems reasonable since I believe it could stand a good bit more spice to overcome the sweetness but I'll definitely have to run another test to see where this goes. I'll probably split the difference and try that.

One good thing is I was due to the stickiness of the jerky I was able to amend the flavor by adding some ground peppers on the surface of the jerky.

As I said, I'm on the fence whether I like this or not and was simply doing this as an experiment but I do plan on giving samples of this away and see what others think. I imagine this will be a big hit with children but not sure about adults.

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Post by redzed » Sun Nov 04, 2018 16:32

Interesting, looks good even though it looks more like a medium well-done steak. Can you explain a bit more why you consider it to be shelf stable? Maybe I'm not getting something here, but if you marinated the meat with the addition of 20% water, would not only portion of that water have been absorbed by the meat? So should you not weighed the meat after it had been removed from the marinade, drained off the excess and formed a pellicle?
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Post by Butterbean » Tue Nov 06, 2018 19:42

You are probably right weighing the meat after the marinade but I've never done that and always just weigh the meat by itself when making jerky since its so messy. I based the stability on water activity without regard to pH.
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Re: Moist and Tender Jerky Experiment

Post by Butterbean » Mon Aug 05, 2019 14:19

I finally came to a decision that adults like this jerky too. Frankly, I had forgotten all about it but we had just finished baling hay when a friend was nosing around the kitchen and saw a box of jerky and snack sticks I had on the shelf. He and his helper ate some snack sticks but carried some of this jerky with them. A week passed and he called telling me they both thought this was the best jerky they had ever eaten in their lives and wanted me to sell them some. He also offered to give me a fat heifer so I could make the whole thing into jerky on halves. I'm interested in the heifer but making the whole thing into jerky sounds too much like work especially when she should offer some nice steaks in her. Maybe I'll make him jerky and I'll take steaks. :wink: (not to mention some free beef casings :lol: )

We'll see how this goes. Its way to hot IMO to be butchering a cow right now but fall isn't far away.
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Re: Moist and Tender Jerky Experiment

Post by redzed » Mon Aug 05, 2019 14:58

Sounds like an interesting project, but a heck of a lot of work. Jerky normally has no fat in it, so it would be a lot of trimming!

Can you give us the spice blend you use for the jerky? I've been making jerky this summer with venison. Great stuff to have in your back pack when hiking.
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Re: Moist and Tender Jerky Experiment

Post by Butterbean » Tue Aug 06, 2019 01:40

If I could I would. The computer in the barn doesn't have Word so I've been keeping things on paper but the spice blend really shouldn't matter much because I think it was the texture and softness that sets it apart. But if I can find my notes on it I'll share the spice blend I used. Based on the label I know it had chipotle in it because a friend gifted me some from overseas. I really need to break down and by Word. I have a couple discs laying around but they don't seem to want to load in this new computer and its made me angry and I don't feel like paying for another copy.
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Re: Moist and Tender Jerky Experiment

Post by LOEBER74 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 23:02

Does it end up with more of a "kipered" texture? like a dried steak bite? Interested in this as I prefer mine to be a little on the chewy side.
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Re: Moist and Tender Jerky Experiment

Post by Butterbean » Thu Aug 08, 2019 01:26

LOEBER74 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 23:02
Does it end up with more of a "kipered" texture? like a dried steak bite? Interested in this as I prefer mine to be a little on the chewy side.
Have you ever had Jack's Links Jerky? Its similar to that in texture and bite. If you read their label they have sugar before salt so they are doing the same thing - using the sugar to bind the moisture.
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Re: Moist and Tender Jerky Experiment

Post by LOEBER74 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 20:16

Thanks Butter! I was thinking Jack Links but don't like "naming". I will give it a go.
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