This is an independent experimental project on the labs, by violet and myself.
Our question is this: can we, using primarily existing resources on the labs, process large quantities of meat into a stable (non-frozen) state, without an excess of labor or outside materials?
The artifact that we are creating is set of racks that can be used as a dehydrator or smoker. We are making them much larger than any I've used before because cows are big.
As far as I understand modern jerky preparation, it is generally dried/smoked at 145-155 deg f to prevent bacterial growth. I would like to experiment with traditional methods, which I vaguely understand to use lower temperatures and result in a more stable product, but we are trying the simple version first. I would appreciate any input on our method.
We are trying a simple process - marinated and dry rub w/ salt, then drying at 150 deg f. We are building 7' x 3' frames because we want batch sizes around 100 lbs wet weight. We built the first frame today and stretched steel uncoated (no zinc) wire to support the meat, and are testing it right now using a little propane burner (Paul, this project is on our dime for fuel and materials. Just so you know.) We've covered the whole structure with a canvas dropcloth and thus far are surprised and happy with the temperature behavior - evenly distributed and nicely stable.
Posted from my iphone in tim wheaton's milking stanchion.
paul wheaton wrote:Drying meat with propane probably isn't going to work well. When propane burns, it gives off a LOT of water.
And co2. I would worry about creating an anaerobic environment!
also if you are using steel wire mesh instead of zinc plated mesh because of health concerns I strongly suggest SS Wire.
FWI feed stores will sell Stainless steel wire fairly cheap (for elec. fences and general repaires)
J.O.T, DYI level 7.5, Maker of stuff and curmudgeon in training
So it's been a few days...how's that jerky coming?
Another technique you might try is confit. Pretty much you simmer the meat submerged in fat or oil for several hours at around 200 deg. When it's done you just slice off a chunk of what you need and leave the rest submerged in the fat. In a cool room it should last several months in a fridge about twice that.