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Ask The Sage

do you have a recipe for lemon pepper chicken jerky?

August 9, 2012
Firstly, let me say that I'm glad you are choosing chicken over beef jerky. This substantially cuts down cholesterol (especially if you use chicken breast) and fat. Jerky is a shelf stable snack that is great for the road, as well. High sodium is the only issue here nutritionally (which helps to make it shelf stable), but if you don't eat this all the time (or don't have high blood pressure) I wouldn't worry.

Lets talk about dehydrating chicken. Because of salmonella risk (which is more likely than getting e. coli from sliced beef), you will need to keep the temperature over 145 degrees. So, I recommend setting your dehydrator to about 180-200, 200 degrees being the max. Now let's talk time. The best results yield around 5 hours with this recipe. Moving on.

Before we get into the recipe, the chicken should be frozen when you cut it. This will ensure not only that you do not slip in the thinly slicing process, but also will allow you to get even cuts on the meat. If you have difficulty slicing, let it thaw in the refrigerator for about an hour to allow it to soften just a little. The chicken should be about 2 cm thick. Seem thin? It's jerky. I would go no thicker than 1/8 of an inch.

Here's the recipe, for every 5 oz of Chicken Breast:

- 1/3 cup lemon juice

- 1/3 cup olive oil (not necessary, but acts to even out the flavor and add moisture)

- 1 TB Lemon Pepper seasoning (choose one with the lowest sodium content)

- 2 tsp. salt

- 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes (for color)

It is important in preparing jerky from lean meats to marinate using an acid. The incorporation of lemon juice and olive oil here will keep the jerky moist but still dehydrated and chewy. Without it, the likelihood of the jerky coming out like cardboard is relatively high. Combine the mixture well before adding the chicken to it. Allow to marinate overnight as you want to have optimal flavor. If you have a tumble marinade device, set to about 20-30 minutes (standard marination has a minimal injection rate of about 15%, whereas tumble marination is about 70-80%, depending).

Let me know if this recipe serves you well. Happy eating!

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