Ground Beef Jerky Recipe

I like this beef jerky recipe because it makes really good use of all the lean meat trimmings I often have. It's also an especially good recipe to use with meat other than beef.

If you are a hunter (or just a lover of game meat), you'll really appreciate being able to make tender deer jerky with this method.

Even though I'm a great proponent of using store-ground meat in some of my sausage making, when you're making jerky, you really should grind your own. You want VERY lean meat, and you want it coarsely ground. The only way to be sure of that is to prepare it yourself.

As with whole muscle jerky, it really doesn't matter what method you choose to use for drying this jerky.

Click Here if you want a Review of Jerky Drying Methods.
You will also have to choose a way to form the ground meat into jerky.

Forming Ground Jerky

There are 3 basic techniques you can consider for forming your ground meat into jerky. They are:

  • Extruding
  • The Sheet Method
  • Freezing and Slicing

1. Extruding

The jerky extruding machines that I have seen look a lot like large caulking guns. They have nozzle attachments that squirt out a flat 1 or 2 inch wide line of jerky mix.

I have to admit that I've never tried one of these gadgets. They look like they would work, but I suspect they aren't as easy to operate as they are represented to be.

I'm going to reserve my judgment for now.

2. Sheet Method

This method I have used. It works quite well, and it doesn't require any special equipment.

  • Take a large sheet pan, spray it with a lubricant like Pam, and cover it with waxed or parchment paper to fit the pan bottom.
  • Put an appropriate amount of your prepared jerky mix onto the paper-lined pan, and cover it with another sheet of waxed or parchment paper.
  • Use a rolling pin to roll out the jerky mix. You want it to be about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Remove the top layer of paper, trim the edges of the meat so you have a rectangle (more of less).
  • Put a fine mesh wire rack on top of the meat, turn the whole thing upside down (so the rack now rests on the counter), and peel off the other layer of paper.
  • Once the jerky has been dried, you take the entire sheet and quickly cut it into strips with a kitchen scissors. Voila! Jerky.

3. Freezing and Slicing Method

This is my favorite way to prepare a ground beef jerky recipe, but it does take at least one piece of more specialized equipment to make it work easily: An electric meat slicer.

  • Take an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan (the kind that is 2-3 inches deep) and cover it with a large sheet of plastic wrap. You want enough wrap to line the entire pan bottom and sides, with some left over.
  • Take your prepared beef jerky recipe mix and pack it into the plastic lined pan until it is level with the top. Make sure to pack it so there are no voids or air bubbles.
  • Fold the extra plastic wrap over the top of the pan (add another sheet if you need to) and put the entire pan into the freezer.
  • When you're ready to dry jerky, take the now-frozen block of meat out of the freezer, unwrap it, and slice it into 1/4 inch thick strips on your electric meat slicer. Then put the slices on racks and dry them by your chosen method.

You can remove the pan from the meat package after it has frozen, and just store the wrapped jerky block until you want to use it.

I often have 2 or 3 blocks in my freezer at any given time.

I have to say that I've tried just about every way I can think of to slice the frozen jerky, and the only thing that works well for me is the electric slicer. And that works very well.

Dakota Ground Beef Jerky Recipe

  • 5 lbs very lean coarse ground beef (or venison)
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon fine ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes or 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 level teaspoon Prague powder #1 or Instacure #1 or 2 teaspoons Morton Tender Quick Curing Salt.

Mix all the ingredients very well with the ground meat (as you would for sausage). Cover and put into refrigeration for 6 hours or up to over night.

Form the jerky strips by your favorite method and dry them as you would a whole muscle beef jerky recipe.

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