Meat jerky is always a win. I grew up receiving jerky gifts from my aunties. They would always make all kind of jerky every Sunday as if it was a family ritual of some sort. Why not, though? Jerky is such an easy and delicious snack that you can take with you anywhere!
What is it, though? Jerky is generally preserved meat. It is preserved by salting and drying. The lack of moisture in the meat allows for the meat’s shelf life to last longer.
You can never go wrong with a luscious piece of slim meat, preserved for our daily snacking.
What cut of pork is best for jerky?
For us cooks at home, we know that good fat content in meat is a good thing. It’s a good thing when we make stew, grill, or even fry! Fat gives flavor, color and amour. But that’s not completely the case for jerky. For jerky, it’s important to use lean meat because the presence of fat actually allows the jerky to spoil faster and really, it’s not such a pleasant texture in the mouth. You must use only 10% of fat or even less!
For this recipe, we use pork tenderloin because of the neutral flavor of the cut. Pork tenderloin is, you guessed it, the most tender part of the pork. When you first purchase it, it will have a film of fat around it but you can simply trim that away. As long as the fat isn’t really marbled around the meat, you’re good! Some recipes, mostly the Asian recipes, will tell you to use pork collar and mince the meat. This will have a significant amount of fat but the Asian recipes usually double mince the pork and dehydrate.
Is it safe to make pork jerky?
It is completely safe to make pork jerky. In this recipe, we use the oven, which cooks the thin slices of pork through and through.
It’s always important to take extra measures for safety. Things to consider when making pork jerky are:
- Make sure you use a very clean chopping board and knife when slicing the meat.
- Make sure the oven is clean before using it. The pork will be undergoing a slow process of cooking under low heat. The most crucial time to cook the jerky is the first hour. Make sure that nothing can contaminate the meat during that time.
- Before storing, label the food item on when you made it to know how long it’s been, just in case you don’t finish your jerky right away.
How to make pork jerky in a dehydrator
If you’re one of the lucky ones who have a dehydrator at home, you can totally use that to make pork jerky! You simply slice the meat to the thinness you prefer, marinate then dry!
Dehydrators usually come in the form of a box. This box has 5-8 racks and shelves. Each rack has a mesh-like bottom to allow air to evenly circulate around whatever it is you’re dehydrating. In our case, we’re dehydrating pork slices.
Be sure to evenly spread out the meat in each rack and place each rack on its designated shelf. Turn the temperature of the dehydrator to 165F and dry the pork for 4-5 hours. If you’re jerky reaches the inside temperature of 160F, then it’s done!
Just a tip, once the jerky is done, leave the pork to cool out for about 10 minutes. The meat will need to rest before it’s ready to eat!
How long does pork jerky last?
Jerky’s shelf life depends on how it was processed and packaged. Store-bought jerky that is vacuum-sealed can last up to about 2 months in your pantry. Once it is opened, always check the label on how to store the jerky. Some labels will say refrigerate immediately after opening and then the jerky will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Those store-bought jerky might have more added preservatives to it, then you can store it for longer.
Homemade jerky on the other hand will last in the fridge up to 1 week in an airtight container. I’m only suggesting to store them in the fridge because it’s the safest way to go. You don’t want to risk the possibility of eating spoiled food.
Sweet Chilli Pork Jerky
- 500 g Pork tenderloin
- 2 tbsp Chilli sauce
- 3 tbsp Soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Maple syrup or honey
- ¼ tsp Curing salt optional
- Trim the fat on the meat and place it in the fridge for 1-2h to make it easier to cut into strips.
- Slice the meat into strips AGAINST the grain, thinner strips will take less time to dehydrate and thicker strips will be chewier. 1/8th to 1/4 inches thick strips are good.
- Mix all the ingredients in the marinade and put it in a bowl or ziplock bag.
- Add the meat and let it marinate in the refrigerator for least 8h and preferably 24h for best flavor.
- Remove the meat from the fridge.
- Dry the meat strips for 2-6 hours at 140-170F (60-75C) depending on the thickness of your slices. You can either use a dehydrator or lay your meat strips on a metal grid in the oven. (Place aluminum foil or a tray under the meat to catch the drips)
- The general rule is that your jerky is ready when it bends and cracks. Enjoy!