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Salt-less jerky

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Lord Eoin MacKenzie:
looking   buy or make no sodium jerky for snacking.   I have CHF and need reduced sodium diet. Please Help.....

Sir Charles deMouton-Black:
I'll betcha there ain't no no-salt salt! Salt is a preservative, so you are giving up some storability. So is pepper, so up the pepper & other spices.

I make my own jerky, but more like biltong as I learned it from my sun'n'air who has South African friends. Most commercially packed jerky that I've seen (and tasted some) are too sweet and salty. I'd be callin' it fakey-jerky.

My rig is a cardboard box, the waxed kind like the veggie growers use to ship their stuff on to the stores. Any size in the area of 12 x 18 x 24-30". I set it up so there is a free air flow but with baffles that I can adjust to control air flow. Heat is a 100 watt incandescent bulb, mine is in a shop-light rig. Airflow is a 3" computer fan I got for about $10 at a dollar store but I'll bet you can do better. I cut a 3" hole where air from the caged fan can enter. I have 2 bamboo dowels pushed through to hang BBQ skewers holding the strips of VERY LEAN steak or Roast cut cross-grain about 1" wide and 1/4" thick.

After cutting my meat I dry rub with salt, pepper, and corriander. You might have to experiment before you get it right. I spread the meat on a cookie or pot rack to dry inside a sunny window for about a day before arranging the strips on skewers. (If flies are a problem - take appropriate precautions.) I don't think it matters if the corriander is fine or medium grind. It doesn't matter if you buy it or harvest it from the wife's herb garden.

It takes about 24 hours to dry, longer if your strips are too thick. look into it after the first 12 hours or so. size does matter, so any smaller pieces will be done first, and no doubt will dissappear as "Cooks Privilege". Speeding up the process doesn't work as it will result in case-hardeneding. Use the pinch test; If it feels gummy (Like a gummie-bear) when pinched it is not done. Leaving it too long will harden it too much. The sweet spot is in between, when it has just a bit of resiliance in the pinch. To be safe, I store it in the freezer until just before leaving on that trip.

No salt? find herbs and spices that suit your tastes. I suggested corriander, and imagine you are on safari, but there ya go.

Just make it with out salt, the natives of this country did.

Jerky has became a snake food more than a survival food.   I am amazed how many people who lecture people about how you can't cook a steak beyond half raw or you'll dry it out and make it tough will pig out on jerky given the chance.   But that is a subject for another day. ;D   

If you are going for the commercial flavour but not the salt look for low sodium soy or coconut enzyme.  If going for other options, i have used salt free beef broth infused with garlic and herbs (just boiling broth with garlic and herbs) then reducing it by 80-90%.  If this is home made broth, you are close to pocket soup stage.    Marinate beef, venison or bison in this and dry it. Adding liquid smoke will give it an over the fire flavour or do it over a fire.   It is good to eat or adds to soups on the trail quite nicely.   

Sir Charles deMouton-Black:
The "net" has jerky recipes for any taste, including no/low salt;




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