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Cowboy Food: Jerky

Cowboys were often on the range for months on end. It wasn't like they could carry a kitchen on their pack horse. Often they resorted to eating and reconstituting dried foods ... especially meats as they needed the protein for their lifestyle.

Below are numerous recipe variations for jerky. Take a look and even try a few. The kids will have a blast!

Great Jerky

t. salt
2 T. soy sauce
t. cracked pepper
1 T. worcestershire sauce
1 T. brown sugar
1 lb. lean meat, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except meat. Stir to mix well. Place meat in a single layer on a clean flat surface. Generously spread both sides with salt mixture. Marinate 6 - 12 hours in the refrigerator. Dry at 160F for three to four hours then 140F until dry.

Teriyaki Jerky

t. salt
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/8 t. pepper
c. soy sauce
t. ground ginger
1 lb. meat, thinly sliced
2 T. brown sugar

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except meat. Stir to mix well. Place meat three to four layers deep in glass container, spooning soy mixture over each layer. Cover tightly. Marinate 6 - 12 hours. Dry at 160F for three to four hours then 140F until dry. Yield: lb. jerky.

Sweet n Sour Jerky

1 t. salt
1 T. soy sauce
t. pepper
c. red wine vinegar
t. onion powder
c. pineapple juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 lb. meat, thinly sliced
3 T. brown sugar

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except meat. Stir to mix well. Place meat three or four layers deep in a glass container, spooning vinegar mixture over each layer. Cover tightly. Marinate 6 - 12 hours. Dry at 160F for three to four hours then 140F until dry. Yield: lb. jerky.

Frontier Jerky

1 t. salt
2 T. liquid smoke
t. pepper
1 t. garlic powder
2 T. worcestershire sauce
1 lb. meat, thinly sliced


In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except meat. Stir to mix well. Place meat three or four layers deep in a glass container, spooning mixture over each layer. Cover tightly. Marinate 6 - 12 hours. Dry at 160F for three to four hours then 140F until dry. Yield: lb. jerky.

Western BBQ Jerky

1 t. salt
3 T. brown sugar
t. pepper
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
3/4 c. ketchup
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. onion powder
t. garlic powder
1 t. dry mustard
1 lb. lean meat, thinly sliced


In a small bowl, combine all ingredients excpet meat. Stir to mix well. Place meat three or four layers keep in a glass container, spooing mixture over each layer. Cover tightly. Marinate 6 - 12 hours in the refrigerator. Dry at 160F for three to four hours then 140F until dry. Yield: lb. jerky.

Hot and Tangy Jerky

1 t. salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
t. cracked pepper
2 T. A-1 sauce
t. cayenne pepper
3 T. worcestershire sauce
1 t. onion powder
1 lb. lean meat, thinly sliced
t. paprika

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients excpet meat. Stir to mix well. Place meat three or four layers keep in a glass container, spooing mixture over each layer. Cover tightly. Marinate 6 - 12 hours in the refrigerator. Dry at 160F for three to four hours then 140F until dry. Yield: lb. jerky.

Middle Eastern Jerky

1 t. salt
t. chili powder
1/8 t. pepper
1/4 t. ground ginger
1 t. coriander
t. turmeric
1/8 t. ground cumin
1 lb. lean meat, thinly sliced

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients excpet meat. Stir to mix well. Place meat in a single layer keep in a glass container, spooing mixture over each layer. Cover tightly. Marinate 6 - 12 hours in the refrigerator. Dry at 160F for three to four hours then 140F until dry. Yield: lb. jerky.

Fiesta Jerky

1 t. salt
1 T. chili powder
t. pepper
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
t. ground cumin
1 lb. lean meat, thinly sliced

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients excpet meat. Stir to mix well. Place meat in a single layer keep in a glass container, spooing mixture over each layer. Cover tightly. Marinate 6 - 12 hours in the refrigerator. Dry at 160F for three to four hours then 140F until dry. Yield: lb. jerky.

Mild Mexican Jerky

1 t. salt
t. oregano, crushed
t. pepper
1 t. paprika
1 t. chili powder
1 lb. lean meat, thinly sliced
t. garlic powder

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients excpet meat. Stir to mix well. Place meat in a single layer keep in a glass container, spooing mixture over each layer. Cover tightly. Marinate 6 - 12 hours in the refrigerator. Dry at 160F for three to four hours then 140F until dry. Yield: lb. jerky.

Hawaiian Jerky

1 t. salt
1 t. ground ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
c. pineapple juice
1 T. brown sugar
t. pepper
c. soy sauce
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 lb. lean meat, thinly sliced

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients excpet meat. Stir to mix well. Place meat in a single layer keep in a glass container, spooing mixture over each layer. Cover tightly. Marinate 6 - 12 hours in the refrigerator. Dry at 160F for three to four hours then 140F until dry. Yield: lb. jerky.

Korean Jerky

t. salt
t. pepper
2 t. sugar
1 t. MSG
c. soy sauce
1 T. dry sherry
2 T. sesame seeds
1 lb. lean meat, thinly sliced

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients excpet meat. Stir to mix well. Place meat in a single layer keep in a glass container, spooing mixture over each layer. Cover tightly. Marinate 6 - 12 hours in the refrigerator. Dry at 160F for three to four hours then 140F until dry. Yield: lb. jerky.

Wild Turkey Jerky

Cut turkey breast into strips about 1" x 3" x thick. Be sure to cut so grain runs lengthwise. Season strips lightly with a mix made of equal parts garlic salt, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Place strips in glass dish and let sit overnight in refrigerator. Place strips on oven racks; leave door ajar to allow moisture to escape. Dry at 120 F for 4 to 5 hours.

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