In my house, I make beef jerky often, but it rarely makes it to the trails! This is my not so super secret method for jerky.

First, I buy the seasoning/curing mix at Cabelas. Yes. I cheat. They have a good variety of flavors and it is easy. You can also make your own marinade. This is one I’ve used in the past with delicious results.

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Pineapple Jerky

First the marinade:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of this in a glass bowl or baking dish. Add 2 1/2 pounds of thinly sliced beef and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Even better if you can let it stand overnight.

Before placing the meat on the dehydrator trays, toss it with the marinade again, to coat. Place in a single layer on trays. I use tray liners, but you don’t have to. Discard any extra marinade.

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I set the dehydrator on the highest temperature setting (155*F) and let it run. After about 2 hours, the jerky was about half done and I flipped over the pieces of meat. The jerky was completely dry after about 4 and a half hours. (Times will vary depending on how thick your meat is cut and your dehydrator.)

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It is important that you let the jerky cool completely before bagging it up. The heat from the still-warm jerky will cause condensation on the bag.

I have a trick. I go to H-Mart (a Korean grocery store in Lynnwood) and buy pre-sliced meat that is intended for bulogi. They use the big fancy slicer and slice the meat when it is frozen, so it is nice and thin. Perfect for jerky!

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If you are using a seasoning mix, just follow the directions on the package. There is usually a pouch of curing powder and a pouch of seasoning powder. You mix these together and sprinkle on the meat. How much you make depends on how much meat you are seasoning. I usually do about four pounds at a time.  After your meat is seasoned, just follow the directions as if you had made your own marinade.

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In addition to eating jerky in all its deliciousness, you can shred it (use a pair or kitchen shears) and use it as dried beef in various dishes. Here is just one idea.

Beef Stroganoff Ramen

Serves 1, 4 ounces

Trashy hiker food at its best. Lightweight and heavy on the calories.

  • 1 package beef flavor ramen
  • 3 tablespoons freeze dried beef (or hamburger gravel, or shredded jerky)
  • 2 tablespoons dried mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon dried peas
  • 1 shelf stable package cream cheese

At home: Combine all of the ingredients except the cream cheese in a zip locking plastic bag.

In camp: bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Break up the ramen noodles (if not already crushed) and add them to the pan along with the peas and beef. Simmer until the noodles and vegetables are soft. Stir in the cream cheese just before serving.

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