Easy to make. Packed with protein. Bacon makes it better. And uses ground turkey which you may have on hand already.
I’ve made Homemade Jerky lots of times; but as the saying goes, ‘Everything’s better with bacon.’ Turkey jerky is no exception.
In fact, I’m pretty sure my husband (and kids) are going to make it a rule around here: All turkey jerky must be made with bacon. The texture is great: Chewy but not too tough to bite. Plus the little bits of bacon mixed in with the ground turkey make for a yummy-smokiness.
And it packs a powerful amount of protein – about 21 grams of protein per serving – compared to 13 grams/serving of a popular name-brand version.
Then there’s the cost comparison:
- My Homemade Bacon Turkey Jerky – $3.75 for 4-5 servings – about 20 pieces
- Name-brand turkey jerky – $8.25 for only 3 servings!
This recipe started with a text from Deanna: “Just tried TJ’s Bacon Jerky. Unbelievably good. I’ll bet you can make it.” And so the challenge was on to try to make a copycat version of Trader Joe’s Bacon Jerky. #TrueConfession – I didn’t get a chance to taste TJ’s version before it was gone – but this recipe won’t disappoint.
And it’s really fun to make! Here’s some tips on making this protein-rich snack – the easy way:
- Use ground turkey – It’s just so easy to work with – and you may already have it on-hand. Many recipes use whole cuts of slightly frozen meat and slice it super-thinly. This can get tedious.
- A zip-top plastic bag works instead of a jerky gun/press – While a jerky gun handily squirts out jerky strips that are 1-inch wide and ¼-inch thick, I was pretty excited I got the same results using a plastic bag – with the corner snipped – and a rolling pin!
- No dehydrator needed – Usually when making jerky in the oven, in order to cook it safely you have to roast almost 8 hours. So it can turn crispy, tough and potentially charred. A dehydrator generally yields a better texture. But not everyone has a dehydrator. So my method of cooking at a higher temp, for a shorter time and then drying out additional moisture yields a safe and pleasantly pliable piece – without nitrates or preservatives (besides salt.)
- Hello bacon! I wanted the smoky, almost sweet flavor – and the wonderful fat that yields chewy not crispy jerky. But I didn’t want lots of extra fat – plus I knew too much fat would keep jerky from drying out properly. So I used a combo of finely chopped center-cut bacon and liquid smoke. (No liquid smoke is not a weird combo of chemicals that produce a smoky flavor. It’s basically just water that’s collected after condensing over a smoking fire. Interestingly, it’s often vegan.)
Now please tell me if you agree with my husband and kids: Isn’t everything – even jerky – better with bacon?Easy to make. Packed with protein. Bacon makes it better: Bacon Turkey Jerky via @tspcurry Click To Tweet
Have you ever made jerky? Do you own a food dehydrator?