My favorite jerky flavor combination is sweet and salty. So, the more fruit I add into my recipes, the better. The problem I’ve had with whole muscle jerky is that it’s difficult to get much fruit flavor to come through. Marinating only goes so far, so the solution was to make ground meat jerky.
Dried fruit offers concentrated flavor without adding additional moisture into the jerky mixture, which can affect the ability to bind. As the recipe says, you need to use freshly ground meat for this recipe. Do not use pre-ground meat that was frozen and then thawed—it’s too wet and will fall apart when you try to form the jerky.
I used a combination of dried, tart Montmorency cherries and dried cranberries. You’re not limited to just these fruits, so experiment to see which is your favorite.
Time to make
1 pound freshly ground goose
1 cup dried, tart Montmorency cherries and/or dried cranberries (reduced sugar)
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tsp. adobo sauce
3 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. #1 curing salt
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Also works with
Any ground meat
Dehydrator, jerky gun
- In a food processor, add dried cherries and/or cranberries and chop finely. Your jerky won’t bind well if the pieces are too big and the fruit might clog the jerky gun. Next, add the remaining ingredients except the ground goose. Pulse about 4 times until seasonings are well combined.
- In a bowl, combine fruit-spice purée with ground goose. Using your hands, work the ground meat until it resembles a bouncy, uniform paste. “Overworking” the ground meat makes it denser, which helps the mixture bind, so don’t be afraid to mix it for a few minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours to chill and set.
- Take the meat out of the refrigerator and give it another good mix. Stuff the mixture into your jerky gun, preferably one with a wide tip, and squeeze onto jerky trays into strips of your width of choice. Set dehydrator to 165° F and dry meat until you achieve the desired texture. Dry times will vary with different machines. My jerky took about 4 hours to dry.
- Allow jerky to cool completely before storing in zip-top bags. They will last about a week with no refrigeration. They’ll last a month if refrigerated, and longer if vacuum sealed and frozen.