Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Maple Turkey Jerky....Can healthy really be this good?

Okay, so maybe it isn't as healthy as it could be. But it is turkey and that right there makes it healthier than most things I make. When I first read this recipe from Jim Tarantino's Book, Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures and Glazes, I wasn't sure I wanted to try it in it's current form. After all, I'm sometimes one of those cave man types that wants his jerky to either be beef or some sort of game meat. However, I figured that I am getting up there in age (well, I'm in my 40's) and a little healthy meat couldn't hurt, so I gave it a try. As men, we're not programmed to admit when we're wrong (although the fairer sex has done an awesome job on working with us on this point). I was flat wrong about this recipe. It was beyond my expectations and I highly suggest you give it a try.

The first thing you'll need is 2 pounds of turkey breast. Cut it up any way you like but try to get it at 1/4" thick at the most. I cut mine up to the width I would use if I was making a scallopini recipe. Here's how it looked when I was finished cutting it up.

Once you get it sliced up, it's time to put it into the brine. I suggest a minimum of 8 hours in the brine and I like to go 12 hours in the brine.

Maple Bourbon Brine

3 quarts water (recipe calls for 6 quarts but I find 3 quarts works well and covers the turkey)

1 cup kosher salt

1 1/2 cups maple syrup

1 cup bourbon (keep an extra cup off to the side for the jerky maker)

2 Tablespoons ground mustard
2 bay leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes

2 Tablespoons chopped rosemary

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the water, salt, maple syrup, bourbon, ground mustard, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and rosemary. Bring to a boil, and stir to dissolve. Decrease the heat and simmer for 30 minutes to brew the ingredients. Remove from the heat and let the brine cool to room temperature, then refrigerate to 40F before adding the turkey.

Simply place the sliced turkey breast into the brine and refrigerate overnight.

When you take the turkey out of the brine, rinse the meat under cool running water and pat dry with paper towels.

Prepare your smoker or covered grill and smoke the jerky using either fruit wood or hickory (I use hickory) at 140F for about 2 hours. During the last 1/2 hour, add the following glaze to the turkey.

Maple Bourbon Glaze

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup bourbon or sour mash whiskey

1/2 cup cider vinegar

grated zest and juice of 2 juice oranges (about 1/2 cup)

1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar

1/4 cup brown or full-flavored yellow mustard

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 cup soy or tamari sauce

In a heavy nonreactive saucepan, add the maple syrup, bourbon, vinegar, orange zest and juice, brown sugar, mustard, cayenne and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 30 minutes, until reduced to 1 cup. Cool the glaze, store in a clean, airtight container, and refrigerate until ready to use. The glaze can be made ahead and will keep in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. To use the glaze after refrigerating, warm it over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

After the turkey has been smoked, preheat the oven or dehydrator to 140F. Transfer the jerky to your oven or dehydrator and continue drying until the jerky is stiff and pliable, 6 to 8 hours.

I highly suggest you give this jerky a try. You won't be sorry you did. If it weren't for my friends from the Bradley Smoker forum, Nepas and Gizmo, I would never had an opportunity to try this. There is nothing fowl about this jerky. In fact, it was gobbled right up (OK, I never promised no lame jokes). If you don't have Jim Tarantino's book, I also suggest saving some coin and purchasing it. It's worth every penny.

1 comment:

  1. That looks great!
    Thanks for sharing this recipe with us, going to have to try it soon.