Making your own soy-free jerky
Updated: Jun 26, 2022
Most how-to jerky videos on YouTube use soy sauce, which is not acceptable on a low-toxin, low-omega-6 diet. Here is my own method.
I made #beefjerky today. I have been developing my own methods since I haven't found a recipe that avoids marinating with soy sauce. I first tried coconut aminos as a substitute, and found the flavor bland. I have been brining my chicken meat for years, so I thought, why not brine beef for jerky? The flavor was very good. I've been refining my methods each time, and this is how I did it today on my third try.
One drawback to brining instead of marinating is longer drying time for the meat. But I can live with that for the sake of my health.
Soy is high in phytoestrogens--something we should all avoid, and soybean oil is among the highest of all seed oils in linoleic acid, a very unstable omega-6 unsaturated fatty acid. If you value your heart, you'll avoid it.
In preparing about 6 pounds of meat, my brine consisted of:
½ gallon water
¼ cup sea salt
¼ cup honey
2 tbsp Liquid Smoke
I selected a package of sirloin and brisket from the freezer and thawed them in the fridge for a couple days. Next time I won't use brisket because of all the fat, which needed trimming. Not to worry, though--I had a pot of bone broth simmering on the stove, and I just threw the fat in with the bones for rendering.
I then cut the meat into strips and chunks so that they were no more than ¾ inch thickness. Later, after brining overnight, I cut them even thinner--¼ to ⅜"--to hasten drying time. Next time I will cut them thinner to start with while the meat is still half-frozen for added ease.
“Jerky is an excellent hand-to-mouth snack that's chock full of protein and nutrients, and satisfies the snack urge I get in the middle of the day. Add to that a handful of dried cranberries or mango chips, and I'm a happy camper.”
After the cutting and brining I set up my racks for the oven and laid out the strips. Next time I'm going to line the baking sheets with foil or parchment paper--it will minimize the cleanup!
I ran out of room on the oven racks, and used a rack from my dryer for the remaining meat.
I set the dryer at its highest temperature--145 degrees--and the oven at its lowest possible temperature--170 degrees. Optimally the temperature would be around 150-160 degrees, if you can.
I checked the meat every couple hours, turning the strips once, and switching the racks in the oven from top to bottom. About six hours later, I turned off the oven and the dryer to cool.
Okay, so they ain't very pretty, but the taste is great!
I recommend storage in glass jars, not in zipper plastic bags, due to the possibility of micro-plastics getting into your jerky. My six pounds of meat fit into three loosely-packed jars.
Because there remained signs of fat on the meat, I decided I would store them in the fridge. My previous batches were fat-free and I kept them for weeks in my pantry at room temperature. You can also freeze them indefinitely.
Jerky and pemmican are the sorts of foods that American Indians, frontiersmen and cowboys used to live on in the rugged outdoors for months on end, and they were no doubt healthier in some respects than many people in our modern day. If they could do it, we could too.