Knowing what to do with wild game once it's been bagged and tagged can be difficult. Turning it into jerky may be the solution.
Jerky Everything (Countryman Press, 2015) by Pamela Braun is an easy to understand book filled with thorough instructions on how to make your own homemade jerky. Recipes range from beef to poultry, fish to fruit and even several vegetables. Wild game is no exception. With an exhaustive list of instructions on how to properly prepare meats as well as a myriad of recipes to try; Braun details how anyone can make the perfect jerky in the comfort of their own kitchen.
You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Jerky Everything.
Game meats are fun to make into jerky. Not that the process is any different, just that the flavors are unique. People who hunt deer usually know all about making jerky, because that’s how a lot of it ends up getting eaten. A deer has a lot of lean meat and not everyone is a fan. So what’s a hunter to do if he/she doesn’t want that meat to go to waste?
The same marinades, dry rubs, and pastes that you use on beef would all work great on game meats. But remember, because the meat itself tastes different, the end product is going to taste different.
A few tips to make your game meat jerky-making life easier:
• Make sure your wild game meat is coming from a reliable source. If an inexperienced hunter field dresses an animal and doesn’t do it properly, you could be exposed to some pretty nasty stuff.
• Know your meat. If you want to try making jerky out of bear meat, do a little research on bear meat. Some animals harbor certain types of bacteria and other not so good things, and you need to know how to work with these meats so you can neutralize the problem.
• Remember that this game meat isn’t going to taste just like beef or just like chicken ... it’s going to taste like the animal that it is. That means if you make a game meat jerky with the same marinade as a beef jerky, don’t be surprised when the game meat jerky doesn’t taste exactly the same.
• It’s perfectly fine to make jerky out of a piece of meat that you’ve had in the freezer for a month or two. You’ll just need to let it thaw a little bit. Don’t be concerned by the brown spots you may see on the meat; those happen when meat has been frozen. The meat is fine. Do not thaw the meat in the microwave. A lot of times this causes the meat to actually cook in spots and that will change the consistency of your slabs or strips to be marinated and dried.
• Electric knives. Not many people even use these anymore, but they can also be used for cutting jerky. I know I said no serrated knives, earlier, but the electric knife is different.
• Deli slicer. If you’re fortunate enough to have one of these machines at your disposal, feel free to use that. You’ll get beautifully even slices and you’ll have an easier time cutting meat for slab jerky.
• Game meats can be cut into slab or strip jerky; the choice is yours. What’s the difference between slab vs. strip jerky? Slab jerky is generally cut going with the grain of the meat in thin, wide pieces. Slab jerky is very chewy. Strip jerky is cut against the grain and forms a strip that’s only as wide as the meat is high. Strip jerky is tender and easy to chew. Feel free to cut your jerky any way that you like.
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