How to Make Jerky from Ground Turkey

Dehydrator Method for Making Ground Turkey Jerky

Turkey jerky
James And James / Getty Images

You can use all white turkey meat, all dark, or a mixture of both for this tasty jerky. It is loaded with umami flavors and has just the right amount of chewiness.

Ground Turkey Jerky Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, grated (tip: peeling and then freezing the garlic first makes it easier to grate)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 pound ground turkey

How to Make Ground Turkey Jerky

1. Keep the ground turkey meat chilled until you are ready to use it. 

2. Mix together everything except the meat. Let the ingredients sit for 15 minutes for the flavors to "marry."

3. Add the ground turkey and combine well. Clean hands are the best kitchen tool for this job. Put the mixture into the refrigerator for 1 hour.

4. Lay out a sheet of waxed or parchment paper on a work surface. Scoop about a fourth of the jerky mixture onto it. Either pat it down by hand or put a second sheet on top and roll it out. Either way, it should be about 1/4-inch thick. Remove the top sheet, if you used one. Put one of the dehydrator trays on top of the jerky and flip the whole thing over, thus transferring the jerky to the dehydrator tray.

Remove the remaining sheet of parchment or wax paper.

5. Patch any holes by patting in more raw jerky mixture. 

6. Dehydrate for 4 to 6 hours at 155F. Check after four hours. You want your jerky fully dried but chewy, not crunchy. Don't worry if you're not 100 percent sure that you've correctly identified that consistency: the next step helps ensure food safety.

7. Safety Step: When your jerky seems dried but still chewy, transfer it to baking trays and finish it off in a preheated 275F oven for 10 minutes. This finishing step ensures a safe product. Here's why:

Not all dehydrator's temperature settings are accurate. You want the meat to get to an internal temperature of 160-165F to be safe. But jerky is so thin that it can be difficult to insert a meat thermometer into it. This finishing step in the oven ensures it's fully cooked to a safe temp. However, the brief finishing step cooks the meat and does not replace the lengthier step of drying the meat in the dehydrator.

Storing Turkey Jerky

Your turkey jerky must be completely dried and cooled before you package it. While it is cooling, it will give off some moisture, and you don't want that condensing in the packaging. You can store it in a glass jar or a plastic zip-lock bag. Label the package with the contents, "Turkey Jerky," and the date you dried it.

Your jerky should be kept in a cool, dark place. For longer storage, keep it in the refrigerator or freezer.