Navy Dads

Hello! So quick question for those of you making your own beef jerky. How have you been packaging it? Vacuum seal? Have you used those silicone packets that absorb any moisture? I'll be sending homemade jerky to my son in Bahrain, and want to make sure it'll be fresh when it arrives five days later, and he (and his buddies) will be able to enjoy it. Thanks!

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Paige is the one to ask! Click her profile: http://www.navydads.com/profile/PaigeRobbins

Tim... Good question because packaging the jerky properly is important to insure the jerky arrives to its destination well preserved.  When I started making jerky 8 years ago and sent primarily to deployed Sailors and Marines, I would vacuum each bag.  As time went on and the amount of jerky I prepared and packaged increased significantly, I changed my bagging method to help reduce costs.

I use quart size double zipper Zip Loc bags to package all my jerky.  I also insert a small silicone packet into each bag of jerky.  It's important to push all the excess air out of the bag before you seal it shut.  You probably already know to use lean meat because the fatty portion holds moisture and can mold in a short time.

To make your jerky packages special, consider putting personalized labels on each bag.  For example, I made labels using my son's ship Crest and added a personal note of thanks to the sailors.

Since your shipment is estimated to take only 5 days, your jerky should arrive in good condition.  For deployed ships, package delivery can take a few to several weeks to arrive.

Thank you for taking the time to reply; I am thinking I'll go with the ZipLoc bags, as I will be making a lot of jerky!  I like the idea of the personalized labels as well.  Thanks again!  

Paige said:

Tim... Good question because packaging the jerky properly is important to insure the jerky arrives to its destination well preserved.  When I started making jerky 8 years ago and sent primarily to deployed Sailors and Marines, I would vacuum each bag.  As time went on and the amount of jerky I prepared and packaged increased significantly, I changed my bagging method to help reduce costs.

I use quart size double zipper Zip Loc bags to package all my jerky.  I also insert a small silicone packet into each bag of jerky.  It's important to push all the excess air out of the bag before you seal it shut.  You probably already know to use lean meat because the fatty portion holds moisture and can mold in a short time.

To make your jerky packages special, consider putting personalized labels on each bag.  For example, I made labels using my son's ship Crest and added a personal note of thanks to the sailors.

Since your shipment is estimated to take only 5 days, your jerky should arrive in good condition.  For deployed ships, package delivery can take a few to several weeks to arrive.

You're welcome!  I'm sure your son and his buddies will appreciate the taste of home you'll be sending them.  I know and understand the efforts involved when making jerky, especially in large quantities. I make all my marinade recipes from scratch which adds to the task. When I do it, I refer to it as my "mass jerky production"!

and just a note...my son said Paige's jerky was the best he's ever had !

I think I want to adopt Paige as my mom...

Thanks again!  Are your jerky recipes on your page here?  I have a few already that I have used before, but am always interested in new recipes!  Thank you


Paige said:

You're welcome!  I'm sure your son and his buddies will appreciate the taste of home you'll be sending them.  I know and understand the efforts involved when making jerky, especially in large quantities. I make all my marinade recipes from scratch which adds to the task. When I do it, I refer to it as my "mass jerky production"!

What a thoughtful gesture. Jerky is definitely something they'd appreciate. 

I make turkey jerky. Our son won't be leaving for several months but... I have mailed out large batches to friends and family to enjoy over a period of a month or two.

Don't know why so many people save silica gel packs... they're quite challenging to recharge. I would caution against using them. They do have a shelf life even if they have been stored properly however most have absorbed all that they can absorb and are spent. 

I save mylar bags (they are actually reusable if not punctured) and purchase oxygen absorbers from Honeyvillegrain.com as well as from the LDS store. One does not need to be a Mormon to purchase from the store, https://store.lds.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product3_715839595_...

100 CCs should be fine for a 1/2 gallon mylar bag. 

This is what I do to seal a bag however others seal pouches effectively using other methods:

Place jerky in a clean mylar bag. Take a hot clothing iron and a metal ruler. Fold the top of the bag over the metal ruler then iron it to within an inch or so leaving just enough space to insert an oxygen absorber. Add a 100 or 200 cc packet, Take a straw and remove as much air as you can then immediately iron closed the last inch. Within several hours you will see the outline of your jerky. That means your seal was successful and the O2 absorber is doing its job.  Store remaining O2 absorbers in an airtight jar and use to seal the remainder of the jerky batch discarding what isn't used. 

Another option would be to place jerky in a clean mason jar and use a pump-n-seal, http://www.pump-n-seal.com/. This is a much more affordable alternative to commercially available vacuum sealers and quite frankly is not dependent upon the purchase of expensive consumables. I actually prefer the pump-n-seal. It's capable of evacuating > 90% of the air leaving an environment that is inhospitable to molds, yeasts, and bacteria. 

Jerky is generally dessicated at low temps over extended periods of time. Generally in an oven or in a dehydrator. The cellular activity isn't stopped... just put into slow motion if that makes sense. I would think if the jerky was cooled then packaged shortly thereafter that it would be fine in just a freezer weight double zip lock baggie without an O2 absorber for at least a week assuming it would be devoured upon receipt. 

Attention on deck! All home made jerky must be NavyDads approved! Send your samples to:

Jim Gramza

3026 Sunnymede Ave.

South Bend, In. 46615

That is all!

That's pretty funny.

Turkey season was sometime in spring... I think mid April. I'm usually given about 20-30 pounds of wild turkey to process. Yield is usually about 10-15 pounds. We have to freeze it for 60-90 days to make sure any parasites (extra protein) are destroyed before using it. I just finished a huge batch earlier this month using an Excaliber dehydrator that I set up on my porch outside and it's all gone. You missed out by a few weeks. 

All is not lost though. ;)  I plan on buying 2 large turkeys for jerky when they go on sale around Thanksgiving time. Yield should be about 20 pounds of jerky. The wild turkey jerky actually tastes better but unless you taste the two side by side, you'd never know the difference. Remind me and I'll gladly send you a "sample" along with the recipe I use which I got online somewhere. It's pretty easy to make and come winter, I can process it inside using my oven so the whole house smells like jerky for a while.

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