Shredded Jerky: How To Make It and How To Use It
Many people around the country enjoy the taste and texture of jerky. Jerky is delicious food that has numerous opportunities for someone to prepare it. Shredded jerky is a popular preparation method, but there is a specific way to make it, as well as numerous options for what you can do with it.
What Is the Purpose of Shredded Jerky?
People make jerky in certain ways to do more with the food. Some shred jerky because it is easier for them to eat compared to eating whole pieces. Some people don't want to eat simple jerky and instead wish to use it to add more variety to other foods they eat. Making food smaller creates more options for what you may do with it, and the knowledge you gain from cutting, chopping, and mincing will improve your culinary skills for the future.
How To Make Shredded Jerky
There are various ways to make shredded jerky, but the process usually involves taking jerky and cutting it up piece by piece until it's reached a minuscule level. You will need to cut each piece from a large or whole piece of meat so that each piece is at the desired size to eat. There are two ways to do this: slicing manually or using devices to shred it. Both methods are optional, and it depends on what you feel most comfortable with.
Shredding It by Hand
For years, people have preferred the process of cutting meat by hand. It takes more than a sharp knife and a cutting board to shred meat by hand; you will also need precision and effective hold on the meat. You'll first need to trim any fat on the meat you're using; a boning knife is best, but any sharp, thin knife will work as a substitute.
You want as little fat as possible, as it will cause the jerky to spoil faster after it is dried. You will then choose to cut with the grain or against it. Cutting against the grain will create softer but less chewy jerky, and cutting with the grain creates a tougher texture but is also chewy. When you cut it open, you'll find the grain of the meat on the lines that run along the inside.
Cut the meat into thin slices until you run out of the whole meat, then cut those slices into smaller pieces. Continue this process until the meat is of the desired size and you have the amount of shredded meat you want.
Shredding It With Tools
Using tools such as a meat or jerky slicer makes the process quicker. You have more room for error with devices that slice the meat for you while you only push the meat in or move a part of the device. But you will lose some freedom of slicing it the way you want to into the shape you prefer. A mandolin will work great for slicing thin slices, and a jerky slicer will create even strips of jerky that you may then slice by hand if you wish.
Drying the Meat
As you have your small pieces of meat ready for cooking and adding sauces and seasonings, you'll place the meat in the oven. Make sure that each piece of meat is as separate as possible to ensure the heat reaches the whole piece. You'll need to ensure the meat reaches a little under 200 degrees, and it will need to stay in the oven for about three to four hours to ensure that it dries out. Place the meat on a drying rack when it has finished cooking; if you need to, you may chop up the pieces even more.
What Is the Best Type of Meat To Use for Shredding?
Beef tends to be the go-to choice for jerky, and using beef makes it easier for meat to shred. The lean texture and great source of protein make beef the ideal option for jerky, giving you a wide range of cooking options. Beef also comes in larger portions, so it's easier to make beef jerky by the pound. Big games like elk will also make a great meat option for jerky and supply quality nutrients and delicious flavor.
What Can I Do With Shredded Jerky?
There are numerous ways to use shredded jerky, and all potential options involve food. As shredded jerky has small pieces, it’s a great snack and a perfect addition to the food you eat. As mentioned before, the smaller food is, the more options you have with what you may do with it; with the help of shredded jerky, you have numerous options for your food.
Use It in a Dish
Many dishes go well with meat, especially cheese, pasta, and soups. You could add the shredded jerky into dishes to have a nice crunchy texture in your meal and potentially make a filling dish. Stuffed shells with cheese and shredded chicken jerky will make a fulfilling meal for dinner, or a nice broth with shredded jerky added will make delectable soup. You could try numerous ideas with the use of shredded jerky.
Use It as a Garnish
Drinks such as Bloody Marys taste better with a garnish of shredded jerky, and mashed potatoes turn into a gourmet entre with some jerky on top. The use of shredded jerky will help the dish taste better and create an exciting twist. Mixing different types of shredded jerky will create an interesting blend that will add a delicious taste of meaty flavor, especially when more spices are involved.
Use It To Feed Animals
Although jerky is normally people's food, you could feed it to your pet as long as it doesn't have a lot of spices. Dogs can snack on the nutritious jerky, and the small pieces make it easier for them to consume. You could even add jerky to their food for a nice treat when they've behaved well.
Shredding jerky takes work but is beneficial in the end. The meat you shred and dry will be a work of culinary goodness that you can be proud of and enjoy, one piece at a time.