Most of the time when slicing meat for jerky, I will have left over pieces that are too small or too fatty to turn into primary cuts of jerky. Uniformity of thickness and shape helps the cooking process which results in even and consistent end-product.
I will typically use the remaining edible cuts in a meal for Stacy and myself. Think of stir fry, soups, stews, tacos; lots of possibilities. The non-fatty pieces also make great test subjects for new flavors that you don’t have to commit to, just in case the flavor is a dud!
The very first time I tried to use a bottled marinade for Jerky was for a small batch of random, assorted pieces that were the result of me honing my butchering technique. I wondered how the bottled sauce method would work and I had the perfect test pieces to try it with. A friend had recently brought me a bottle of hot sauce to try with a wing recipe and I had enough left over to give it a whirl. This sauce came from a general store in Galien, MI of all places – for the whopping price of $1.
Another such test was a couple of months ago – I had about a half pound of very usable cuts that would need a shorter dehydrating time than the main batch needed and some leftover Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory and Brown Sugar Barbecue sauce we really enjoyed from a recent chicken wing cook.
I guess for a split second it felt like “cheating” both times because I wasn’t measuring out and using individual ingredients for a homemade marinade, but I had just done that for the other 4 lbs. of meat I jerked up, so I got over that feeling quickly.
Ummm, yea, it turned out really well! The bottled sauce contains enough flavor and balance that it translated perfectly to jerky. The jerky ended up very tender and moist, very similar to other commercial bags I’ve had in the past, usually the Teriyaki flavored varieties. Given the number of duds I’ve developed, Stacy almost always picks out a bottle of something for me to use as her own little special small batch experiment. I have to say, I can’t recall ever making a bad batch of jerky using a bottled sauce.
I’m not sure what traditional purists would say about this, but the taste buds don’t lie, so I sort of don’t care! For additional flavor profiles to easily add to your repertoire of jerky, grab a bottle and let ‘er rip! You really just need to use enough sauce to cover your meat strips, roughly 6oz per pound of meat is a good start.
Below are some more bottled sauce recipes, go have fun!