I still believe that we can learn from our Mistakes. Sometimes we just think we know what we think we know. And above all, be constantly on the lookout for the purveyor of all things bad - "Murphy". Rule #37: "He really does know what we only think we know and will make us pay the usual high price to learn it".
I thought I had done my homework and felt that I was ready to make my first batch of "Jerky". I had just finished building a real neat 2' x 2'x 3' tall dryer with three separate racks of 8 dowel rods each 1/4" in diameter powered by a 100 watt light bulb under the vented floor board. I had even located some of those new large plastic coated paper clips to use as hangers so as not to taint the meat.
Next I took out the partially frozen Venison Back Strap, cut it up into 1/4 by 1' strips 4 to 6inches long to get it ready for the brine soak. I elected to use just salt brine instead of a more fancy marinade as I was planning to use the jerky in a big pot of stew for the Scout Campout on the upcoming weekend. (Right On)
I then tossed all the back strap strips into a large bowl, added the salt brine covered it, stirred well and set it in the fridge to do its thing over night. The next evening I gingerly blotted each piece of meat before it was hung up by the homemade paper clip hooks inside the dryer. (So far all went well!)
It took all of three days for the back strap to become dry enough for it to become Jerky. The temperature in the dryer varied between 130 and 150 degrees depending on how long I had it open to check on progress. (Not Too Bad!)
On Friday after work I had just enough time to gather all of the Jerky together and wrap it in foil before the dads and their Scouts began to arrive. Just before leaving for camp I gave each of the dads a small piece of Jerky to sample. Too my surprise, not a single comment from either of them.
After arrival at camp and everything was set up and we were all gathered around the traditional campfire for the evening, I passed out small pieces of the Jerky to each of the boys as a surprise. Again, not a single comment - Not even from my own two Sons.
Later after everyone had gone to bed and as I was making the rounds of the campsite with my trusty and loyal German Sheppard ("Moose"), I tossed him a full strip of Jerky. Since he had caught and eaten a large number of scraps during the making of the Jerky, he eagerly caught the strip that I had tossed to him and began to wolf it down. What happened next gave me the only true and honest appraisal of my first attempt at making Jerky.
If you have ever given a dog a big "Gob" of peanut butter and watched the gyrations that he goes through to get every bit of goodness off of the roof of his mouth you have some idea of what "Moose" was doing as he tried to chew on the Jerky. Only, this time he was "Frothing" at the mouth and was trying to spit it out, not swallow it. When he finally got it all out of his mouth he gave me a look that only a devoted pet can give when he thinks he has been mistreated.
"Murphy" had chosen this way to show me that I really did not know all that I thought I knew about making Jerky. I finally tasted a piece of it myself - "Yuuuukkkk!" - "Way Too Dammed Salty". Needless to say - We had no Jerky Stew on this camping trip and I learned another of Murphy's Rules. "Sometimes you just think you know what you think you know." See ya'll again on "Mistakes Part 6".
Take Care - Belwether