I love making jerky and getting creative with different recipes and techniques. I recently started making pork jerky in my oven and was extremely pleased with the flavor, texture and affordability of the final product!
Let me show you how I make pork jerky so you can get started on your first batch today!
Preparing the Pork
The best cut of pork for making pork jerky is the loin. The loin is the best because:
- When you remove the fat cap the muscle is extremely lean.
- It is easy to slice the meat against the grain.
- There is no bone, gristle or connective tissue in the loin.
- The loin is extremely inexpensive
I use 2-3 pound sections of pork loins to make jerky. Here is what one looks like after the fat cap and silverskin has been removed.
I like a tender jerky so I slice the meat against the grain in 3/8 inch strips using a Jerky Board to get consistent slices. The jerky board is simple to use, highly effective and cleans up in a snap.
Try not to slice the meat any thicker than 3/8 of an inch as it will make it harder to properly dry the meat.
Cure the Pork
You will need to cure the pork with salt, nitrites and flavorings for at least 8 hours in the refrigerator. You can use a commercial jerky cure, the Hi Mountain brand is outstanding, or make your own cure.
Homemade Cure for Pork Jerky (2 Pound Batch)
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 2 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Morton Tenderquick
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
The Morton Tenderquick is a mixture of salt, sugar, sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate. The nitrites are what is responsible for the distinct taste and texture of cure meat and are useful for destroying harmful bacteria.
Mix the cure and seasoning in a bowl. Add a quarter of the mix to the pork and stir to distribute it as evenly as possible. After the mix has been stirred in add another quarter and repeat the process until all of the cure and seasoning are well distributed throughout the meat.
Place the seasoned meat into a clean bowl, cover and let rest in the refrigerator overnight so the cure can penetrate the meat.
Make the Jerky in Your Oven!
The next day, remove the pork from the cure, pat dry with paper towels and arrange the meat on a drying rack supported on a sheet pan. You want the meat to be evenly distributed and not touching.
Place the meat in a 325F oven for 20 minutes. This step will make sure that the pork is fully cooked and safe to consume. Some people will skip this step and go straight to dehydrating but I figure that a pre-cook step is easy enough to do and increases the food safety factor.
Remove the meat from the oven and lower the oven temperature to its lowest setting. The ideal temperature is 150F but my oven does not have that setting. Instead, I set the oven to 170F and prop the door open with a wood spoon.
Return the pork to the oven and let it slowly dehydrate until the pork is dry but pliable. This batch of jerky took 5 hours in the oven to finish.
Is it Safe to Make Pork Jerky?
It is absolutely safe to make pork jerky if you are using farm raised pork.
The safety of eating pork jerky stems from the historical concerns from eating under-cooked pork where there was a concern about trichinosis infection. It turns out that trichinosis has been completely eradicated in the US commercial pork industry for decades and is no longer a concern.
I would not make jerky with meat from the wild boar that you bagged on you latest hunting trip.
You know that this pork jerky is safe to eat because:
- There is no trichinosis.
- The meat has been cured with salt and nitrites which kills harmful bacteria.
- The meat was fully cooked after 20 minutes in a 325F oven.
Oven Made Pork Jerky
- 2 lbs pork loin
- 1/4 cup apple juice Cure Ingredient
- 2 tbsp soy sauce Cure Ingredient
- 1 tbsp Morton Tenderquick Cure Ingredient
- 1 tsp black pepper Cure Ingredient
- Trim the pork loin of any surface fat and silverskin.
- Slice the loin against the grain into 3/8 inch slices.
- Combine the cure ingredients and stir to dissolve.
- Mix the sliced pork with the cure and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
- Remove the pork from the cure, pat dry with paper towels and arrange on a rack with spacing between the pieces.
- Place the meat into a 325F oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove the rack from the oven and lower the temperature of the oven to its lowest setting.
- Return the meat to the oven and dehydrate for 5-8 hours until the jerky is dry but pliable.