The great flavors of Peruvian cuisine packed into a fantastic tasting turkey jerky, you can't go wrong with homemade turkey jerky!
My wife traveled to Peru many years ago and was the brains behind this recipe. She fell in love with the food and wanted to make a jerky that would remind her of that amazing trip.
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 grocer store.
Turkey breast is extremely lean and works great for jerky. Slice the turkey breast in 1/4″ 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
This recipe has some great tasting Serrano peppers that give it that little pop! When using peppers, I like to use my Vitamix blender to chop them small and fully incorporate them into the recipe.
Combine all the marinade ingredients in the VitaMix Blender and blend until the peppers are totally chopped to little bits.
The blender really allows the peppers to be a part of the marinade opposed to just pieces floating around in the marinade. Those seeds have flavor coated on them as well and give the jerky a nice kick.
Pour the marinade into a ziplock bag and add the earlier sliced turkey strips. Mix everything around so all the strips are evenly covered. Allow the turkey 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.
Don't those peppered covered turkey strips look good?! You know this is going to be some great tasting jerky....
Related Page: Dozens of Great Tasting Jerky Recipes – Click Here
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.
I liked the spice from the Serrano peppers, they give the jerky that POP that it needs. The citrus flavor from the lime and a small sweetness from the sugar round out this turkey jerky giving it an amazing flavor.
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:
- Trim all fat from the meat before marinating for longer lasting jerky once it’s finished drying
- Use curing salt or celery juice powder to extend the life of the jerky
- Marinate closer to 24 hours for the most intense flavor
- Use a blender to get the most flavor out of the Serrano Peppers
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
- Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a blender and blend well. Transfer to a ziplock bag.
- 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.