- It's Alive
- Season 1
- Episode 96
Brad Makes Bison Jerky
Released on 12/22/2021
[bird singing] You hear that?
[Cory] What was that?
I think it was a blue jay or a hawk.
Sometimes I mix the two of them up.
No, it wasn't a blue jay, either.
That almost looked like one of those small woodpeckers.
I don't know [beep] about birds.
Hey guys, today in It's Alive we're making a bison jerky.
We're gonna be making a little recipe on the fly.
A little jerky on the fly together.
It's gonna be great, bison jerky.
Oh. [camera beeps]
Simple recipe, just like beef jerky,
except we're gonna use bison,
a little bit of a flavor difference, right,
but pretty similar.
Just like beef jerky, you know, any red meat
for that matter, you can use elk, you can use venison.
We got this from our friends over at Force of Nature.
It's a little different than beef.
Obviously it's leaner, like more like a wild game,
but even the color, and it's just nice.
And we're just going to clean this up.
We're gonna remove any [bubbles pops]
of that little sinew
and that little silver skin, clean that up nice.
[air whooshes] Fat is not your friend
when it comes to jerky.
So, you just want to trim that off.
It's like, for jerky, [bubbles pops]
there's not much going into this.
So, you want to get the best stuff you can possibly get,
and as much as you can clean it up the better,
'cause it's just gonna come
[knife clanks] through in that jerky.
And then I just like
[bubble pops] to cut it into like,
little jerky strips.
So, with meat, you know, if you look at it,
it has lines that run in it,
and you can either cut against it or with it,
and cutting against it, it'll leave it like,
instead of having a stringy texture,
instead of pulling the grains, when it's dried,
they'll tear more, [meat ripping]
[spring boinging] almost gets like,
you kinda stretch it.
Either works or you just want to go try to find
that grain and then cut it in your desired way.
Yeah, that's nice.
[relaxing harp music]
The thicker, the cut, the longer it's going to take
to dehydrate and then also a little bit longer you're going
to need it in that marinade.
So, too thin, you don't want to go too, too long
in the marinade 'cause it can start to like denature
and get a little weird.
But I found, look, this is like, what,
I guess like an eighth inch, right?
And it's gonna shrink a little bit in the dehydrator,
'cause you're dehydrating it, getting the water out.
So, that's what we're looking for, something like that.
I don't need it to be tiny, nice little,
[gunshots banging] yeah, little steaker.
[hard rock music]
So, we got our sliced bison,
[bowl thuds] hanging out in the bowl.
Let's whip together our little marinade, all right?
You know, you don't even need a recipe.
Just use whatever you got.
Don't overthink it.
I'm just gonna put a little bit of salt
[air whooshes] on the beef.
[buzzer dings] Oh, God, it's bison.
Just like if you were gonna be cooking it to eat,
that's all, nothing crazy.
I don't necessarily need to go weighing it.
So, let's mix up our marinade first.
[air whooshes] I'll start
with a little bit of oli-oil, extra-virgin.
Yeah, that's nice.
And then we'll do, oh, this ole banger.
[upbeat electronic music]
I believe I got this from my wife's uncle's wife.
She's lovely from Costa Rica,
and she was telling me all about this,
and she gave me a bottle, [bubbles pops]
and it's wonderful.
It's good on everything.
You know, it's written in Spanish.
I hardly speak English, so we're good.
We're just gonna put that
[air whooshes] in there and it's wonderful.
It goes good on everything.
Oh yeah, look at that stuff, huh?
And this is a little bit of garlic powder.
We'll put about that much in there.
And look, this is a little wild card.
[game buzzer ringing]
I got some ground vanilla.
Little dab will do ya on this one here, folks.
And what do we got here, a little cinnamon,
but it's just going to be a subtlety.
Look, look, [air whooshes]
just a little tappers,
and that's all we need.
It might even been a little too much.
Next, prepared horseradish.
This will add a nice little like a tar tar, kind of riffy,
kind of spicy little note.
[air whooshes] Love that, teaspoon.
I'm gonna do a little dab of this stuff,
'cause I had it in there and it's wonderful,
and my buddies over in Hudson, New York,
The Poor Devil Pepper Company,
and it's got a little spice to it.
There's little Sichuan peppercorns in it.
[air whooshes] So, yeah,
one of your favorite, little weird spices,
get some of that.
What's next, what's next?
Oh, this is gonna be nice.
Little Red Clay Hot Honey.
Again, if you don't want to go down the spicy road,
you can just use a little sugar, or maple syrup.
[air whooshes] Look we're gonna do,
oh, just two table--
Not too hot.
And then I got this little, this little firecracker.
[air whooshes] It's basically
just a crushed Calabrian Chile
with some olive oil.
Oh God, I just love it so much.
So we're gonna do
two heaping back of a pretty standard fork.
Oh, that's got a little heat baby.
Then we're going to mix that up, all right?
Yeah, look at that, that's great.
Oh my God, that's amazing.
I'll never recreate that again, but that's okay.
That's how we roll.
Well, let's add our meat to our small glass bowl
that our director, Cory, is making us use.
[bird chirping faintly]
Was that a noise?
Or that sounded like a crow, didn't it?
Oh, it was right there.
Did sound crowish, didn't it?
[Cory] Remember The Black Crowes?
Jesus [bleep] Christ, Cory.
No, I don't remember The Black Crowes.
Yeah I do, actually. [audience cheering]
I remember he was so cool.
The videos were cool.
[bleep] New Amsterdam, he had like dreadlocks,
and [bleep] everyone.
He was cool, I wanted to be him, right?
Oh, which one are you talking about?
Oh, The Black Crowes?
[laughs] What band was I describing?
[laughs] The Counting Crows.
But anyway, back to the bison,
[meat sloshing] this looks great.
This might be some of my finest jerky work,
basically what you want to just make sure is
that everything is like nice and even, okay?
And this is just gonna go overnight.
I'll clean up the rim, put a little plastic on it,
[meat sloshes] pop it in the fridge.
That salt will start to pull out a little bit
of the moisture in the bison and game on.
Wrap it up and we'll see you tomorrow,
and we'll put it into the dehydrator.
Oh, that smells terrible.
Like there might be something wrong.
Yes, it's smoking.
[dehydrator beeps] Oh, yeah we have a problem.
The fan ain't working.
Look at it, oh, this thing's gonna catch on fire.
We've got some backups, buddy.
Gotta bring in the tried and true.
Almost caught on fire, I don't know what was going on.
The fan wasn't kicking in.
Heating elements were getting real hot,
started smelling like them toy cap guns,
so we pulled the plug,
and I broke out the old tried and true, the Sahara.
[dramatic music] All right?
I love this thing.
So we're going to use it today.
I got the rack set up.
[air whooshes] We set our temperature.
I got it to 133 degrees Fahrenheit, 130, whatever.
It's really just gonna change the texture
[bubbles pops] and the amount of time
that you need to dehydrate, and all that factors
into how much meat you have [vinyl whipping]
and how thick it is, yada yada.
Enough yapping, Brad, let's do it.
Yeah, look at that, nice.
You can see all that seasoning got right in there,
changed the color of the meat.
That's what we're talking about,
and then when you lay these out, lay 'em flat,
nice like that, and you don't want them to touch.
They can be close,
but you don't want them to touch because you want
that warm air that's circulating throughout the dehydrator
to touch all edges of it.
Look at that, smells so good.
This is gonna be good jerky.
Oh, this is that bigger one.
That's gonna take a little while,
but no big deal. [bubbles pops]
Sometimes I like them a little chewy.
All right, tray one in.
So, yeah, the dehydrator, basically, it's just a box
with a little electric heat element and a fan.
Like, you could literally build one, but basically,
it's just a fan circulating a low temperature heat.
That's gonna wick and pull the moisture out of the meat.
You know, pre refrigeration, you put some salt on it,
you smoke it, dry it, it's a way of preserving.
It's like, falls right in line
with like the old world way of utilizing and being able
to consume something that's perishable and seasonal
for an extended period of time.
If you wanted to, if you had a smoker,
you can go ahead and put it in there, just real low,
even an oven.
Some ovens, gas or electric,
some of them have a little dehydrator setting,
'cause a lot of ovens have little fans built in them,
[air whooshes] and it's basically
just a high temp dehydrator
at that point.
So, if you don't have a dehydrator,
look into your oven.
I set this, like I said to 133 degrees,
and we're gonna let this go for probably three, four hours.
I check it every now and then,
but definitely takes a little bit of time.
You know, it's one of them things.
I feel like every time it's always a little different.
And as that gets warm, you know, you can really start
to smell the development of flavor.
Even though it's super low temperature,
[bubbles pops] the flavors just develop
a bit more under a low temp like that.
So, we're going to let that go.
I'll keep an eye on it.
I set the timer for three and a half hours might take,
give or take a little bit more,
[bubbles pops] but that's it.
We'll catch you in a few.
All right, so we had our dehydrator going.
We went about five hours, you know,
because there was some variation in thickness of cut,
which is gonna happen.
Remember I had a couple of those thicker ones.
What I like to do is at like the four-hour mark, go ahead,
and I like to pick out all the ones that are done,
so they don't get over dehydrated, get chalky, get dry.
So, it's still hot, and as it dries,
it's gonna get a little firmer, right?
'Cause like, just like anything, when it's warm, it's loose,
it's a little more pliable.
So, I like to pick out the ones that are thin,
that I think are done and then put the thick ones back in,
honestly, it'll probably just take another hour
and a half or something.
I like everything to be done at the same consistency,
and it's really a personal preference at that point.
If you like it real dry, then bring it through,
or if you want it to be a little crunchier, little crispier,
if that's kind of your style, turn the temperature
up a skosh.
But the thick ones, the big boys we'll leave back
in there just for a little.
Yeah, I mean, we knew this one was gonna take
[bubbles pops] a little more time
just because of how thick it was.
You know, that was that one, I was like,
Ah, we'll make a steak sandwich.
Yeah, a little steaker.
These little ones are great,
and a little trick I got for you.
If you do take it a little too far,
or you forget about it or you're out there,
you went for a walk, or you went to go bring your pet duck
to the vet or something, [duck quacks]
[laughs] if you over dehydrate it,
what I've done before is you can throw it in like a bag
or a sealed container just like overnight.
And its own little moistures in there
will kind of rehydrate the outside slightly and bring back
that little bit of pliableness instead
of like potato chip crunch.
So, look, thin ones that are done into the container.
If you're gonna store it,
you want to keep it in a sealed container.
But these ones will go back in, like I said,
for probably another hour, let them finish through.
[moans] Bear with me, this is a chewer.
Little bit of sweet, little hint of spice,
but not too spicy.
It's kind of perfect.
It's a little pliable, but certainly dehydrated
all the way through.
You wouldn't want to keep jerky in the fridge because,
well, I mean, we're running off of a technique
of food preservation that dates way past refrigeration.
The reason why jerky was probably invented was
because there wasn't refrigeration and you could store it.
You can travel with it.
You're riding on your donkey [hooves clopping]
or whatever the hell you got.
You throw it in the side saddle.
[Brad chomping] I'm chewing on a piece of jerky
back on the horse, [horse neighs]
no big deal. [hooves clopping]
Bison, you know, it's got a lean, clean flavor.
I think the secret weapon, I think the home run,
the ace in the pocket,
was the Costa Rican little salsa sauce I had.
I forget what I, Salsada--
I forget what it's called.
Just gonna have to hit rewind and look at the label.
I held it up.
I'm gonna get some more of that stuff 'cause
that really added real cool kind of flavor in there.
Pantry bison jerky, just throw it together.
Trust yourself, trust your mouth, trust your palette.
You're a better cook than you let yourself be.
[bison jerky ripping]
Just sit down and watch a movie.
I got a couple ducks.
That's what I said that, you know, my wife came home
from the store and thought she was cute.
She bought a couple of them Pekin ducks.
You know, they're a little and young, fun,
and now they're the size of Mallory almost.
Oh, that sounds horrible.
[Cory and Brad laughing]
[Cory] Oh, God.
Like for a duck, I'm sorry.
I'll just stop, Jesus Christ.
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