DRYING, COOKING & TESTING JERKY

Jerky is best dried at 63-68°C (145-155°F) for at least 4 hours, then cooked in the oven at 135°C (275°F) until it reaches a core temperature of at least 71°C (160°F), which takes around 10 minutes. Ensuring meat has been heated to at least 71°C (160°F) during drying (or after heating in the oven) is a safety precaution to kill pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli. After drying, use paper towels to remove any moisture. Cool the jerky to room temperature, because it is more pliable when warm. Jerky should bend, not snap, and no moisture is felt when pressed. Cool completely before storage.
  
DRYING JERKY IN AN OVEN 
Jerky can be made at home without any extra equipment: you can use your oven! Preheat oven to 80°C (175°F) or as low a temperature as possible if your oven has a higher minimum temperature i.e. 150°C (300°F). Remember to use an oven thermometer to ensure the oven temperature is reached (and remains there). Line a baking tray with foil and place at the bottom of the oven to catch any drips. Spray racks with non-stick cooking spray and place jerky on top of each rack, in the opposite direction of the rack so the meat doesn’t drop through the rack as it dries (and shrinks) and doesn’t touch one another. Place racks in the oven, allowing at least an inch of space between each rack for air flow. Dry for 2-6 hours, checking from around two hours to see when the jerky is ready. Jerky can also be cold-smoked to add extra flavour after drying. 
  
DRYING JERKY IN A DEHYDRATOR 
Using a dehydrator is the most energy efficient jerky method. Place jerky onto each dehydrator rack so they don’t touch one another. Place racks in the dehydrator, alternating directions of jerky with each tray. Dry for around 6 hours on high i.e. 75°C (165°F) until the jerky is ready. If the jerky was dehydrated under 71°C (160°F), dry jerky in the oven for around 10 minutes at 135°C (275°F) until the jerky reaches a core temperature of at least 71°C (160°F). Jerky can also be cold-smoked to add extra flavour after drying. 
  
DRYING JERKY IN A HOT SMOKER 
A smoker adds great flavour to your homemade jerky! However, it is easy to over-smoke the thin pieces of jerky – do not use any extra smoking chips. Smoke jerky on low for 2- 3 hours then finish jerky in a food dehydrator or oven until dry. 
  
COLD SMOKING JERKY 
Jerky can be cold-smoked raw then dried, or dry and then cold-smoke. Cold-smoking adds extra flavour but does not dry the meat.
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