Why Use A Jerky Gun?

A jerky gun is a fantastic gadget that can bring a whole new element of fun to home jerky making. It’s a great labor saving device that also saves time, conserves meat, allows for more creativity in recipes and is just plain fun to use. Jerky guns, also called jerky shooters, are available in a range of sizes that can hold from eight to 24 ounces of ground meat, and come with a variety of tips to shape the meat into jerky sticks or strips.

Traditional jerky making involves the “whole muscle” method in which a cut of meat is sliced, tenderized, seasoned, marinated and dried. Because the meat is sliced by hand, the resulting jerky is composed of a variety of irregular shapes. While some jerky purists prefer this method, cutting the meat can be an arduous process. The whole muscle method yields about one pound of jerky from three pounds of meat.

Using a jerky gun involves the “chop and form” method that lets the jerky maker get a bit more creative. In this method, ground meat is blended with a combination of spices, seasonings, and usually a dash of liquid smoke. The mixture is placed in the barrel of the jerky gun and pressed out onto the drying tray. One of the greatest benefits of this method is that the user can blend cheaper and tougher cuts of meat into the mixture, resulting in less waste. It also allows different meats to be ground together for interesting flavor combinations. This can be especially helpful when making venison jerky, which due to its natural leanness is usually too dry to be used on its own. Many jerky makers combine venison with a bit of beef or pork for a different flavor and more appealing texture.

Using the chop and form method with a jerky gun also results in a higher yield of the finished product. It only takes one and a half pounds of ground meat to produce a pound of jerky. When less expensive meats are added to the mixture the jerky-making process becomes much more economical.

Most jerky guns come with tips that shape the meat into either tubes or strips. Because each is the same thickness, they will dry evenly and eliminate over- or undercooked pieces. There are also tips that produce two sticks or two strips at a time, which can double jerky production for the true homemade jerky enthusiast. Jerky sticks are easy to store in vacuum-seal bags and because of their uniform shape, the packages take up less room than traditional jerky and can be stacked and stored easily with camping gear or in the freezer.

Often sold as part of a complete jerky-making kit (gun, tips, seasonings and dehydrator) they can also be bundled with cures and spice packets or as stand-alone units. Some models have round tips that double as sausage stuffers, letting meat lovers take their jerky-making skills to a new level. Jerky guns deliver great results, are fun to use, and are truly the fastest and easiest way to make homemade jerky.