Jerky-- whatever kind it may be--- is one of the best survival foods to store in your pantry.
Mostly made from meat like beef, pork, or venison, jerky is full of protein, a valuable nutrient that could be hard to come by when SHTF. Jerky is easily stored and packed--- you can keep it in airtight mason jars in the pantry or conveniently stow it in your bag if you ever need to bug out. Best of all, they're very shelf stable: a well-stored batch can last for months, even years when kept properly.
Perhaps the only downside to storing jerky is that it can cost quite a lot in the long run. Thankfully, you can easily make them at home. Check out these helpful tutorials on how to make jerky for your survival pantry:
Making Jerky Using An Oven
Using an oven is one of the most common methods to make jerky. All you have to do is prepare the meat and then pop it into the oven to dry.
In this video, they used a nice slab of beef with just the right amount of marbling. Be careful not to use meat with too much fat. Fat doesn't dry out well and will turn rancid over time. Once you’ve got the right cut, the meat is then cut into thin strips and marinated overnight. Once done, it's skewered and slowly cooked in the oven for 4-6 hours until it’s nice and leathery.
The heat takes out the moisture from the jerky and prevents the growth of microorganisms that cause spoilage. The thinner the strips, the faster they dry so avoid cutting too thickly. Once it’s cooked, you can store your beef jerky in airtight containers for future use.
Making Jerky Using A Dehydrator
Using a dehydrator is another way of making beef jerky at home. The appliance and its accessories can be a bit pricey, but it does serve as a pretty good investment over time. Aside from making jerky, you can also use your dehydrator to make goodies from fruits and vegetables.
Making jerky using a dehydrator isn't that much different from making them using an oven. The meat is sliced and prepared the same way; the only difference is that instead of skewering and hanging them in the oven, they're laid out flat on the dehydrator trays. You have to make sure that they don't overlap each other so they dry thoroughly. You can start off with around 4 trays a batch, but if you’re feeling confident, you can always buy additional trays to have a bigger jerky yield. You know what they say: the more, the merrier...and the same definitely applies to this survival snack.
Marking Jerky By Air Drying
When the Native Americans first made jerky, they did it by air-drying game like deer, bison and elk. These days, you don't have to hunt your own meat down but you can definitely air-dry them to make jerky.
In this method, instead of popping the marinated slices into the oven or dehydrator, you simply lay them out on baking racks and leave them out to dry in a place with good ventilation. Make sure they're spaced evenly and don't overlap so they dry faster. You also have to make sure that no bugs or critters could get them.
One nifty and inexpensive trick is to use a regular household fan to speed up the drying process. Air-drying is by far the easiest and cheapest method to make jerky, but it also takes the longest time. Jerky processed by air-drying takes at least 24 hours to completely dry out, so be patient when doing this method.
Making jerky at home is way cheaper than buying them at the store. All it takes is the right cut of meat, a good marinade recipe and a ton of patience. Once you get the hang of it, you'll have a survival pantry full of this good stuff. It doesn't even have to be exclusively made from beef. You can experiment with other kinds of meat, like venison, pork, turkey or even salmon.
Making jerky is a fun and delicious way to prep for possible disasters and calamities. Practice those jerky-making skills and tell us all about it in the comments below!