1,2,3: Pick Your Own Pork Jerky Recipe!

I actually learned about pork jerky from a friend in China. I was doing some research into Asian cuisine and how pork is used in Chinese food. One of my friends showed me a recipe for Bak Kwa and this is where my research began!

In this post I haven't just included one pork jerky recipe - I am introducing you to three! This way, you can find which one suits you just right and try it out for yourself. Let's get started!

Can Pork Be Made Into Jerky?

I totally understand why people ask this question. After all, like most people, you've probably only ever heard of jerky made from beef or venison. Despite this, it is possible to make jerky from pork.

The key here, though, is to make it from a lean piece of pork such as pork loin or pork tenderloin. As with most types of jerky, th goal is here to create a snack that lasts for a long time. Fat, unfortunately, tends to go rancid sooner than lean meat.

Is Pork Safe to Dehydrate?

Due to the longevity of pork jerky, most people are concerned whether this meat is safe enough to be dehydrated. Yes, it is! As mentioned, you simply have to use a piece of meat that has the least amount of fat possible.

How to Dry Out Your Pork Jerky?

When making pork jerky, you have three methods that you can use: a dehydrator, an oven, or a smoker. While an oven and smoker get the job done beautifully, a dehydrator is easier and gets you that perfect texture.

If you like making a lt of commercial foods from scratch, then I would suggest looking into getting a machine of your own. You will be surprised with how much you can do with it!

friend pork jerky dish

How Long Does It Take to Dehydrate Pork Jerky?

Well, this all depends on the method that you use. If you are dehydrating the meat or smoking it, then it can take around 4 hours. Baking, on the other hand, can take anywhere from an hour to 3 hours, depending on the ingredients that you are using.

What Kind of Pork Should You Use?

You have two options here - you can either use a whole pork tenderloin or you can use ground pork.

The benefit of using ground pork is that it results in a faster prep time and cook time. The actual preparation method will be different, however. You should also be aware that the texture may not be the same as what you have had previously with other jerky.

Furthermore, you will also only be able to prepare this in the oven or smoker.

Preparing Your Pork Tenderloin

If you decide to use a whole piece of pork, the first step in homemade pork jerky is to prep your tenderloin properly. You can also use loin meat if you wish - it is up to you.

The meat may have some fat on it, despite being naturally lean. If this is the case, trim this away carefully. Use a sharp knife and get rid of it all, but make sure that you aren't slicing off any more meat than necessary.

If you want, you can partially freeze the meat first. This makes it easier to cut the fat off and to get the perfect sliced pork. You may want to cut the larger chunk of meat into quarter pieces first before freezing it. This will allow it to freeze faster.

When slicing the pork, make sure to do so very thinly. For one thing, this ensures that the meat will cook faster. For another, it gets you that nice, chewy finish that you want.

The Marinade

Remember what I said about the sky being the limit when it came to flavoring? Well, here are some examples of marinade ingredients. You can either choose one of these options or come up with your own.

For your first batch, I would suggest following a recipe. Once you have figured out what you do or don't like, you can then tweak the components to fit your particular preferences.

Sweet and Savory

This is great if you want a balance between sweet and savory:

  • 2 tbs. of brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. of white pepper
  • 2 tbs. of soy sauce
  • 1 tbs. of Shaoxing wine
  • 3 tbs. of honey, for brushing

Sweet

If you are all about that sweetness, this is the best option for you:

  • 2 tbs. of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp. of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 1/4 tsp. of curing salt, optional

Sweet and Spicy

If you like flavors that clash, you will love this recipe:

  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tbs. of chili paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. of whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp. of liquid smoke
  • The juice of 1 lime

Method

There is a little bit of prep work involved here. Add in all the ingredients to a saucepan and heat. Let the components simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes or until all the sugar has been dissolved. Take off the heat and cool. Only marinate the pork once the mix has cooled or you will end up cooking the meat.

How to Make Pork Jerky with Ground Pork?

For this recipe, you can use 1lb of ground pork.

Step 1

Add the ground pork to a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Mix well.

Step 2

Pour the marinade over the pork and mix, using your hands so that all the meat has absorbed the flavors. Let it marinate for 15 minutes or a little longer.

bbq pork in the making

Step 3

Place a parchment sheet over a cookie sheet or baking tray. On top of this, arrange the ground pork into a rectangular shape. Place plastic wrap over this and use a rolling pin to flatten the meat. The entire mass should be around 1/8th of an inch thick.

Step 4

Set the oven temperature at 300°F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully take the tray out and drain the fat and liquid. Then, flip to the other side and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the liquid and fat.

If you are worried that your sheet of ground pork is going to break apart when flipping it, try this. Place another sheet of parchment paper over the pork. Then, grasp both pieces of paper at each end and turn over. Place back on the baking tray and peel off the first piece of paper.

Step 5

Pat dry with paper towels. If using the sweet and savory marinade, then brush with honey. Then place the baking tray on the top rack and broil each side for 5 minutes.

Take out of the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting.

Homemade Jerky in an Oven

This technique works best in a convection oven so if you have one, make sure to turn on the fans. Pork jerky needs to be cooked at a lower temperature and most ovens don't go this low. If it is possible, though, set the temperature to 160°F.

Step 1

Cut the tenderloin in half lengthwise. Then, place on a baking tray and place in the freezer. It should be partially frozen in about 2 hours.

Step 2

Remove from the freezer and slice thinly. The best thickness for homemade pork jerky is around 1/8th of an inch. If you like it a little thicker, then you can cut the pork strips so that they are 1/4th of an inch thick.

Step 3

Combine the ingredients for the marinade. Pour over the pork and marinate for between 2 hours or overnight - the longer the better.

Once marinated, transfer the pork to a colander to get rid of excess marinade. Pat dry with paper towels.

Step 4

Set the temperature to 180°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. On top of this, lay out the jerky strips, making sure to leave enough of space between each of them.

Place on the bottom rack and bake for 2 to 3 hours or until the pork jerky has completely dried through.

How to Make Pork Jerky with a Dehydrator?

You can follow the same steps and techniques as with baking pork jerky. The only difference is that once the pork is finished marinating, you pat it dry, and then place on dehydrator trays.

Set the temperature to 160°F and then dehydrate for 4 hours or until the pork jerky is completely dry.

Smoked Pork Jerky Recipe

Once again, you can use the same steps as when baking the pork jerky. After you marinate the meat and pat it dry, place the strips in aluminum pans. Set your smoker to 160°F. Smoke for 4 hours or until the meat is ready.

Storing the Pork Jerky

To store the pork jerky, place in an airtight container. Keep in a cool dry place. It can last a week or two like this. To make it last longer, keep in the freezer or refrigerator.

Types of Pork Jerky

When you are making pork jerky at home, you have a lot more freedom to test out a variety of flavors and options - you can get as creative with your snack cuisine as you want. It can be salty, sweet, spicy, and everything in between!

Once you have the basics down on how to make pork jerky, you can experiment as much as you like.

This is all that you need to know to make pork jerky at home! From recipes to methods, you can find it all. The next time that you are looking to widen your snack cuisine horizon, you can give this pork jerky a try. It is sure to be a hit!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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