Jerkay gun making is one of the oldest methods of food preservation. It dates back to 1500s when Incans preserved llama and other games by drying strips in the sun for hours. The name derives from the Incan “charki,” which literally means “dried meat”. Because it was lightweight and durable, jerkay became a popular choice for settlers in the American West. There are many methods, tools and varieties of jerkay making available today. It’s easy to do at home, and requires very little equipment.
WHOLE MUSCLE Vs GROUND JERKAY
You immediately think of jerky as the savory leather pieces that you can rip off your teeth with a little chew. This tough and chewy texture is created by barberitos slicing whole muscle fibers with grain. Ground jerkay, also known as formed or restructured, does not require marinating and has a chewier texture that is snack-sticky.
TOOLS OF TRADE JERKAY
You can make jerkay easily with a meat slicer (whole). If you make a lot of jerky, it is worth investing in a meat slicer. This will ensure uniform drying results by ensuring that your slices are evenly sliced.
jerkay Gun (Ground): For uniform pieces, using a jerky gun is your best bet. Simply load your seasoned ground meat onto a metal rack or tray and press it down. Many jerkay guns have multiple attachments that allow you to make either flat strips or circular sticks.
Rolling Pin (Ground): No jerkay gun? It’s not a problem. You can place a portion of your ground beef between two pieces wax paper or plastic wrap and roll it into 1/4″ thick. Cut the meat into small pieces and transfer to your wire rack.
Wire racks (for oven or smoker): Wire racks are essential for making whole and ground jerkays. If you have an oven, you can use metal skewers to hang your jerky slices. To catch any drippings, place a cookie sheet on top of the rack.
CHOOSING YOUR MEAT JERKAY GUN
You can make jerkay from any type of lean meat. You should remove any visible fat or silver skin from the meat. This will help prevent it from drying out and reduce the chance of your jerky becoming rancid. Fresh meat is the best. Make jerky right away. A 3 lb. pound of meat will yield 1 lb dry jerky. Each PS jerkay kit is designed to hold 5 lbs of meat. Expect around 2 lbs dry jerky.