Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ground Meat Jerky 101

Ok, as promised I will tell you how super easy it is to make jerky out of ground beef.  You could use ground turkey, chicken, pork, venison, etc.  ANY ground meat will do.
My beef that I used was 80% lean.  I would think that you should use at least that lean if not more.

I will be showing several pictures along the way to help explain this easy procedure.
You can use either your oven or a dehydrator.  I used both, as I made 2 pounds.  They took the same amount of time - but we both agreed that the dehydrator jerky was the best consistency. (BOTH are great though).

Here is a picture of the seasoning that I used.  I bought it at Rural King, but I am sure you can find jerky seasoning/cure at many places.

This was approximately $6.  There are 6 seasoning and 6 cure packages per box.  You need one seasoning and one cure for each pound of ground meat.
My meat was on sale for $1.99/lb., therefore each pound of jerky cost less than $3. 
I see 2 oz. packages at the store for more money than that.

Preheat oven at 170*, if using oven.
Set aside one pound of meat in a mixing bowl.  Take on packet seasoning and one packet cure and dump into a small bowl.  Add approximately 1 tablespoon water to the mix.  Stir until well blended.  Add to ground meat - and mix thoroughly through the meat. (I used my hands).  Place the meat in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to blend flavors (over night is fine too).

You will need a sandwich bag or couple pieces of saran wrap.  Cut sandwich bag down each side, so it lays completely open.  You will also need something about 1/8" deep to use as guides.  I used a paint stirrer that I broke in two.  You need a rolling pin.

Make smalls balls of the ground meat - approx. walnut size (smaller than golf ball size).
Place on one side of plastic bag - mash a little - fold other side of bag over the top.  Place guides on each side and roll flat.  (The guides keep it from getting too thin)

Hopefully this picture helps explain what I said a little better.

Peel meat off plastic and set either on dehydrator rack or on a baking rack.  I added foil under my baking racks, as I didn't know how much grease I would lose.
I lost perhaps a 1/2 teaspoon of grease in the dehydrator (for 1 lb.) and less than that in the oven for 1 lb.    I thought that was amazing.

Seasoned, pre-cooked meat on dehydrator tray.

Seasoned, pre-cooked meat on baking racks in the oven.

I let both the oven and the dehydrator go for 2 1/2 hours.  Jerky was done.  I blotted it a bit with paper towels, and then placed in a sealed container in the frig.  Keep your jerky REFRIGERATED (it is meat).  It will be great in the frig for at least 2 weeks, or you can freeze for longer storage.

Cooked jerky.  As you can see there was very little shrinkage!  This stuff tastes so good.  We have even let others taste it, and they thought it was good too.

There are many flavors of seasoning available, so you can experiment and see what you like the best.  You can roll it into chips or strips - any shape you'd like.  Just keep it about 1/8" thick.

It doesn't get much easier than that.  This is my first time making jerky, and I will surely be doing it often.  G absolutely loves it.  We often buy jerky around the holidays as gifts, and a 2 lb. bag costs over $25! (Uncle Mike's). 
We have always liked jerky that really seemed like a piece of meat and not a piece of veneer!

I hope you give this a try.  It is super easy to make and so very tasty!!!!!



  1. Thanks for the great tutorial. Jerky is so expensive. I've never tried hamburger jerky in my before -We will have to try it. I bet that it tastes better than store bought too! Have a great day!

    1. You are so welcome. Hope you try it.
      It really tastes wonderful.
      Have a good day.

  2. Wow, and pictures to boot! this is great, Cheryl! also, how much fat dripped out, did you put a solid tray on the bottom of the dehydrator?

    1. There was many a half teaspoon of grease on the bottom of dehydrator. Mine has a solid tray underneath. If yours does not have a tray - you could place on a cooking sheet or place some foil below racks.

      Fat was totally minimal. I was amazed.

    2. I got the printed out version at home and read it more thoroughly and saw you had already told us that! I too am surprised at how little fat there is, and I think it might be sometimes we see liquid in the fry pan as fat but it could also be some water...which would evaporate in the dehydrator...and maybe the powder mixes have some coagulant to bind up the fat so it doesn't release and makes for a tenderer jerky...just thinking !

    3. I WAS SURPRISED TOO. Don't know the answer either - all I know is it sure is tasty!

  3. Thank you for sharing how you made it! We are huge fans of jerky here and it is just so expensive to buy in the stores. Last year for Christmas my cousin made jerky with thin strips of tri tip roast and have my hubby a gallon sized bag full of it...best gift he could have given to my Jeft. :)

    1. Debbie hope this makes you want to try making some yourself. It truly is good.
      G has received gifts like that too, and he was ecstatic!
      Have a great day