I have been asked many times for recipes for seasoning blends and marinades to flavor dehydrated meat. There are many who have tried the commercial packages supplied with their jerky guns or bought from different sites with less than stellar results. “No flavor, very bland,” says some. Others say, “Far too salty!” The truth is I have no clue what these packages taste like because I have always made my own seasonings from my store of herb/spice blends and seasoning mixes.
I determined that since the FDA studies show these meat cures do not alone help prevent pathogens, I might as well use what I know and love. According to FDA studies, although the spice and cure (nitrite) in marinades and dry seasoning mixes will help in the destruction of pathogens, marinating meat doesn’t make raw meat safe.
“Marinating alone did not result in significant reduction of the pathogen compared with whole beef slices that were not marinated,” concluded the study. So if nitrates and salt brines are not mega-important to the mix, there is no reason for my family to ingest them.
I flavor my meats with what I love. One recipe I use that my family enjoys is a “meatloaf” flavoring package I have created using my vegetable powders. Hungry for some Tuna jerky? I use a nice lemon-pepper seasoning on it and we eat hearty! Another one we find delicious is my take on Buffalo wing marinade which is quite good on chicken jerky. Or perhaps we are in the mood for a nice teriyaki flavor. So I marinate my meat in my homemade teriyaki sauce.
The sky is really the limit when you realize that jerky, just like any meat you may roast/grill/ cook, can be flavored in the same way. Your most important consideration when using your favorite recipes should be to make sure you are not adding additional oils or fats to the rub or marinade; that means no vegetable oils, butter, or dairy products.
I have included some of my favorite recipes for you in the full transcript but I encourage you to have fun with flavoring your jerky meats any way you wish! Montreal Steak Seasoning is great on London broil. KFC copycat seasoning blend tastes wonderful on chicken jerky. Flavor your seafood with a nice dill-cucumber mix. I am sure there is no end to the tastes you can think up.
PLEASE NOTE: When flavoring meats for dehydration, use a light hand and test your mix to see if your taste buds require more. Flavors will concentrate in the act of dehydration, so less is more in seasoning foods you are preparing for your machine. I always cook up a small sampling first after the meat has finished marinating to see what the taste is like. That way, I can determine if I need to add more seasoning or not. Setting the boys on fire during game day with buffalo chicken jerky that is too spicy does not make for a fun experience.
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