Holy wow these are definitely one of my favorite and best creations. They are way addictive, and at least in my house, don’t last very long! Best of all, they are a great protein rich snack, and while I don’t know how long they last out of the fridge, they should be a pretty safe and easy energy source on the go. They aren’t as dry as traditional jerky, they are a little softer, but they are still dehydrated, so they should be pretty well-preserved. Just refrigerate, as dehydrator jerky from what I understand, doesn’t have that long of a shelf life.
My first batch and second batch were slightly different. Mainly because the first batch had a higher fat content (25%) and wasn’t dehydrated as long. The flavor was great, and I think the sweetness of the fruit dispersed more because of the higher fat content, but they didn’t dry as well. I wouldn’t recommend using more than 15% fat because of this. I ended up, after 12+ hours in the dehydrator, sticking them in a hot oven to ensure they were cooked through, and to render away some of the extra fat. Some minor roadblocks, but overall a huge success. They didn’t even make it to the refrigerator because they were devoured so fast!
- 1 lb ground beef, I used 75% lean from US Wellness Meats
- 1/4-1/3 cup dried apple (unsweetened, unsulphered) pieces
- 1/4-1/3 cup dried currents or raisins (unsweetened, unsulphered)
- 2 heaping tablespoons almond butter
- 2-3 tablespoons chia seeds
- Cinnamon, salt, pepper, a little cumin, thyme
The second batch was a double batch, since they went so fast the first time. I used more fruit and added pumpkin seeds to the mix. You can play around with the nut/seed/fruit ratio depending on how sweet you want them. Here, the dried fruit gives it a hint of sweetness, against the nutty seeds and savory beef. They were a little less sweet, but I liked them more in the end.
- 2 lb grass-fed ground beef 85% lean, Trader Joes
- 1/3 cup dried apple
- 1/2 cup currants
- 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup almond butter
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- Cinnamon, cumin,salt, pepper, thyme, paprika, turmeric
These dried nicely, and I didn’t need to finish them in the oven. I would definitely recommend using the leaner beef. I dehydrated them for a good 18 hours without touching them.
- Mix together and roll or press out to 1/8-1/4 in thick
- Cut into strips, separate, and press the edges to smooth
- Arrange on dehydrator rack and dehydrate for 15-18 hours
- You shouldn’t have to even use the oven, but if for whatever reason (too much moisture in the house, too thick, too much fat etc), after 15-20 hours there is still a little pink inside, just blast them in the oven at 450 for a few minutes. I think if you use beef with a lower fat content, you shouldn’t have much of a problem.