Every other week get a package of meat from our local farm, Tara Firma. After the holidays, they sold off the turkeys that were not sold because they were “cosmetically challenged”; they had broken skin or a bent wing from the processing. Don’t worry, they were healthy and happy turkeys when they were alive. However, the farm deemed them unfit for the full price, so they sold them off to their members for a flat fee. Which is how we came about a 15 pound heirloom turkey, which sat in our freezer until just recently.
Since its just Matt and I, we weren’t about to roast a whole turkey just for us. So instead, we decided to portion it out and make turkey jerky and ground turkey. The first step, thawing out the turkey. We stuck ours in our fridge for about 3 days. Here is our wonderful turkey. You can see it has some missing skin on its leg.
Then, piece it out. We first cut off the legs. Sadly, we don’t have a butchers knife (but we registered for one…hint, hint!), so we used our boning knife.
After pulling the legs off, we sliced off the breasts then removed the skin. To make it easier to slice for the jerky, we put them back in the freezer.
I tried to get the meat off one of the legs, but there were so many tendons I got frustrated and decided to roast off the other leg for dinner. We put all the meat for the grinder back in the freezer to deal with another day, and all the bones went back in the freezer to make stock.
Once the breasts were mostly frozen solid, we pull them back out to slice them up. From our 15 pound turkey, we had 3 pounds of breast meat. We have a mandolin slicer that made it very easy to cut the meat into uniform 1/4 inch slices.
After the meat was all sliced up, we mixed up the marinade. We mixed together a cup of soy, tablespoon or so of ginger, couple of tablespoons of lemon juice, black pepper and about a tablespoon of powdered garlic. We then tossed the meat to coat, and let marinade overnight in the fridge.
My mom got me the fabulous gift of an Excalibur dehydrator for Christmas. I was really looking forward to using it for apple season, but it also did a great job for drying jerky! I placed the meat in single layers on each try, and set the temperature at 155 degrees. I checked after about 6 hours, and they were perfect!
Stored in a mason jar, I had to put it in the back of the cabinet because they were being consumed too quickly when set on the counter! Our 3 pounds of breast meat left us with about 1 pound of jerky. Yum!!!