Do you have a person in your life who is impossible to shop for? Really? Me too! Sometimes I take the cheater’s way out and give him presents he might like, but that I’d really like. Such was the case with a jerky gun. And a seasoning sampler kit to go with it. Well, it’s not something he knew he wanted but after making 10 lbs of jerky, he thinks it’s pretty cool.
This is the first time we’ve ever made jerky like this. I did try to make it years ago with rabbit bellies, and more recently with goat belly meat. Both times it was ok. Not fabulous. This time, though, I wanted to do it properly. The kind of cool thing is that this is meat we literally raised from start to finish…
Once the yearlings were processed and the meat broken down into primal cuts, we let them rest for a day. Then we de-boned the cuts and roasted the bones for Tatanka. Soooo we may have had a spine in our front yard when the family came to dinner, but I digress. We pulled out our ancient meat grinder to get the meat all ground and it died. Luckily Amazon came to the rescue and delivered the meat grinding attachment for my new stand mixer. It is truly a thing of beauty. Then we divided it all out (packaged extra for goat meatballs or goat burgers later) and followed the instructions in the seasoning kit. My man fired up the smoker, stuffed the jerky gun and away we went. Also, farming pack-ratedness for the win. We had left over wire mesh from rabbit cages that worked perfectly for jerky screens in the smoker.
Here’s what we learned:
Smoker placement matters and too close to the heat makes for too crispy jerky. Tasty, but overdone.
Out of the 5 flavors we tried (Original, Cajun, Hickory, Pepper and Garlic, Mesquite) Garyn liked them all except Mesquite, but didn’t have a clear favorite. Corra loved them all, full stop. Naomi only really liked Original and Hickory, Hickory being a far favorite. Layna kind of liked all of them except Pepper and Garlic, with Hickory and Mesquite being the favorites. Neil and I aren’t picky and will happily eat any jerky we can get our carnivore mitts on…even the overdone bits.
Next up, single pound batches to use up the left over seasonings and baking in the oven instead of smoking to see what kind of difference it makes!