Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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Caribbean Jerk Jerky

Looking for something portable to throw in your pack when you need fuel out on the trail? Consider homemade jerky.

A recipe from the Taste of the Wild by Chef and Author, Eileen Clarke

I admit it. I love jerky. And nothing seems so doggone right as carrying a bit of last year’s wild critter game jerky in my pocket when I’m hunting for this year’s wild critter.  And because I’m not quite as young as I used to be (and who of us is?) I really like burger jerky.  Now you can make burger jerky from your favorite spice mix, be it Mexican, Italian, Buffalo Wing or whatever, but I prefer to cut out the middle man and mix up my own spice mixes.  And this Caribbean mix is a favorite.

I use 6 tablespoons of this Caribbean Jerk seasoning mix for each 1 pound of meat which would leave some jerky spice mix left over. As you taste test your jerky, you may find you want more Carib flavor, if not, use the remaining mix on steaks, boring scrambled eggs or a baked potato.  One more thing: this recipe is made with all ground venison. You can also add beef fat: 2 ounces fat with 14 ounces lean is about 15% fat.

The Jerky

1 pound ground venison

6 tablespoons Caribbean Jerky Spice mix (see recipe)

  1. Mix the meat and seasoning mix and let it sit a few hours, covered tightly, in the fridge. To test the flavor, cook a 1-inch ball of raw jerky mix in the microwave for 20 seconds. Add flavor, if necessary, retest, then proceed to shaping the jerky.
  2. Shape the jerky mix with a rolling pin or jerky gun, placing it on a metal rack (with a foil-lined pan below to catch the drips). Let it air dry. Preheat the oven to 160⁰F, then cook 3-4 hours, until completely cooked but still bendable.  If it’s brittle, it’s gone too far.
  3. Let the jerky cool and air dry, on the counter, 2-3 hours, then store in re-sealable plastic bags. (In a moist climate, hang the finished jerky in a muslin jelly bag 2-3 days to dry completely.) Store your jerky in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, or in the freezer up to 3 months.


Caribbean Jerk Seasoning Mix

¼ cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp ground allspice

2 tsp dry leaf thyme

2 tsp cinnamon

4 tsp onion powder

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp salt

There are at least two ways to shape burger jerky. If you’re not making a lot of jerky and don’t want to invest in any specialized equipment, you can shape it between two pieces of plastic wrap. Lay the first one down, then shape the jerky mix into a ball.
Now lay another slice of plastic wrap on top, and roll the jerky out with a rolling pin until it’s about 1/8 to ¼ inch thick. As you would with a pie crust, neaten up the edges, so the whole is uniform thickness and the jerky will all be done about the same time. (Given that we’re cooking at 160⁰F, there’s a lot of leeway, but you don’t want some areas raw and others crispy.)
If you make more than an occasional batch of jerky, a jerky gun is a real timesaver. Not only do they shoot out jerky mix quickly, but it will all be the exact same thickness, making prep and cooking simpler. Prices range from $20 on up, depending on size and features. The less expensive models are basically a caulking gun; the one in the photo is from Lem ($47ish), and holds more jerky mix than the red plastic model (still about $20) I used for years. I would recommend that you buy yourself a small caliber rifle bore mop (2-3 inch) and cleaning rod specifically to clean those tiny nozzles. It makes the job a lot easier.

For more of Eileen Clarke’s recipes, check out her wild game cookbooks. The latest is Tenderize the Wild: Marinades, brines and rubs for wild game.  For Christmas 2017, she’ll be debuting a new recipe subscription app on her web site: fish, big game, upland and waterfowl, sausage and jerky—all wild game recipes. or call her at 406-521-0273



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