Video – Homemade Chicken Jerky
Why You Need to Try This Amazing Chicken Jerky Recipe
Chicken jerky is often overlooked, overshadowed by its more popular counterparts, beef jerky and turkey jerky. But let me tell you, chicken jerky is a game-changer! Bursting with flavor and packed with protein, this superfood deserves a spot in your pantry.
Optimal Cuts: The Best Part of the Chicken for Jerky
When it comes to making chicken jerky, the lean chicken breast is your go-to choice. Not only is it the largest part of the bird, but it’s also incredibly lean and budget-friendly. Its size and texture make it easy to slice into thin strips, perfect for jerky.
Mastering the Meat Slicing Technique
To achieve the best results, slice the chicken breast lengthwise into strips measuring between ⅛” and ¼” thick. Slicing too thick will result in uneven drying, leaving the outer layer dry while the inside remains under-dried. After slicing, place the chicken in a gallon ziplock bag.
Partially Freezing the Chicken
Before you start slicing, wrap the chicken breasts in plastic wrap and freeze them for about an hour. This step firms up the meat, making it easier to achieve uniform slices. Consistent thickness ensures that all the jerky will dry evenly.
A Sharp Knife is Key
When it comes to slicing chicken jerky, a sharp knife is your best friend. I personally recommend the Victorinox knife for its exceptional sharpness and comfortable grip. If your knife becomes dull, a quick sharpening will make it good as new.
If you’ve never sharpened a knife before, don’t worry! It’s incredibly easy, and it makes a world of difference in achieving perfectly sliced chicken strips. Check out this fantastic article by Cook’s Illustrated on how to sharpen a knife.
The Perfect Marinade for Irresistible Chicken Jerky
Now it’s time to bring out all those mouthwatering spices and sauces to create the most incredible chicken jerky recipe ever. Let’s dive in!
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour the marinade over the chicken strips in the gallon ziplock bag. Allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for 6-24 hours, shaking the bag occasionally to ensure that every strip is fully coated with the marinade.
The Secret Ingredient: Curing Salt
To ensure food safety and prevent bacteria growth, I always include curing salt in my chicken jerky marinades. Curing salt, a mixture of table salt and sodium nitrite, removes moisture from the meat and inhibits bacterial growth.
Once the chicken has finished marinating, strain it in a colander to remove any excess marinade. You can also use paper towels to pat dry the chicken, speeding up the drying process.
Drying Techniques: Dehydrator, Oven, or Smoker
You have a few options for drying your chicken jerky—using a dehydrator, oven, or smoker. For this recipe, I recommend using a Nesco Dehydrator. Whichever method you choose, remember to arrange the chicken strips on trays or a baking sheet lined with cooling racks.
Make sure the strips are not touching or overlapping, allowing air to circulate freely. This promotes faster drying and even dehydration.
Set your dehydrator to its highest setting, typically at 165°F or preheat your oven or smoker to 200°F. The jerky should take around 4-6 hours to fully dry, depending on the thickness of the strips.
Pre or Post Heat Treatment
If you’re unsure whether your dehydrator reaches the required temperature, there’s a simple trick: pre-heat the meat or do a post heat treatment. Place the meat on a cookie sheet and place it in a preheated oven at 300°F for about 10 minutes. This step ensures the jerky reaches the critical 165°F mark for food safety. It can be done before or after dehydrating.
Food safety is paramount when making jerky, particularly chicken or turkey jerky. Check out this invaluable guide I’ve prepared with essential information on jerky and food safety practices for making homemade turkey jerky.
Checking for Doneness: How to Tell When Your Chicken Jerky is Ready
Start checking the chicken jerky around the 4-hour mark to determine if it’s fully dry. Remove one piece of jerky from the dehydrator, oven, or smoker and allow it to cool to room temperature for 5 minutes.
Once cooled, perform the bend or rip test to check for doneness.
The Bend Test
Gently bend the jerky in a U shape from end to end. It should bend and crack but not break apart. If it bends without cracking, it’s not yet finished and needs further drying. Give it another hour or so and check again.
The Rip Test
Take a piece of chicken jerky and rip it in half by tearing it like a sheet of paper. The jerky should easily tear apart, revealing white fibers. These fibers indicate that the jerky is fully dried. If you see only raw-looking meat without the fibers, the jerky needs more drying time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Expert Tips from the Pros
- Adding hickory or applewood liquid smoke adds excellent flavor to jerky when you’re not using a smoker.
- Support local beekeepers and bee colonies by purchasing locally sourced honey.
- Store your jerky in airtight containers at a cool temperature away from sunlight. For optimal freshness, refrigeration is advised. Learn more about proper chicken jerky storage here.
Explore More Jerky Recipes
Hungry for more jerky options? Check out these incredible jerky recipes that are sure to please your taste buds.
With its mouthwatering flavors and protein-packed goodness, chicken jerky is truly a snack worth savoring. So, are you ready to embark on your homemade jerky adventure? Don’t forget to visit Ratingperson for more delicious recipes and expert advice!