Jerky is a favorite here at the Haugen house. We’ve enjoyed jerky from just about every animal we have hunted. Smoking meat not only adds amazing flavor, but it can tenderize it, preserve it and tame it.
If we end up with a “gamey” animal – due to what the animal was eating or what time of the year it was taken – we will most definitely make much of it in to jerky. Be it bear, deer, elk, antelope or waterfowl, smoking the stronger meats makes them much more palatable.
Although I have experimented with numerous jerky recipes, smokers, chip flavors, cuts and techniques, I had never ground the meat and used a “jerky gun.” This Christmas, we got a Cabela’s Jerky Blaster and put it to work on a bunch of mallards taken near our home on Christmas Eve.
As a recipe developer I am always trying out new gadgets and recipes. I like to make the most of my experimentation so I did 3 different brines for the duck. Not knowing how the ground duck would lay on the smoker racks, I opted for using a fine mesh jerky rack along with my cookie cooling racks. Because jerky guns use ground meat, there is more of a risk for improper cooking with this method. The meat must get to 165º to be properly smoked. This being my trial run with this method, I used my oven at 170ºF to assure a steady temperature instead of using my smoker.
We were thrilled with the results of this first run with a jerky gun. The jerky cooked faster in the oven but it retained its chewiness. The smoke flavor wasn’t missed as the bit of liquid smoked added to the brine gave it the traditional smokey flavor.
On the next go around I’ll see how the jerky works with the racks in the smoker and give it a go in my Camp Chef Smoke Vault.
Duck Jerky with Cabela’s Jerky Blaster
- 2 pounds ground duck
- 2 teaspoons canning salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated/powdered garlic
1 – Skin ducks and remove all breast, leg and thigh meat cleanly from bones, tendons and ligaments (some of these pieces are very small but it doesn’t matter as they will all be ground-up).
2 – Grind ducks on finest grinder plate or pulse in a food processor until ground. Add remaining ingredients and stir well.
3 – Refrigerate 12-24 hours.
4 – Set up jerky gun and have all racks lightly greased with cooking spray. Place racks on foil covered baking sheets if desired (I found this wasn’t necessary as there were no drippings.) 5 – Place cold meat in jerky gun and squeeze out strips of desired length. It is helpful to use the spine of a knife to stop the flow of meat from the jerky gun.
6- Place racks in a pre-heated 170ºF oven and cook 45 minutes.
Remove racks, flip jerky strips and return to the oven for an additional 45 minutes or until jerky reaches desired doneness/texture. We like our jerky dry so a few of our batches slow-cooked up to 3 hours.
7 – Refrigerate or freeze jerky for long term storage.
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