Salt plays a crucial role in jerky production, acting as a preservative and flavor enhancer. However, it's easy for this ingredient to dominate, leaving you with jerky that's more of a salt lick than a savory snack. If you find yourself in this situation, don't despair. The first line of defense against overly salty jerky is to rinse it off.
Some jerky may come with a salty coating which is easily removable, so start by running your cured meat under cold water for a few minutes to wash away some of that surface salt and reduce the overall salinity. If a simple rinse doesn't do the trick, it's time to soak it. Fill a bowl with cold water and submerge the pieces in it. Let them sit for about 15 to 20 minutes. Some of the salt will leave the meat and dissolve in the water. However, it's a delicate balance — you want to remove enough salt to make the jerky enjoyable but not too much that it loses all its flavor.
After soaking, you have two options to finish the process. The first is to pat the jerky dry with paper towels. This is quick and easy, and perfect if you plan to consume your meaty snack immediately. The second option is to dehydrate the jerky again using a dehydrator or an oven, which is ideal if you want to restore more of the original texture and ensure the product stays good for longer.
Creative Uses For Overly Salty Jerky
Instead of getting rid of the excess salt in an overly salty bag of jerky, an alternative solution is more of a balancing act. Jerky can be a fantastic ingredient in various dishes, adding a unique flavor and texture, while the other ingredients will help balance out the saltiness. One such option to repurpose your salty snack is chopping it up and using it as a topping. Use it to add a savory punch to salads, making them more exciting and flavorful. Or, consider sprinkling it over your favorite cheese for an extra kick.
Another creative use is to boil the jerky to make beef stock. The saltiness of the jerky infuses the stock with flavor making it perfect for soups or stews. Speaking of stews, why not try incorporating your salty jerky into a hearty stew recipe? Alton Brown's famous jerky stew is a great example. Remember to tone down on salting the finished dish since your jerky already has excess salt. You can also add chopped jerky to sandwiches for an extra layer of meaty goodness.
All in all, whether you're rinsing or soaking your jerky to reduce its saltiness or repurposing it into new culinary creations, there's no need to let a salty batch of jerky disappoint you. With some creativity and these handy tips, you can enjoy your cured meat in various delicious ways.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.