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Jerky is an excellent snack that you can take practically anywhere. Not only does it travel well, but it is packed full of nutrients.
If you are making some dietary changes and feel that you are always hungry, try snacking on some jerky. It will not only fill you up, but it is full of healthy protein too. If you love working out but hate the protein shakes, try getting your daily needed protein with a few pieces of jerky.
If you plan on making your own jerky, will you use a smoker or dehydrator? Is the meat smoked and then dehydrated? Is there a difference between smoked jerky and dehydrated jerky?
Smoked and dehydrated are both great ways to make jerky and each come with their own pros and cons. If you are looking to make jerky rather quickly, then a dehydrator will work best. If you want lots of flavors and have plenty of time, then smoked jerky is the way to go.
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How Do You Know When Jerky Is Done Dehydrating?
Jerky is one of the most convenient snacks. It’s small enough you can shove it in your pocket to take with you and it’s also packed full of protein. This snack is excellent for camping, working out at the gym, or just because.
If you plan on making your own jerky to take with you, how do you know when it’s done dehydrating and safe to eat?
- Use a food thermometer: The best way to know if your jerky is done is by using a food thermometer. Your dehydrator should be set to 130º-140ºF, this is the ideal dehydrating temperature.
- Check the surface: If the jerky looks greasy and soft, it still needs more time. If the jerky starts to look leathery, then it should be done.
- Try the dry test: Once you feel that your jerky is done, try the dry test. Remove the jerky from your dehydrator and place it on a drying rack or paper towel to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled to room temperature, bend the jerky slightly. The jerky should be able to bend easily and not break. It if rips in the middle of the bend, then it isn’t dehydrated enough. If it ends up snapping, then it’s been dehydrated for too long.
- Check for taste and texture: If you are still unsure, you can always check by tasting it and seeing what the texture is like. The meat will be safe to eat since you have already pre cooked it. Make sure it not only tastes good but has the same texture as store bought jerky. If it crumbles when you take a bite, it’s overcooked. The texture should be kind of like gum, a bit tough to chew but not too tough where it hurts your mouth.
Is Homemade Or Store Bought Jerky Safer?
There is always a risk of getting sick when cooking with meat in the kitchen. Even if you cooked the meat thoroughly, you can get sick from how you handled the meat before cooking.
Though you cook jerky before dehydrating it, is it still safe when it’s homemade? Are you better off purchasing your jerky from the store?
Jerky can be tricky to make homemade. If you don’t do each step carefully, you could end up with spoiled meat. There is always the risk that you can get sick with E.coli from homemade jerky as well.
The choice of homemade or store bought is up to you. You can go the homemade route and have some great-tasting jerky. You can also go the store bought route and end up getting sick from that jerky too. There is no right or wrong answer for which jerky is safer.
If you do end up making your jerky at home, follow these steps to ensure that your jerky has been cooked properly and there is minimal chance of illness.
- Use lean cuts of meat. The fat around the meat will end up going rancid much faster than lean meat.
- Cut your meat into thin slices. ⅛ to ¼ inch slices of meat works the best.
- Cook the meat to a safe temperature. To ensure that your meat is safe to eat, cook it to 150º-160ºF. If you are working with turkey or chicken, the temperature will need to reach 165ºF.
- Dry the meat at low temperatures. If the drying/dehydrating process is too hot, the outside of the meat will form a crust that won’t let the interior moisture evaporate. If there is still interior moisture, your jerky can go bad very quickly.
- Store the jerky properly. Place the dehydrated jerky in an air-tight container. You can use Tupperware or a ziplock bag with the air pressed out.
Is Jerky Healthy?
There are some experts that say that eating any type of red meat is not good for you. When it comes to jerky, it can be easy to overeat on a lot of red meat. Are there any health benefits to eating jerky?
Is jerky really bad for you?
There are several health benefits you can get from eating jerky. However, like most other foods, everything is in moderation. You can end up eating too much jerky and end up not receiving any of the benefits that come from beef jerky. Here are a few of the health benefits you can get from jerky.
- Jerky is full of protein. If you are looking for a quick, protein-packed snack, jerky might just be for you. 100 grams of jerky contains about 32 grams of protein. Most people only need around 75 grams of protein per day. If you are planning on losing weight, your body needs around 90 grams of protein per day. Eating jerky is a great way to fill up on protein.
- Jerky can aid your immune system. Jerky can help keep your energy up and boost your immune system to keep you healthy. Jerky contains both iron and zinc. Without iron, your body won’t be able to burn fat efficiently and you will be exhausted. Zinc focuses on healing your body. Every time you work out and tear your muscles, zinc will help heal your muscles so you can get stronger.
- Jerky won’t raise your insulin levels. Meat gets a bad rap because of all the fats and preservatives associated with it. When you eat jerky, you don’t get much of the preservatives. In order to properly preserve jerky, you just need salt. You won’t have to worry about the preservatives messing with your insulin levels. Jerky will also have much less fat since it has been cooked ahead of time and then dehydrated. Most jerky is close to 97% fat-free.
If you are wanting jerky with a lot of flavors, then smoked jerky is the way to go. If you want your jerky to last for a while, then dehydrated is the choice for you.
Whichever option you prefer, jerky makes for an excellent, healthy, go-to snack.