No, not the animal that digs and lives underground. I'm talking about the Mexican dish Mole which is a sauce where the dark color comes from an unusual ingredient...Cocoa. Who doesn't like chocolate?!
I want chocolate right now after looking at this picture. My family is OBSESSED with chocolate! I'm serious, it's a problem.... That might be why I LOVE this recipe!
Slicing the Meat
I made this recipe out of Turkey, but this would also work great with beef. Start with turkey breast, it can be purchased at your local grocery store.
Turkey breast is extremely lean and works great for jerky. Slice the turkey breast in ¼″ wide strips trimming any visible fat away from the meat to prevent spoilage of the jerky. Fat spoils faster than meat, so getting off as much fat now will really extend the life of your jerky.
Make sure you slice the strips the same thickness, this way all the jerky strips will finish dehydrating at the same time. Wrapping the turkey breast in saran wrap and partially freezing for 1-2 hours will help harden the meat and make slicing even strips easier.
Making The Marinade
Since this marinade is made with cocoa powder and not hard chocolate, there is not need to use a blender. Add all the marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag and mix well.
Related Page: Dozens of Great Tasting Jerky Recipes – Click Here
Add the turkey slices and mix up the bag to make sure that all the strips of meat are evenly covered in marinade. Allow the strips to marinate for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator. The longer the better! Do NOT marinate the meat at room temperature, always marinate in the fridge to prevent the meat from spoiling.
Drying The Jerky
Once the meat has finished marinating, strain any excess marinade in a colander. I marinated this turkey for a total of 20 hours before straining. The longer the marinade process, the more intense flavor the jerky will have!
Before adding the meat to your dehydrator, oven, or smoker; lay out paper towels placing the meat strips on top. Pat dry the strips to remove even more of the excess marinade. This step will help speed up the drying process and prevent the meat from being ‘sticky’ after it has finished drying.
If your dehydrator does not reach 165°F, pre-heat the meat in your oven to kill any potential bacteria from the jerky.
I pre-heated the turkey in my oven on an oven rack. It took 20 minutes at 300°F to reach an internal temperature of 165°F. If you have the turkey directly on the pan, the cooking time will be closer to 10 minutes. Heating this way will change the consistency of the jerky making it a little harder and not as tender.
After pre-heating the strips, I placed them on my Nesco Dehydrator trays to be dehydrated. I dehydrated these for a total of 4 hours at 145°F. I would recommend taking a piece out and letting it dry to room temperature every so often and checking to see if it is done. Four hours was just about perfect for these pieces of jerky.
You can also use your oven or smoker to make this jerky. For more in depth instructions on drying your jerky, check out my Jerky Making Methods Page.
Related Page: Dehydrator Reviews – Click Here
Testing For When The Jerky Is Finished
While drying the jerky, you want to start testing to see if it has finished at about the 3-4 hour mark. Take a piece of jerky out of the dehydrator, oven, or smoker and allow it to cool for 5 minutes to room temperature.
Bend the jerky in half; it should bend and crack but not break in half. You will also see white fibers in the meat. The fibers are really visible when a piece is ripped in half.
If the jerky is not finished, continue drying for another hour and repeat the same process until the jerky is finished. 90% of the jerky i make is finished within 4-6 hours when using a dehydrator or oven and 6-9 hours when using a smoker. If pre-heating the meat in the oven, drying time can be as little as 2.5 hours.
This jerky had a GREAT flavor! The cumin and allspice really shine in this jerky. The chocolate flavor from the cocoa powder really makes this a true mole tasting jerky. Not too sweet, but also a little bit of a spice. There are so many flavors packed into these small turkey jerky pieces your mouth won't know what hit it!
To make the jerky last as long as possible, curing salt will really help along with keeping in air tight containers. I have put together a page on storing jerky and steps you can take to make your jerky have an extended shelf life. Check it out!
Old Pro Tips:
- Turkey breast works the best
- Use curing salt or celery juice powder to extend the life of the jerky
- Marinate closer to 24 hours for the most intense flavor
- Increase the Ancho chili if more spice is desired
For more in depth directions on how to dry your jerky, visit my page Jerky Making Methods or click on the pictures below.
Lean Turkey Breast
- 1 lb Turkey Breast
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- ¼ cup vinegar
- 1 tsp ancho chili
- ½ tsp allspice
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp curing salt (Optional)
- Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl or ziplock bag and mix well.
- Trim all visible fat from the turkey breast and slice ¼" strips
- Add sliced turkey breast to the mixture in the ziplock bag or bowl and marinate for 8-24 hours in the refrigerator.
- After the meat has finished marinating, remove from refrigerator and strain excess marinade in a colander.
- Pre-heat oven to 300F.
- Place turkey strips on a baking rack on top of a aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the strips reach an internal temperature of 165F.
- The jerky is finished when it bends and cracks, but does not break in half. Allow to cool for an hour before storing in an air tight container.