I like to make jerky, but sometimes I don't have time to slice the meat, make the marinade, and let it marinade for 8 hours. Sometimes it's nice to just whip up a batch.
You can find jerky gun kits at Wal-Mart and most hunting/fishing supply stores. I got mine last year. The same company that makes the gun kits also make seasoning packets that are very easy to use.
You just add 1 packet to one pound of ground meat. I mostly use ground venison, because it's cheap and that's what we have in the freezer. Ground beef is just too expensive anymore. Plus, venison is so lean and I feel like it makes a better jerky because fatty meat probably wouldn't last as long.
For the jerky I made today, I used two pounds of meat and 2 seasoning packets. Mix it thoroughly so the seasoning is even throughout.
This is what comes with the gun kit. You get a trigger assembly (don't know if that's what it's really called, but it sounds good), tube, and 3 tips. One tip makes flat pieces, and there are two different sized round ones.
You just screw the tube onto the trigger assembly and fill it with meat.
Then you pick which tip you want and screw it on with the red ring provided.
Then all you do is pull the trigger and the meat will be forced through the hole in the tip.
The flat one is my least favorite, because the meat tends to come apart as you extrude it.
Just fill up the tray, leaving spaces for air to circulate so you get even drying.
Next I used the small round tip. The round tips work very well. It's easier if you hold the gun in one place and let the jerky push away from the gun. Does that make sense? It's not like piping icing...the jerky is much stiffer.
Then I used the large tube. This one goes the quickest of all the tips.
And I made a second tray of the flat pieces to use up the rest of the meat.
Once you're finished, set the dehydrator at the proper temperature. My dehydrator has a setting guide printed right on the top.
Jerky is always set to the highest temperature.
And several hours later, you have nice jerky! Certainly better than the store bought type. This jerky took about 6-7 hours to dry. You can either make it harder or chewier, depending on what you like.
Even though the jerky is dried, I still like to refrigerate mine just to be safe. Plus, it lasts longer that way. Also, when the jerky is still on the dehydrator trays, I like to blot them with paper towels to pick up any grease that might be on top.
This jerky is good, but I really prefer slicing meat and making my own recipe for a marinade. This is much quicker though!