From the back cover
Jerky is the most popular meat snack today. It's low in fat and calories and high in protein, making it a favorite among hikers, hunters, bikers, skiers and those on the go. Make beef jerky, venison jerky, and much more.
Here's the do-it-yourself guide to making your own beef jerky in an oven, smoker or food dehydrator with strips or ground beef, venison, poultry, fish and even soy protein. You'll learn the basics for concocting a simple teriyaki marinade as well as easy gourmet recipes for such exotic jerky delights as Bloody Mary, Chicken Tandoori, Mole, Cajun and Honeyed Salmon Jerky. You'll discover the subtleties of cooking with jerky to make everything from slaw, hash and backpacker goulash to cake and ice cream.
Finally, you don't have to pay a fortune for jerky at the convenience store. And you'll get dozens of beef jerky recipes.
I've made jerky from wild turkey, bear, pheasant, antelope, deer, goose, moose and elk. Deer meat is still my favorite, although moose and elk make good jerky, too. Last year, my wife Colleen and I took two venison hindquarters-sliced the meat thin, cut it into strips and marinated it in everything from Mary Bell's teriyaki to her onion concoction. Every recipe Mary Bell has shared with us has been great. Four weekends a year, 11 members of our family get together for campouts. We cook over an open pit and snack on dried fruits and jerky. We think of these outings as experiential learning where we reach consensus and peace of mind as a family. And we're always more likely to reflect around a campfire with a piece of jerky in hand. I have yet to be in a camp that doesn't like jerky. It's a staff of life, like bread and water. When you make it yourself, it's one of those foods that brings you closer to nature and connects you to your ancestors who survived by living off the land.
-- John Kvasnicka, Executive Director, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association
Introduction by Mary Bell
True confessions. I was once a vegetarian. It was the early 70s when I decided vegetarianism was a gentler, cheaper way for a single mother of two to live. The three of us had been vegetarians about a year when my 5-year-old son shouted out from the back seat of the car one day, "I don't care if you're a vegetarian, Mom. I want a hamburger." I heard him loud and clear and drove to the nearest burger joint.
It was at a time when I was struggling to take responsibility for securing our food supply. We had a large garden and I dried food as a method of preservation. Once my son let me know he wanted meat in our diet, I know I had to develop the skills to bag my own. That's when I joined an archery league. One night, friends from my archery league brought over a deer and we butchered it at my kitchen table. I learned to cook venison and began to make jerky. When I started drying food, I began outdoors with a stack of old window screens with abysmal success. Oven-drying was a bit more reliable. It was the electric food dehydrator, however, that opened the door to successful food drying.
As my passion for food drying grew, I sold food dehydrators at home and garden shows, fairs, and sports shows. I promoted the concept of food drying in North and Central America. I wrote two books on the subject, Food Dehydration Made Simple (Magic Mill, 1981) and Mary Bell's Complete Food Dehydrator Cookbook (William Morrow, 1994). I continue to teach classes and talk about food drying to just about anybody who'll listen. The more I learn, the more it fuels my curiosity.
In my travels, people often hit me with a barrage of questions about making beef jerky. Is jerky hard to make? How do you know when jerky is dry? What's a good marinade? What are the best beef jerky recipes? Is it safe to eat? Making jerky, I soon learned, is why many people purchase food dehydrators.
If you buy a lot of beef jerky, if you hunt, fish, hike, or if you're just looking for a healthy low-fat snack or perhaps you're one of those people who just took a new dehydrator out of the box and it is sitting on the kitchen counter and your family is yelling "Dad, beef jerky, please," this book is for you.
I've provided information on how to make jerky out of strips of meat or fish, how to make ground beef jerky, as well as making jerky from non-meat products. I've addressed safety concerns. For a broader understanding, I included a history. Then, hold onto your taste buds, the best jerky marinades I've ever tasted are included. Plus there are delicious and fun recipes using jerky in cooking and baking-there's jerky stew, jerky bread, jerky cake, jerky frosting and even jerky ice cream.
I've spent years collecting recipes, suggestions, tips, techniques and ideas from a variety of sources. I've experimented and tested every recipe in this book. I've dried jerky in dehydrators, in smokers and in the oven. This book is more than just instructions and recipes-it represents a community of people. Throughout these pages you will find friends who shared their wisdom and experiences with me. The jerkies and recipes for using them were taste-tested by family, staff at L'Etoile, friends and show audiences. My husband Joe was the lucky one who tested the vegetarian jerkies. He's a great guy with a good heart. Odessa Piper, owner of L'Etoile, a restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin, opened her kitchen for testing and created the opportunity for Chef Gene Cowan to help with the marinades and superb flavor blendings. Editor Annie Beckmann was a treat to work with throughout all stages of this book's evolution. Doris Mueller scoured the library system and found helpful information. Gratitude is expressed to the Don Engebretson family for their help and guidance.
My determination to be self-sufficient has turned into a life philosophy. Food represents our most intimate link and essential connection to the land. It is our source of health and vitality, the centerpiece of family, ethnic and community traditions. Food reflects who we are and what we value. I believe the more we assume responsibility for our food supply and reduce our dependence on the food industry, the more we lessen our impact on the planet. Taking food from the land around us and preserving it in our homes provides us with a thoughtful alternative. Drying meat and fish is intrinsic to this approach.
It's been more than 25 years since my son Eric shouted for a burger from the back seat. Last fall, he started working at an archery shop and within six months he was hitting the bull's-eye square on at 20 yards, 95 percent of the time. And every once in awhile, my son and other friends still bring me hunks of raw meat to try out new jerky marinades.
A good book for jerky fans everywhere. . . . Mary Bell is the undisputed queen of the dehydrator, the holder of a reliable jerky recipe for every occasion and, with her new book, Just Jerky, an answer to every jerk's question.
-- George Hesselberg, Wisconsin State Journal
Mary Bell delivers
Vegetarian jerky? Sure...and you'll be amazed at what she's come up with. We're not just talking about vegetables, either.
And to finish it all off, here's a grabber for ya...jerky desserts! Very nicely done and highly recommended.
-- Mimi Miller, Mimi's Cyber Kitchen
Just Jerky offers deer hunters plenty of recipes to chew on.
Here's a do-it-yourself guide to making your own jerky, just in time to make good use of the venison bagged in the recent deer hunting season.
-- Karen Herzog, Milwaukee (WI) Journal Sentinel
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