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I've learned in my limited travels that beef jerky seems to be an American thing only or least Australians hate it. At any rate. Our children have a very hard time eating meet. They just are at that age. But they love Jerky. Katie's doctor told us that Jerky would be one thing we could feed her that has no limit on intake. Katie's body needs more protein. In fact she needs nearly double a normal kids. Long story there.
Here's the deal though. There's not a beef jerky out there (that I can afford) that doesn't have MSG or *nitrite in it. Might as well feed her DECON if we feed her any of that.
Who amongst you can recommend a good off the shelf meat smoker for producing beef jerky. If it does fruit too fine but really meat is the only requirement. I'd love something high quality that produces moist jack link style or oberto style cuts. I'd also like a recipe book etc...
So do any of you happen to be masters at the trade? My one requirement is that someone who is not a family member actually asks for your smoked jerky by request. If you don't have that then don't reply.
My dad has been using one of these for years. It does a great job smoking meat and fish. There are tons of jerky rubs you can find to season meat and if you do it yourself you are bound go get good results.
In lieu of doing it yourself, contact your local slaughter house/butcher shop/meat market for the names of some of the frequent hunters that are already doing this. They may be willing to sell you a bag or two.
"Love people and use things, not love things and use people." - Unknown
"The brick walls are there for a reason...to stop the people who don't want it badly enough." - Randy Pausch
I've used a Brinkmann grill/smoker combo that my neighbor picked up for $20 at a yard sale. With a few minor modifications, it worked fairly well, but you'd probably be better off with a Weber Bullet if you can find one for a good price (fewer built-in design problems). Definitely check out classifieds / craigslist first though, plenty of people seem to get rid of these things and they last for years.
These facts that you've laid out totally contradict the wild ramblings that I pulled off the back of cornflakes packets.
I make jerky all the time and have for years, I also have a meat smoker the same little chief someone else recommended, but I don't recommend smoking your beef jerky, instead get one of these: http://www.nesco.com/ dehydrators at your local walmart or department store (cheap). Immediately upon opening it throw away the packets of jerky spice and cure and do not use hamburger to make jerky unless you absolutely have to (it's not jerky).
It's much easier to use and you can buy bottles of liquid smoke at the grocery store which is basically just smoke flavoured water and contains nothing else and takes only a couple of drops in your marinade to get that smoky flavour.
If you want a smoker then it's a whole other route entirely, very messy and very tricky for anything more complex than jerky.
I only use mine for salmon and beef brisket (Montreal style smoked meat / pastrami) and the occasional pork shoulder for pulled pork (very tasty).
When you make your own jerky without the nitrates you won't get red jerky, that's the main point of the nitrates they keep the meat red even when cooked. Instead you will get brown jerky looking like cooked meat.
I prefer flank steaks for jerky because I like the extra tastiness from the fat, just put it on a cutting board layed out flat in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes to firm it up then slice thin. (With the grain for chewy jerky and against the grain for just eating but not very chewy beef jerky which might be better for children) Thinner slices dry faster and take less seasoning to flavour but they taste more like cooked meat than thicker slices which can be done a little less and are less picky about the timing so they are not overdone.
Also when dehydrating make sure the temperature is enough for safety and take a piece out and let it cool off periodically to see if it's done, they will seem a lot more pliable when hot but will be very different when they cool.
For extra safety you should do a warm vinegar dip of the slices before you put them in the marinade or rub. You can find info online, it's basically a university study showing the bacteria content of different pre-treatments. If you have a good clean source of meat and keep very clean conditions in your kitchen when processing it's not really an issue but better safe than sorry especially with children.
Aside from all that a lot of red meat is still not ideal for humans and you can get protein from plant and other sources that is easy to eat and can be tasty depending on how you prepare it, have you looked at soya or tuna instead?
"It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it."
My daughter is known very well for blow-outs. She is the only child I've ever known to truly blow a diaper off her thin little body and wow! It happened so often I have PTSD from it. So a bit of thickening won't hurt that kid at all. In fact that might be why her surgeon said, "If she likes it get more and let her eat." the main concern was mild flavoring, no preservatives and fully cooking it.
With all due respect for your privacy regarding your child's age and condition, may I comment that there are many other ways to provide high-quality protein such as (drum-roll) soy-milk. There are a wealth of nutritonal supplements [with lactose and lactose-free] in powder form (from medical grade complete dietary supplement to "growth oriented" formulas for infants which can be added to soy-milk (or milk, or water) to really amp up the protein content.
p.s. I am a tongue cancer survivor whose diet is about 90% soy-milk + lactose-free medical grade high-protein soy-based powder
"Many : not conversant with mathematical studies, imagine that because it [the Analytical Engine] is to give results in numerical notation, its processes must consequently be arithmetical, numerical, rather than algebraical and analytical. This is an error. The engine can arrange and combine numerical quantities as if they were letters or any other general symbols; and it fact it might bring out its results in algebraical notation, were provisions made accordingly." Ada, Countess Lovelace, 1844
Of course there are but she's tiny, asked me about it and as her dad I'm just going to look into it. She really enjoys it. Yes we feed her protein mostly through vast quantities of yogurt because we need the probiotics but she gets protein in more ways than many, many people. She's probably healthier nutrition-wise than most fitness experts. She'll just explode if she eats any fake or bad stuff so we keep her close to the cow, vine or tree and she does much better.
My lady is a mistress of both the grill and the dehydrator, and I'd kill - well, maybe maim - for her jerky. No smoker required, as the dehydrator works like a champ, and her recipes are all her own. We haven't yet had to deal with spoilage, though, as nothing ever lasts long enough to begin going bad, but there hasn't been any problem keeping dried, marinated meats for several weeks without refrigeration. Yummy, tender, delicious stuff, and that's just her; the jerky is great, too!
Try a dehydrator first, then switch to a smoker if you don't like the results. They're cheaper, less hassle to operate, and produce excellent results. Besides, they almost always include a tray for making fruit rollups, and Katie will probably love those.
"A Journey of a Thousand Rest Stops Begins with a Single Movement"
If the children don't want to eat meat then maybe quinoa is the answer, the stuff has very high protein levels and can be used as an accompaniment to other dishes, a bit like rice or couscous http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa[^]
Just made a new batch of jerky for the hockey games (we eat jerky while watching hockey and drinking beer) and found the original printout of the instructions I found for making safe jerky at home, we use the warm vinegar method here: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/safefood/newsltr/v3n3s10.html[^]
"It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it."
Last weekend Hubby found an Atari system in really nice condition. It was made in 1981 specifically for Sears and had a cover so major scratches or dings. Came with Donkey Kong, Pac Man, etc. I know they remake these games for every new gaming console, but it was kind of fun and nostalgic to play the games on an old Atari. Oh, and it doesn't work on an LCD screen before anyone tries that.
So for those who grew up gaming, what was your favorite game(s) and on what systems?
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