Instead of using thin slices of beef or chicken, you can use ground all-white turkey meat, all dark, or a mixture of both for this tasty jerky. The best part is that you can control the amount of salt that goes into it.
It is loaded with umami flavors and has just the right amount of chewiness. Follow these instructions exactly and you will have a jerky that can be stored at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or freezer.
- 1 pound ground turkey
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons grated onion
- 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 clove garlic, grated (peeling and then freezing the garlic first make it easier to grate)
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
Keep the ground turkey meat chilled until you are ready to use it.
In a large bowl, mix together lemon juice and zest, onion, tamari or soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, olive oil, paprika, garlic, salt, pepper and optional liquid smoke and cayenne pepper.
Let the ingredients sit for 15 minutes for the flavors to marry.
Add the ground turkey and combine well. Clean hands are the best kitchen tool for this job. Put the mixture into the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Lay out a sheet of waxed or parchment paper on a work surface. Scoop about 1/4 of the jerky mixture onto it. Either pat it down by hand or put a second sheet of waxed or parchment paper on top and roll it out to a thickness of 1/4 inch.
Remove the top sheet of waxed or parchment paper, if you used one. Put one of the dehydrator trays on top of the jerky and flip the whole thing over, thus transferring the jerky to the dehydrator tray.
Remove the remaining sheet of waxed or parchment paper.
Patch any holes by patting in more raw jerky mixture.
Dehydrate for 4 to 6 hours at 155 F. Check after four hours. You want your jerky fully dried but chewy, not crunchy. Don't worry if you're not 100 percent sure that you've correctly identified that consistency. Just follow the food safety tips below.
Ensuring a Safe Product
Not all dehydrator's temperature settings are accurate. You want the meat to get to an internal temperature of 160 to 165 F to be safe. But jerky is so thin that it can be difficult to insert a meat thermometer into it.
This finishing step in the oven ensures it's fully cooked to a safe temp. However, the brief finishing step cooks the meat and does not replace the lengthier step of drying the meat in the dehydrator.
To ensure a safe product, when your jerky seems dried but still chewy, transfer it to baking trays and finish it off in a preheated 275 F oven for 10 minutes.
Storing Turkey Jerky
Your turkey jerky must be completely dried and cooled before you package it. While it is cooling, it will give off some moisture, and you don't want that condensing in the packaging.
You can store it in a glass jar or a plastic zip-lock bag. Label the package with the contents, "Turkey Jerky," and the date you dried it.
Your jerky should be kept in a cool, dark place. For longer storage, keep it in the refrigerator or freezer.