Bow And Arrow
August 1972

Teriyaki Jerky ~By Steve Barde
How To Turn An Old Indian Treat Into An Oriental Masterpiece

JERKY HAS BEEN A food staple for trappers,
hunters and outdoorsmen for years. There are several commercial
brands, but I found they were too dry, too hot or
too brittle. What do you do with a situation like that? You
turn it into a do·it·yourself project.

A friend jerked a deer last year and stacked the dried
meat in open jars for future use. He offered me a handful
which I gladly accepted, finding to my dismay it had too
much pepper for my taste. He had made it, to go with his
home brew beer.

l was after a food item I could make myself with little
trouble. Something that would fit into a jacket or camo
pocket for field munching. It couldn’t be too brittle, since I
don’t like pocket crumbs and, if the jerky made me thirsty
it created another problem.

One of our favorite family dishes is teriyaki steak.
The idea hit me to use my wife’s sauce recipe for the
jerky. What did I have to lose if I tested small quantities?

We concocted the teriyaki sauce as follows:
3/4 bottle shoyu or teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup sugar (white or brown for richer and sweeter sauce)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon monosodium glutamate
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup saki optional

There are several ways to cut meat into strips for jerky.
The Indians start on the outside of a section of meat about
one-quarter to one-half-inch thick, as big as they want and
cut in a circle until they reach the center. They often ended
with strips of jerky six feet long. These cured by drying on
racks in the sun. Flies were no bother since it was all lean
meat with no fatty tissues.

This was more complicated than l wanted to make it.
The sugar in my sauce would draw flies as well as bees. My
first flank steak jerky was cut several ways. The steak itself
was about one-half inch thick. My first cuts were about
one-half inch wide running with the grain of the meat. The
second steak was cut by quartering across the grain to make
the jerky less chewy, yet not too brittle. The third steak
was cut across the grain with the muscle structure of the

The sauce was poured over the meat which had been
placed in an open dish. The strips ranged from eight inches
long to little sections. All of it went into the sauce which
covers two pounds of beef. This was placed in the refrigerator
to marinate overnight. The strips were turned from time
to time and the entire glop stirred.

The next day I took the jerky from the refrigerator,
removed the strips from the sauce and placed them on a
grill used for broiling in the oven. The sauce was allowed to
drain off each section as it was placed on the grill.
When the meat was all on the grill the remaining sauce
was poured back into the bottle for future use. The meat
was placed in an oven at a low temperature, 100-125
degrees, and left for eight to ten hours. You could cure the
jerky in the sun, if you wanted to build a screened cage to
keep the bugs out.

Since the meat was on the grill it didn’t require turning,
but samples were tried from time to time to test taste and
dryness. When the entire batch seemed right, it was removed
from the oven and allowed to cool. The taste was
even better than l had hoped for. The sugar gave it a bit of
sweetness; the marinade from the teriyaki gave it a great
flavor. The only test left was to determine how long it
would last without spoiling.

The different methods of cutting were found to be
similar as far as curing. The chewiest meat was cut with the
grain. The crossgrain crumbled when moved about. The
best for my use proved to be the quarter-cut jerky. It was
rigid enough to carry, but not as chewy as the straight cut.
I never did test for longevity since the family kept
munching and it didn’t last long.

If you are lucky enough to have some venison in the
freezer and you fill tags again, it might be a good idea to
jerk your old venison before you freeze the fresh meat and
add it to the chest. Venison makes excellent jerky.
I had some whitetail roasts that were getting freezer
burn. That was my excuse for jerking it anyway. I cut the
roasts into slabs about one-half-inch thick, using my hunting
knife. These slabs were cut again, quarter grain, into
strips about one—half inch thick. I wasn’t critical on the
cutting, since the thicker pieces work well but take longer
to cure.

I thought the beef jerky was good, but the Texas white-
tail was excellent. This batch of jerky filled two half—gallon
plastic containers that were stored with holes in the lid.
Never put jerky into a tightly closed container. When hunting
season rolled around a month or so later I found to my
dismay all my jerky had been consumed by the children
who thought it better than candy and of course some of the
older members of the family who dipped their hands into
the jug to get just a nibble or two. It makes a great snack

This year I will make another batch of beef jerky to take
into the field. About the only way l am going to manage
this is to make it the week I plan to leave and lock it up!
Good luck with yours and, if anyone manages to get enough
to last for a good spoilage test, let me know the results.<——<<<

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