So I have made about 20 batches or so of ground meat jerky. I have a Nesco dehydrator and a jerky gun I got at Bass Pro. The capacity is about 3.5 lbs of raw meat. I use buffalo meat I get at my farmer's market. I dehydrate it at 160F and use the flat attachment (not the round one) so that the jerky is flat, I think if it was round it might take longer to cook. At 160F, it is done in about 6 hours. I do not use nitrates or nitrates and refrigerate after making. It is always gone from my household after 5 days so I don't think I have to worry about preservatives or spoilage anyway. Here are a couple tips I have discovered.
Recipes: I've only used spices, never marinades. For the 3 to 3.25 lbs of meat I start with, I've found that I need about 9 TBSP of seasoning to convey taste, so 3 TBSP per lb of raw meat. That's not counting salt. I found that 1 TSP salt per lb of raw meat is about right, anything more is too salty, anything less not enough. I've experimented with different ratios of spices including cumin, white/black pepper, paprika, coriander, curry, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, and garam masala.
Recently I've used the recipe from Steven Raichlen's "Barbeque Bible" for the pulled pork rub at p.155 for 1lb of meat. It's fantastic although it does have 2 TSP brown sugar per pound. This is my favorite so far, you should try it if you can.
Some advanced tips:
1) I find that the Nesco unit I have can be a little uneven with drying so after 2 or 3 hours, I gently rotate some of the pieces which just takes a minute or two, although I've skipped this step a lot.
2) After 4 hours, I'll slice up the pieces into smaller bite size pieces and layer them back on the trays, only take a few minutes. This also helps to even out the cooking.
3) After 6 hours drying, I'll lay out the bite size pieces on a paper towel on a plate and stack up layers on the same plate. After an hour or so drying I put them in some smaller tupperware containers and put them in the fridge. After 90 minutes or so in the fridge, I take it out of the fridge, dump out the jerky back on the plate and wipe out the condensation that forms inside the container with a paper towel. I read somewhere that doing this is a good step and preventing spoilage but again since it's gone in a week, it may not be necessary.
Anybody else have tips or recipes to share for ground meat jerky?