Pre-cooked meat will take less time to dehydrate and may differ from traditional jerky in color and texture. Heat the meat strips to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (165°F for poultry). The meat is marinated first and then precooked. Corn jerky is a fully cooked product.
Of course, the mere act of cooking meat does not preserve it. Jerky can last a long time without spoiling because it contains very little moisture. Modern methods of making jerky cook meat while drying it. You can do this with a smoker, oven, or dehydrator.
Well-prepared jerky can safely last a year. Curing or smoking preserves dried meat even longer. These different methods will also contribute to the flavor profile of dried meat. While there are many types of jerky, all jerky sold commercially is a fully cooked product, is safe to store for long periods of time, and is ready to eat right out of the package.
All slices must be of uniform thickness, so that they cook at the same rate and reach the same cooking level. Because jerky cannot be preserved, it has long been a valuable source of protein for people when it was difficult to obtain and cook fresh meat, such as when traveling. Jerky can be prepared with cooked and raw beef, but for poultry, it is always recommended to make jerky with cooked meat. However, using cooked meat for dehydration may allow you to be more creative when cooking or using and preserving leftover meat that would otherwise be wasted.
Dry meat made with marinated raw meat is cooked in the process of dehydration, so cooked meat can also be used to make jerky. Don't smoke dried meat at lower temperatures and end up at a higher temperature, as some bacteria can survive the drying process and not die during cooking. When preparing whole muscle dried meat at home, sliced meat strips must be pre-cooked in a hot marinade before drying. In almost all cases, the meat must be fully cooked before the drying process begins to kill harmful bacteria.
If you're using a kitchen oven, cook the jerky with the door open for about an hour at 300°F, and then cook it for at least an hour with the oven door closed so the meat is fully cooked. Using tweezers, remove the strips from the hot marinade (work quickly to prevent them from overcooking) and place them in individual layers that do not overlap on the drying racks. One thing to remember is that, since it's thinly sliced and already cooked, you're more likely to buy French fries rather than jerky because of the way cold meats are produced and roasted. While using roast beef for dinner, it will take a little longer to cook with all the juices from the initial process of cooking roasted meat for dinner.
When using a marinade, you can let the meat soak in a cold marinade in the refrigerator before cooking it as it dries, or you can cook the meat in a boiling marinade and then dry it. If you don't want to freeze it, store it in the refrigerator in a sealed bag or container until you're ready to cook it. If you have a smoker or pot that can reach high enough temperatures to fully cook the meat, you can place the dried meat in a marinade that doesn't boil and let it soak at refrigerator temperature for four to 25 hours. Once the meat is ready to dry, jerky chefs place the strips on racks, spacing them evenly so that they cook and dry at the same rate.