JERKY CHIPS IN THE LITTLE CHIEF SMOKER
When developing recipes on a daily basis, there are no shortages of failures and wrong turns. Some of those disasters however, lead to success. The first jerky chips I tasted appeared to be a complete bust, mostly because I was making traditional jerky and I didn't think it should crunch when I bit into it. It was a light bulb moment as I thought, "Hey, this is like eating a potato chip." My family liked them too, so the next several batches of jerky I made, I started experimenting with flavors and meat thickness. A few months later I was at the Food & New Products Show in Honolulu and tasted Uncle John's Ono Ox Chips; great minds think alike! These jerky chips not only satisfied the need for a high-protein snack but they curbed the craving for a crunchy, salty, flavorful potato chip. There are many ways to make jerky, from thick to thin, cut with or against the grain. Jerky can be made from any type of meat, from store bought beef or pork to venison or wild turkey. It's fun to experiment and you don't need to commit an entire batch to one method. Just try a rack or two to see if you like the ultra-thin, crunchy texture of jerky chips. They will smoke faster, so check for doneness more frequently than traditional sized slices.
1 - 2 Pounds wild game, beef or pork roast
1 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup non-iodized salt
1 Teaspoon black pepper
Slice meat as thin as possible. For best results use a large, sharp, chef's knife. Partially freeze meat to allow for even slicing. In a medium bowl, mix dry brine ingredients.Lay meat slices in one layer in a shallow glass or plastic container.
Sprinkle on a layer of brine. Continue to lay meat slices down, sprinkling with brine until all meat has been covered. Refrigerate 12-24 hours, turning meat over 2-3 times in the brining period.
Remove meat from refrigerator, drain and discard any liquid that has collected. Do not rinse meat unless you are trying to make a lower sodium jerky. Place meat in a strainer or colander and let drain 5-10 minutes. Place the Little Chief Smoker racks (or Smokehouse Drying Screens on top of racks) over paper towel lined baking sheets. Carefully place meat on screens or racks as close together as possible without letting the pieces touch.
Be sure to spread out the thin cuts of meat so there are no folds anywhere as this will prevent proper drying. If additional flavor is desired, sprinkle pepper or other seasonings (salt-free only) on meat at this time. Let meat air dry for up to 1 hour.
On colder days, use the Smokehouse Insulation Blanket to reduce smoke time. Once chips have stopped smoking, add a second pan of full of chips.
Check for doneness after 2 hours. Jerky chips are done when they easily snap in half. Remove as jerky reaches desired doneness and check every 20-30 minutes until all jerky is done. Depending on outside temperatures, jerky may take more or less time. Jerky can be finished on a baking sheet in the oven at 165 degrees, or placed in a food dehydrator at 140 degrees, check every 15-20 minutes.
Keep refrigerated or freeze if storing for an extended period of time.
Recipe by: Tiffany Haugen