Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fat Free Vegetarian Jerky

This is "heavy duty" provident living - some of you may be ready to try something like this though so I'm putting it out there. The youth committee at church asked me if I could figure out a way to make beef jerky and keep it in the budget for their pioneer trek this summer, I set out to figure it all out.

Inspired by this blog post by Chef Tess and a memory of my mom doing something like this long ago, I set out to make my own "wheat meat" jerky as my family calls it. Chef Tess shares many flavor suggestions for different kinds of meat, but none of them sounded like they would give me the "jerky" flavor I was after so I experimented and then asked for taste testers. The first batch had a very good flavor, but was a little too spicey for our taste. We were all amazed at how much the texture was just like jerky. It took a couple  more batches to perfect the flavoring. The youth loved it and were all amazed at how easy the process was!

Begin by mixing all the dry ingredients.

Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients and mix well.

It should pull into a ball.

Shape into a roast or roll tight into a few large hot dog shapes. For my first attempt, I did the roast shape. That is what you see here. For my later attempts, I did hot dog shapes. It really doesn't matter.

Wrap tightly in heavy duty foil. The heavy duty is a must. You will not get the same results with regular foil.

Be sure to twist the ends up tight.

Place in a crock pot and cover completely with water. Cook on low for 2-4 hours depending on how thick you've made your shape.

When done, it will hold together very well.

Allow to cool enough to handle and slice into thin pieces.

Place on dehydrator trays. You could try to do it on baking trays in the oven at a very low temp. You'll have to watch it more closely since your oven will have hot spots. Dry for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. You'll have to do some taste testing. You want them "jerky" texture not brittle like a cracker.

Wheat Meat Jerky

1 1/2 cups gluten flour or vital wheat gluten (as some people call it)
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp paprika
4 tsp beef bouillon
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp water

Makes about 50 pieces

Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the wet ingredients. Work it into a ball. Shape into large "hot dogs" or a "roast" if you prefer. Wrap tightly in heavy duty foil, being sure to twist the ends of the foil tightly to seal up the edges. Place in a crockpot. Cover with water and cook on low for 2 hours for "hot dog" shapes and 3-4 hours for a "roast" shape.

Remove from foil. At this point, the wheat meat can be frozen for later use. To make jerky, slice in thin pieces and place on a dehydrator rack. Dry for 1 1/2 - 2 hours at 145 degrees F.

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