Q & A with The Wolf Pack : Homemade beef jerky and The Goal Zero Escape Combo

Question from Bam Bam

Question #1

I have a question for the pack for the “Ask the Pack” segment. I love this new “Ask the Pack” segment. I am seeking help making beef jerky.

I have a dehydrator and a food saver, two tools necessary to make and store homemade beef jerky. I have done a little research–I know to use the lean cuts of meat for instance. The main thing I am having trouble finding is a good recipe for the marinade. (Someone suggested Claudes Marinade on Amazon but I couldn’t find it.)

Please let us know how you make your jerky, whether you use a store-bought marinade or whether you make your own.

Question #2

Do any of you use a solar charger (maybe with a battery back up) to charge phones / tablets? If so, which ones do you recommend? I am thinking about getting the Goal Zero Escape Combo. Here’s the link “Goal Zero Escape Combo. I want a product that can recharge two Mac Books and two cell phones. Can the Goal Zero do that?

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. hvaczach says:

    I generally smoke by beef / deer jerkey I don’t own a dehydrator would like to get one eventually. I use terriyaki,a little worchestershire, brown sugar, garlic, and onion powder, and papperika. that is one of the marinades I use basically equal parts of all dry seasonings and enough liquid to make it soupy. there is no set ratio really its kind of a to taste thing. I have added a little yellow mustard from time to time for some tang with good results. I let set for 24 hours in a sealed bowl shaking it around from time to time then slow smoke with charcoal and apple wood for twelve hours. It needs to be refrigerated for long term storage. DW and kids love it! Sorry I don’t have exact measurements as I tend to cook from the hip so to speak but I would guess a cup of terriyaki 1/3 cup worchestershire and a teaspoon seasoning and maybe 1/4 cup brown sugar per pound of meat at least a starting point till you get what you want.

  2. tomfish says:

    Hi Bam

    When I make jerky, and I’ve used everything from steaks to roasts, I tend to make the same marinade…but I don’t really measure. It is roughly: 2 cups soy sauce, liquid smoke, worchestershire sauce, powdered garlic, salt and pepper and maybe a dark beer. I just eyeball the measurements based on the amount of meat. Might want to use low sodium soy sauce. I think my favorite jerky comes from slicing up a roast with a meat slicer and using this marinade. Using the beer makes it a little less salty and gives a good flavor. I also usually powder it all with good paprika before it goes in the dehydrator.

  3. riverrider says:

    no love on the jerky, have yet to make my own. on the power thing, you don’t need a setup that big to charge phones/tablet only. they take very little power. a 5 watt panel would do okay by itself or you could use it to charge one of those powersupply things that usually come with a small inverter,battery, air compressor etc all in one. my setup is 2 each harbor freight 45watt sets (on sale 149.00 now) with 4 each 105 amp deep cycle batts, xantrex charge control and a 3k inverter. i wired the every room in the basement with 12v lights and 12v plug. i ran a line from the prep room inverter up to the corner upstairs where the computer,lamp and dish box lives. my system cost close to 1k but i can run anything 120v in the house if need be and have 24/7 lighting. its modular so you could start with one batt, a hf set(which comes with a small control/charge station and 2 lights) for the less than the goal zero. of course it would be somewhat harder to bug out with. if i was just charging phones n such i’d use the car, or get one of those power supply things. duracell makes a good one, my sis gave me one that still runs five years later. it was about 70 bucks. let us know what you decide on. good luck.

  4. GoneWithTheWind says:

    I have the harbor frieght 3 panel 45 watt PV panels. I have two car sized (vs golf cart sized) lead acid deep discharge batteries. And a 400 watt inverter. The entire system cost under $400 and has a much greater capacity then the goal zero system. The problem is it is bigger then the goal zero system. But this system is installed permenently on my motor home so the size is inconsequential. I can charge ipads and phones and the watt meter stays at essentially zero. Plug in a laptop and the watt meter moves from 20 to as much as 45 depending on the state of charge of the laptop and what I am doing with the laptop. I plan of 4 hours of 100% sun as a recharge. (That means 3 hours of average 25-50% sun, then four hours of 50-100% sun followed by 3 hours or so of 25-50% sun over a days exposure. So I gain 180 watt/hours. Given the efficiency of PV panels, batteries and inverters I expect to get back between 100-150 watt hours a day. That is 2-3 hours of two PC’s, charging a phone and ipad. Sometimes we watch a TV which uses 22 watts (including a built in DVD player. The amount available is adequate, some days we don’t use much at all. The system also has a 120V charger if we are connected to electric and it charges from the vehicle alternator when we are driving. I almost never start up the generator mostly because of the noise and inefficiency of it as a battery charger. I have only used the generator to run a hair dryer for my wife in the morning, a microwave for popcorn on rare occasions or to run an electric chainsaw for a few minutes to cut some found wood for the fire. I have considered replacing the PV panels with a single 180 watt panel which would really be far more then I need but would give me the ability to use a larger inverter for bigger appliances.

  5. JP in MT says:

    Bam Bam:

    I have been looking for something to charge batteries, phones, and tablets using solar for some time. What I finally settled on is this:


    Of the 3 I bought, I settled on this one as the standard because it does all of the charging I need, plus it is only about 50% bigger that a pack of cigarettes.

    Work for me, anyway.

  6. Texan By Choice says:

    I keep a goal 0 sherpa 50 and Nomad 13 (older quad fold style) in my bug out bag. I have used them extensively while camping and they always do the job. I’m sure that the escape is built every bit as well.

  7. BigBull says:

    I have tried a few different Jerky recipes including soy and worcester sauce in a 50/50 mix with garlic or onion powder. My absolute favorite though is Frank’s redhot sauce- Slice the meat for your jerky, marinate in the hot sauce for two or three days (full strength) then place the meat in the dehydrator (without patting it dry). Usually takes 4-6 hours in mine. Comes out with a real nice tang and not nearly as hot as you would think.

  8. caoimhin says:

    Claudes Marinade is at the grocery store (all of them) out here in the 47th state. We use it all the time on all the different meats and poultry. If you find it you need to try it for your taste as it is like every marinade, salty. For our venison jerky we use soy sauce, black pepper and sugar as a marinade.
    As for the solar charger, all the small pocket size one’s work fine if you got all day to let it charge. It is wort the few dollars more to get the bigger one that is about the size of a legal pad. It folds out to 3 panels like the small one but will give you a much faster charge. If you rely on the GPS then you need to be using the device in the day light not charging it.

  9. This is the easy peasy go to jerky marinade that I use. I do all my jerky in the fall when I have all my game and beef butchered for the year. I do it in bulk. Usually every year I have one whole deer to jerk.
    Sorry the ingredients are in large amounts. But this is the one that everyone loves the most and I have to hide the jerky or the kids will all be rolling on the floor constipated as all get out.
    One gallon of Soy Sauce-Non GMO of course
    3 lbs of Brown sugar
    One cup of red pepper flakes. I make my own flakes from a mixure of peppers I have from the year before. Jalapeno, habenero, ancho, etc.

    FYI, one large mule deer doe will make 15 lbs of finished jerky. These deer are much bigger than whitetail. I can not carry a whole one by myself even after field dressing. Next time I will weigh it before I process it.
    Bittersweet. Now you know why it is so expensive.

    Sorry I can not help on the charger. I have a solar panel/charger on my camper.

  10. I have the Goal Zero Nomad 13 Solar Panel along with the Goal Zero Sherpa 50. The solar panel and Sherpa are fairly small and portable. I’ve recharged my cell phone a few times with the Sherpa. It’s a little slow to recharge fully. Outdoor Life just did a review of Solar Panels here: http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/hunting/2013/06/gear-test-solar-panels

    • Bam Bam says:


      Having read Rey’s comment about the batteries in the Goal Zero and other sealed units, I am concerned about the shelf life of the battery. How long have you had your Goal Zero? What is your experience?

      • I’ve only had the unit and battery for about three months, so I’m not sure it’s long enough to comment on shelf life. I’ve tried to utilize the battery – charging via the solar panel and then using to charge my cell phone. So far so good, but again, not sure I’ve had it long enough to say. The instructions did indicate you should use the units instead of just letting them sit around, which is what I’m trying to do.

      • if you don’t use them the shelf life is only 6 months. I love mine and use it enough for it to last. I have more lights and battery chargers to use with mine. They work good but they are heavy I keep mine in my truck and use it to charge AA and AAA batteries for my GPS. I would buy again because they are small enough to keep in a truck box and they work good. I use Harbor freight solar panels and inverters on the RV’s and they work good

  11. Jerky – for 1 – 2 pounds of venison
    Combine all ingredients and soak meat slices in a baking dish or plastic bag for about 24 hours to let the flavors seep into the meat. This will be a bit on the tangy side but I have not found anyone who didn’t like it yet.

    2 teaspoons salt OR 1 teaspoon Lowry Seasoned Salt and 1 teaspoon Cajun Spice.
    1 tsp pepper
    1 tsp onion powder
    1 tsp chilli powder
    1 tsp garlic powder

    1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
    1 teaspoon Heinz 57 or A1 sauce
    1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    1/2 tsp liquid smoke
    1 cup of water

    hang in oven at 200 degrees for 4 hours if thick cuts.
    In dehydrator may take 24 hours or more.

  12. tommy2rs says:

    Mostly I just mix brown sugar with either soy sauce or teriyaki, depending on what I have at the time, marinade over night then dry it. After that I dust it all with either New Mexico green or New Mexico red chile powder. Greens my fave. Then I cold smoke it.

  13. Hey Bam Bam!

    I am so glad you asked this question! I haven’t made jerky in about 5 years so I went looking for my marinade recipe. I couldn’t find it. Then it dawned on me (smack to the forehead), I tossed it out. For my tastes, simpler is better.

    Question #1:

    Soy sauce (about 2 cups)
    Granulated garlic (about 2 Table spoons)
    Onion Powder (about 2 Table spoons)
    Powdered celery (if you use celery salt, use low sodium soy sauce) (about 1 Table Spoon)
    Ground pepper (about 1 Table spoon)
    Liquid Smoke (NO MORE THAN 1 tea spoon)

    If you like it spicy, I go with Franks Red hot (about a quarter cup).

    Marinate. 12 hours is good, 24 is better. Do it in the fridge.

    Since you said you have a Food Saver, if you have one of the vacuum canisters, you can cut your marinade time down to 4 to 8 hours. I’ve done it that way and like it better. Still, let it marinate in the fridge. Just make sure the meat is covered by the marinade. I had some once stick above the marinade and I could definitely taste the difference.

    I don’t add any extra salt because the soy sauce has more than enough salt to make your ankles swell.

    If you like, you can sprinkle red pepper flakes or course ground pepper onto the meat when you lay it out on the dehydrator. It depends on your eaters and what they like. Personally, I can’t stand Teriyaki, but I had a girl friend at one time who got biologically excited from teriyaki jerky. I would add one cup of teriyaki to the above mix.

    Before I managed to get a meat slicer off of e-bay, I would freeze my meat for about an hour. It made slicing a lot easier. Even with the slicer, the semi-frozen meat slices better. It also helps with trimming the fat off of the meat. BTW, I would always get the cheapest cuts of meat I could to do my jerky. Most of the time, I would ask the butcher for scraps and get pounds for pennies.

    My personal preference is to slice the meat across the grain. I like the taste, not the workout you get from stringy jerky.

    Question #2

    I got a solar cell phone charger from cellphoneshop.net It was the one with the “flashlight”. It’s about a quarter inch tall and about 6 inches long by 3.5 inches wide. Right now they are $19.99. They were the same price two years ago, so don’t let the website fool you into “buying NOW”. If you google cell phone shop.net coupon codes, you can get a break on shipping. They always have a break on shipping with a coupon code.

    I have three of these things. On is at home, one is in the car, and one is at work. They are basically self contained batteries that are charged by the solar cells. You can charge your phone in direct sunlight attached to it or you can plug your phone into one of the charged units later and charge your phone off of the stored charge. They use a standard USB type of cord, so if you can find a cord for your phone that that has the adapter on one end for your phone and the other a micro-USB to go into the solar charger, you are golden.

    Charging from one battery pack to your cell phone takes a few hours so don’t rely on it to surf the web or play solitare on your phone, but for emergency calls… you are set. I don’t work for these people (they are in china) but they also sell dirt cheap replacement batteries for your cell phone. They aren’t as pretty as the ones you get from your cell carrier but they last just as long.

    I hope this helps,


    • Oh,

      Before I forget. Alton Brown had an episode of Good Eats where he made his own liquid smoke. I can’t find the episode on youtube but I did find a bunch of “how-to’s” that were essentially the same. Just Sayin’

  14. Macintosh says:

    I agree with many of the marinades. Eye ball the amounts but I use a whole bottle of Liquid Smoke, cup or 2 of soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, orange juice, and some Franks. Just keep tasting till it seems a little strong and you have it just right. Works on a 3-4 pound roast.

  15. stuckInVa says:

    Been using this jerky recipe for years and it’s by far my favorite. London Broil, Flank and eye of round work the best for the low fat content. I would highly recommend getting a food slicer to make things much easier. (pro tip, put the meat in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up before slicing)

    I marinade for 4 days with the following:
    Per 2lb
    2/3 cup Worcestershire
    2/3 cup soy sauce
    2 tsp black pepper
    2 tsp onion powder
    2 tsp garlic powder
    2 cloves fresh garlic (minced)
    1 tsp liquid smoke
    2 tsp red pepper flakes

  16. Bam Bam says:

    Oh, my. I just got home from work and read all the recipes. I have to make some beef jerky. I just have to decide what recipe to use. I like the reduced salt soy, liquid smoke with garlic powder and onion powder. That sounds good.

    I am thinking about the Goal Zero (or some other setup) mostly to recharge our laptop batteries during hurricanes. We could do without the Internet for a few days but we need access to computers since that’s how we get most of our work done. We have a generator but it is so noisy. We plan on using the generator only for the freezers. This may be ignorance but I am not too keep on plugging in my new Mac Book Pro to a generator.

    • K. Fields says:

      If you have a new macbook pro, it probably uses an 85-watt charger, not the old 45-watt one.
      Just glancing at the escape combo specs. I don’t think it’s inverter will be able to provide the power you need.

      • K. Fields says:

        Perhaps I should explain that statement. First, macbook pros cannot be charged by usb because a usb connection can’t handle the wattage necessary. You must use the supplied magsafe power adapter.
        That adapter pulls 85-watts which means you need an inverter rated at 150 to 200 watts to be safe. The Escape 150 Power Pack will only put out 80-watts and thus cannot power the computer.

        • Bam Bam says:

          K. Fields,

          I fear I am showing my ignorance here, but I was just going to plug my Mac cord into the power unit instead of plugging it into the wall.

          • I also keep one of these and another model around – fully charged at all times. During a power outage I use them to power electronics, then recharge from generator. They’ve worked well for me so far.


            • Bam Bam says:


              I couldn’t tell from the picture, does this battery have a plug in for the three-prong cords? (The power cord for my computer has three prongs.)

              • Yes, there are three spots on the front of the battery to plug in three-prong cords.

          • K. Fields says:

            I think it’s my lack of ability to give a clear explanation rather than your ignorance.

            The Escape Combo Pack you’re looking at consists of a lantern, a small solar panel and an inverter/battery unit (the Escape 150 Power Pack). The idea behind the system is that you can use the inverter/battery unit to power and recharge small items such as cell phones, iPods, and some laptops and then use the solar panel to recharge the inverter/battery unit (or some items directly) when the sun is out.

            The mac book pro though, needs a lot of energy to charge and operate and, unlike some other laptops, that energy must be supplied through the magsafe power adapter that you plug into the wall. As you say (correctly) you planned on simply plugging into the Escape 150 Power Pack instead of a wall socket. That is indeed the only way possible to do it. Your computer cannot be charged via a USB port or directly from the included solar panel.

            But there lies the problem. The Escape 150 Power Pack simply cannot produce enough energy from its internal batteries, even when fully charged, to power your computer.

            When looking at purchasing one of these battery back-up systems, you must find one where the enclosed inverter can produce 150 to 200-watts (look at the specification sheet for “Output – AC”) to be able to safely power and charge your mac. The Escape 150 Power Pack can only produce 80 so it will not work for your intended use.

            • Bam Bam says:

              K. Fields,

              You have just saved me a couple hundred dollars! Thank you for posting the explanation. The Goal Zero 150 won’t do what I want it to do. That’s good to know before purchasing.

  17. Bam Bam says:

    Oops! Where are my manners. Thank you all for your responses. I am going to have to think through them in more detail, especially the recommendations on solar setups.

  18. john p foley says:

    I use a goal zero to charge my phone and fire I attach it to my pack and use it while im hiking I have the guide ten it works great for what I need but im thinking I need something a little bigger

  19. Bam Bam says:

    Does anyone have the coupon code from the July EE catalog? The Goal Zero set up is on sale this month. I wanted to see how much it was with the coupon code but I cannot find the catalog.

  20. Ah Crap says:

    Try soy sauce diluted 1:1 with water and pepper.

  21. gunrunner says:

    There is a very informative series of books written by Monte Burch with Outdoor World Press. He has wrote on butchering, field dressing game and a great book on just jerky. I got them off Amazon all around $15 a book or so…….

  22. JeffintheWest says:

    Claude’s BBQ Brisket Marinade is on Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=claude%27s%20bbq%20brisket%20marinade

    You can order a case of the stuff, or a large plastic bottle full of it, or just one bottle at a time, depending on what you want.

    Generally what I do is take a cheap steak, beat it thoroughly with a meat tenderizer, think slice it by hand into long thin strips, trimming the fat to your taste (note that excess fat means that the “storage life” of the jerky is substantially reduced, but if you’re a believer in the “fat is flavor” school of thought, it may be worth it to have some with some fat on it, just for the taste assuming you’ll eat it pretty soon). Then lay it out in a large plastic tub (that fits in the refrigerator) with the strips as flat as possible and layering as necessary, and pour enough Claude’s into the tub to ensure all layers are at least exposed on one side.

    I let it marinade overnight (at least 12 hours), periodically turning the meat to make sure all layers are fully exposed to the Claude’s marinade.

    The next day I lay the strips out in my dehydrator trays and let her rip until the meet is thoroughly dried. This may require some management in the form of restacking the trays so that the bottom one’s wind up on top and vice versa to make sure you are getting an even drying throughout the meat. Dehydration usually takes about 12 hours as well (depending on conditions).

    WARNING: a delicious smell will permeate your house and it’s immediate vicinity, attracting dogs (including the neighbors’) AND the neighbors to find out what it is you’re cooking…. Clearly this is not something you will be doing after TEOTWAWKI, but until then it can sure make life more enjoyable!

    WARNING: Cleaning up the drips of Claude’s that fall on your dehydrator takes a LOT of elbow grease if you wait for the dehydration process to fully take effect, so wiping down the surface of the dehydrator early and often in the process will save you some major work later. Your lattice trays are a bear to clean, but soaking them in hot soapy water for a few minutes will again save you some time and aggravation!

    After that, enjoy! (You will find, at least in my experience, that long-term storage of this material is relative; I was lucky to keep any on hand for a week after doing a large steak, and as previously noted, I watched my ex’s Grandfather go through five pound bag of this stuff in an hour and a half, despite his high blood pressure!) 😉

    • JeffintheWest says:

      Oh, I should add, that if you go through M.D.’s Amazon link, he get’s a small slice of the action, so it would be nice if you did so! 😉

      • Bam Bam says:


        Thanks for the link. I have ordered some Claude’s Marinade. With this many folks recommending Claude’s, I bet it’s going to be excellent. I am going to get the brisket and slice it against the grain. Now I am excited. My only problem now will be to keep it away from my dh.

        • JeffintheWest says:

          Yeah, good luck with that! 😉

          I used to hide a bag so my ex and the kids wouldn’t get it all while my back was turned…I figured I did the work, I ought to enjoy at least some of the product!

  23. TrailGuide says:

    VEQ (very excellent question). I have also been playing with finding the jerky we deem ‘perfect’. All recipes I have found are pretty basic ingredients + some here and there stuff in my wide range search of “THE BEST”. Most I found it’s the cut of meat (London Broil +10)and the slice (against the grain +10) that gets up / down votes ~ not so much on ‘did you like this flavor or that one’. This subject is subject to the likes of the taste buds you are feeding; but I’m finding it very expensive to find the clan favorite. (Note to self, hit the deer hunters up this fall for extras).

    BTW… Bam Bam you are the most gracious person – always – goes without sayin’ – hugs!

    To the Pack – hope everyone thinks on a reason to celebrate our Independence Day – in spite of the the gloomy forecast – go pop a fire cracker… or several… it may all that’s left of the Republic.

    Sparklers for everyone! TG ~…~

    • JeffintheWest says:

      Isn’t Bloomberg trying to outlaw sparklers now? 😉

    • Bam Bam says:

      Thanks, TrailGuide. Oh, no. Now I feel unknowing is beef brisket the same thing as London Broil? The only beef I usually get is NY Strip and hamburger.

      • JeffintheWest says:

        Personally, I might go with the London Broil. BTW, I’m not recommending brisket for the jerky by any stretch, it’s just that the MARINADE is called “brisket marinade.” In fact, I don’t think I ever used brisket for jerky, so if you do, please let us know how it turns out!

      • BamBam;
        I use London Broil, Rolled Rump Roast, if you want to use a higher grade of meat there is TriTip Roast. If you have a meat slicing machine you can experiment with the width of the meat you want to jerky. I have never heard of anyone using Brisket for jerky, it is one of the toughest pieces of meat on the bovine.
        I would give you the recipe I use but with fire season upon us here I have my rare books, family records in storage away from our home. My dh loves the teriyaki jerky, and I like the peppery flavor.

  24. James Nelson says:

    I quit making jerky a few years ago in favor of dried meats that have a much longer storage life. Most jerky is only good for up to 6 months.
    Dried cooked hamburger keeps far longer when stored in sealed jars or mylar bags with o2 absorbers. Just grind or buy burger, boil until cooked through, remove from liquid and dry until crunchy. The liquid I can for soup and stew broth. This makes a good base for pemmican.
    The jewel of dried meats IMHO is biltong. You need lean meat cut in strups 1 to 2 inches thick both ways and up to 8 inches long cut with the grain. Dredge pieces in salt and store in fridge for 1 hour and then rinse the salt off in vinegar. Malt vinegar is traditional, I use what ever is on hand. Coat the meat with a 50/50 mix of coriander and black pepper and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours and then dry until the pieces are stiff and inflexible. I use a dryer for about a day and 1/2 at 160. If you have a dry house, you can hang it from the ceiling and it will take about a week. Because of the salt, the biltong will continue to cure over time, it has a very long shelf life. I store it in mylar with o2 absorbers.
    WARNING! If others know you have biltong it will vanish quickly. A famous prepper podcaster says that the only way to eat biltong is under the covers with a flashlight at 3:00AM so you don’t have to share. His recipe differs from mine, there are many variations.

    • Teach me more Sensai.

      I have never heard of biltong before. And I’ve been around the block once or twice before.

      In case there is any misunderstanding, I am being completely respectful and I would like to know more. Please share…

  25. James Nelson says:

    Quick proof read, the dried burger makes a good base for pemmican not the broth.
    I put the the burger and biltong together because biltong should be as lean as possible and I take all of the trimmings and make burger for drying.

    • James N;
      What exactly is “biltong”, what type of meat is it? Where is it located on the animal? Like Sirus, this is something I have never heard of before.

  26. For the solar recharger; checkout the SOLN1 at http://www.soln1.com or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-Y5TvWpWoQ

    There is a diy video in youtube and the website has the parts list. This system would cost you about the same as the GoalZero escape combo and its much more reliable, much more powerful and, since you built it yourself, easier to repair when something breaks.

    I have built similar versions for work and the one on the website is excellent.

    The problem withthe goalzero and similar systems is that the batteries are usually sealed lead acid batteries. SLAs have about a 3 year shelf life and by the time you buy them, they batteries are about 18 months old. You will be disappointed by their long term performance. If you build it yourself, you can later replace the batteries (the weak link) for new batteries from China (ebay). LiFePo4 batteries are ideal for this type of system although you can also build NIMH battery packs or buy some Eneloops and build a pack from those.

  27. In the 1980’s HP put out several books on food. I happen to receive a book with my dehydrator(used), title was “How to Dry Foods” by Deanna DeLong. In the back were several jerky recipes that we loved, if you can track one down it might worth adding to your collection.
    We have a Goal Zero lantern which can be charged by solar panels, electric, hand crank. It has the USB port for charging other devices. We have not used this for our phones but when I purchased the lantern I though it would come in handy.

  28. I know I’m missing out – I LOVE slim Jims, and they are so bad for you – with real homemade jerky you can control the ingredients. A food dehydrator is on my list of wants, but not a necessity (as of yet) maybe one of you can help convince my hubby of the value of such a tool?

    The closest thing I’ve done to smoked meat is wrapping my ribs in rub and plastic wrap putting them in my oven on 250 for quite a few hours. I’d LOVe to have a smokehouse as I adore the smells and flavors of smoked meat (especially pecan and hickory!)

    Anyone know of great alternative ways to make smoked meats and jerky’s? I’ve never really looked up on the topic, since I buy #10 freeze dried cans of meats.

    • riverrider says:

      they sell little smokers about the size of a dorm refrigerator. my bil cooks almost exclusively in his, yummy too. check cabela’s and basspro.

  29. S'wt Tater says:

    Dehydration can be completed in an oven, if it sets to 160 degrees or less, just crack the oven door and put a personal fan circulating the air, to remove moisture. You have to turn the meat more often, but according to the recipes, it takes less time. usually 6-7 hours as opposed to 12 or more.
    I use a homemade sauce, much like most of what is posted, but limit severely any peppers/pepper sauce/flakes.(family preference)…. Liquid smoke..is a +, .in marinating, ..The best results was found with the longest marinate…

  30. There are a million recipes for marinade, myself I just buy the prepackaged Fajita steak that is seasoned already,slice it up & put in dehydrator. Always tender & tasty. Go to a local butcher & check their price on fajita meat for the cheapest if you want to do your own marinade. Trim the fat good too.

  31. I always use curing salt in place of regular salt when I make jerky. Jerky making is messing with it until you find what you like! I imagine making beer is the same way!
    I use jalapeño powder in my blend and the curing salt helps discourage mold growth if just using the dehydrator. When I can get the smaller smoker going’ I will smoke it, and don’t have to use the cure. I am attempting to find a good recipe for dried sausage… Smoked then dried.

    • Shai,

      Help me here… what is the difference between salt and “curing salt”? I’m very curious about this and I want to learn.


      • “Morton® Tender Quick® mix contains salt, the main preserving agent; sugar, both sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, curing agents that also contribute to development of color and flavor; and propylene glycol to keep the mixture uniform. Morton® Tender Quick® mix can be used interchangeably with Morton® Sugar Cure® (Plain) mix. It is NOT a meat tenderizer.”
        Just perusing the Mortonsalt.com website… Oooooo, recipes for curing, brining and more….
        Uh, I’ll be back later… Need to find a recipe for dried sausage. You can buy the stuff all over the place here, but no one wants to give up the recipes!

        • Ok, back…
          The sugar and the salt help pull the moisture out of the meat, and the nitrate will help control spoilage. If you want to keep meat on the shelf without refrigeration, this is necessary. If you are not “cooking” the meat, ie just running it thru the dehydrator, this is necessary. If you’re going to store it in the freezer, not so necessary. If you get migraines from nitrates…. Find another method.

  32. Mary in mn says:

    I have the Suntactics sCharger-12, 14 watt USB Solar charger.

    It takes about 4 hours to charge an ipad 2.
    There are 2 USB ports. One is an auto-retry and the other is manual.
    I charged my ipad indoors with the charger in the sun through the patio door. It took about 4 hrs for a full charge.
    It did not work well through tinted windows so I had to find some untinted ones.
    It can be used for phone, batteries, tablet etc as long as you have a USB connection for it.
    I like it and am pleased with how well it works.
    It is about the size of 2 8×10 sheets of paper open and no thicker than an ipad when it is folded in half.

  33. Carl McNair says:

    I have 2 60 watt panels(bought used) and a 10 AMP charge controller connected to TWO 125 Amp/Hour batteries. The peak charge (10 AM-4 PM) is 5 to 6 Amps and winter -summer average 25 to 55 Amp Hours charge a day. You do not get the RATED power from solar panels because panels are usually rated at 20 volts TIMEs the Maximum Current and rarely do you use 20 volts directly ,also rarely do you get a cloudless sky.
    I use the solar charged battery to power a HAM radio and PC for an ECHOLINK node so as to have global communication ability to HAMs in range (25 miles) of the system. I leave the radio and PC powered 24 hours a day PLUS use my 100 watt HF HAM radio for 2 ,or so,hours a day.
    This set-up has operated for over 4 years and ,on average,been fully charged and the controller ‘cycling’ by 10:30 AM most days.
    Solar is reliable and a great power source,BUT unless commercial power is not available,SOLAR is not about MONEY SAVING,or even being GREEN for that matter as it takes more power to make a solar panel than you get out of that panel in it’s lifetime. Technology may soon overcome this…but the ‘fun factor’ and emergency power do come into play as does dragging out the long orange cord with my weed eater during a black-out and doing yard work. I get to tell a neighbor ,once in a while,that I have “Direct Connect” and the power never goes out at my house.More fun for e..

  34. Bam Bam says:

    I made my first batch of beef jerky Sunday. I made it with the Claude’s marinade. Unfortunately, I overcooked the jerky. The taste is good–dh will still eat it. But it has a dry consistency. I left it in the dehydrator at 160 degrees for five ours. Probably four hours would have done it.

  35. MdKnighthawk says:

    I use a dry rub type for marinade.
    Equal parts cracked black pepper, kosher salt and red pepper flakes.
    Layer beef in glass casserole and sprinkle mix between layers weight down with another casserole and refrigerate overnight.
    Then dehydrate, I then smoke it with hickory on the grill

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