I found some remaining ground lamb in the freezer a couple of weeks back. I decided it'd be good to use to try making some jerky. Again, I've never really had a strong sense of need to make jerky in the past because I thought it was complicated or something. But Carson absolutely loves jerky and even though I always buy local stuff from some farmers nearby, I figured I should try making some at home. So, I decided to give it a try with this meat. So I went searching for a recipe. Recipes using ground meat are hard to come by! I finally found one on GNOWFGLINS. It sounded very simple and easy. So I gave it a go. It was very easy to make and didn't take much active time at all. I only used 2 pounds of meat and adjusted the recipe below accordingly for my quantities. But here is the recipe as posted on GNOWFGLINS.
I'll update with pictures and how it tastes later. I just turned the dehydrator off, so we'll try it later on today.
UPDATE: This tastes pretty good. Lamb, especially ground lamb, has a unique taste. If you like lamb, you'd like this. We like lamb, so we like it. Carson will chow this down at home, but he won't eat it when we send it to the sitter's... I haven't figured that one out yet...
Jerky (with ground meat)
3 pounds grass-fed ground beef, venison, lamb, or buffalo (I used lamb)
2 teaspoons unrefined sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper... the original recipe calls for 8 times this amount, which is too peppery for me (I agreed...)
2 teaspoons garlic powder or granulated garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin (I used a little more)
pinch of cayenne pepper
Blend all the ingredients together in a big bowl. You may as well use clean hands. (I mixed my meat up the night before and let it sort of marinate together overnight in the fridge to fully absorb the flavors.)
Taking a portion at a time, press the meat mixture into about 1/8" thickness on a piece of natural parchment paper that is the same size as your dehydrator tray. Or use the ParaFlexx sheets that go with your dehydrator. You could also use a rolling pin to spread it out, or a jerky gun, or a cookie press with the proper tip. (I just used my hands to flatten it.)
When a sheet is full, square up the edges to your liking, using your fingers. Then use a butter knife (or a Baker's Edge) to score the meat into jerky-size pieces. Transfer the whole shebang to a dehydrator tray and put the tray in/on your dehydrator. Repeat until you've spread out all your meat mixture. This recipe fills 4 to 5 trays of a 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator, depending on the thickness achieved. (I filled 3 trays in my Nesco with 2 pounds of meat instead of 3 in this recipe.)
Set the dehydrator's temperature to 145 or 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on thickness, expect total drying time to be 12 to 18 hours. Flip over mid-way, which is usually when the jerky is curling up from the bottom and not sticking to the tray's liner any more.
You have to play with how much it "cooks" - and keep in mind that coming out of the dehydrator it is going to be much softer than it will be when it cools. Look for there to be no more pink and try to get it out of the dehydrator while it is still really soft. It is always surprising how much it hardens up once it is out.
Tear apart the pieces and put them in a bowl or tray to cool fully. Then store in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. Or in the refrigerator if not using up within two weeks.