A Flashback to Africa – -Ginger Sage Jerky

Growing up in Tanzania, eating was quite an adventure. Well, everything about life in Tanzania was an adventure, but especially food. When we wanted meat we went hunting…and not hunting in the local supermarket. My dad became proficient in hunting and all that entailed (cleaning, butchering, etc.) and we ate LOTS of really yummy meat. Cape Buffalo, Eland, Warthog, Guinea Fowl and lots of different antelope. Did you know that Guinea Fowl is a great substitute for Thanksgiving Turkey and Warthog makes amazing sausage? Well, now you do. You’re welcome!

 
left – Uncle Maurice – the hunting fundi (expert) – – right – my mom with the warthog she killed
And, there’s yours truly posing out on a hunting trip. I wasn’t allowed to shoot at animals. Just target practice for me.
After each hunting trip it was all hands on deck for butchering and preparing of all the meats – various cuts of meat cut, packaged, labeled and into the freezer, ground meat ground and weighed and packaged, sausages made, and my favorite . . . the making of Uncle Maurice’s jerky and dried meat. The dried meat was hung in a smoker for several days and was the perfect thing to have on hand for the rest of the year for snacks, traveling, etc. The jerky started with all the scraps, which were heavily seasoned (salt and pepper) and then hung on a string outside the house (like little meat icicles) for several days until they dried. I remember the first time I saw the jerky drying I thought it was disgusting and swore I would never eat it, but I was wrong and quickly discovered that it was some of the best jerky in the history of jerky.

I haven’t eaten jerky in a while, but since being on AIP I’ve really been craving it, especially as I have a vacation coming up and I’m looking for good travel foods. But, all the jerky I can find here is heavily processed with lots of junk and the decent jerky I can find online all has black pepper or paprika.

Then, I heard about ground beef jerky. I looked at several recipes/ methods online…. oven at various temperatures vs. dehydrator…jerky gun vs. no jerky gun….strips of meat vs. tubes of meat….and all kinds of spice variations. No one recipe or method was going to work for me, so I came up with my own.

Ginger Sage Jerky

Serves – I made 28 small pieces (3 bites each)

Time – 10 minutes prep – 6 hours cooking

Ingredients:
– 1/2 kg or 1 pound of ground beef
– 2 T dried sage
– 1 1/2 t ground dried ginger
– 2 t ground dried garlic
-1 t sea salt

Method:
– heat oven to 110C/ 230F (that’s the minimum on my oven) or lowest temp possible
– mix spices into meat until well incorporated
– line a large roasting pan with parchment paper
– spread meat out in the pan – roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick
– score with a table knife
– place in the oven and use a wooden spoon to hold the oven door open a crack
– after 4 hours, take it out of the oven and transfer onto a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet (see below) so that hot air circulates all the way around the meat


– put back in the oven for 2 hours

– after 6 hours take it out and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Once cool, the meat should be completely dry and not flexible. If it isn’t dry after cooling, put it back in the oven and dry another 30 minutes.

– Store in an airtight container in the fridge. I have heard of people who successfully left this type of jerky out at room temperature, but I didn’t try it for more than a few hours (pack some to take for afternoon snack at work).

– Enjoy! A couple of pieces was a perfect mid afternoon snack.

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