Jerky made from caribou meat can be an excellent way to preserve your hunting prize and provide you with a delicious protein to take with you on your next excursion. There are 32 caribou herds in Alaska, and nearly a million caribou. Contrary to popular belief, wild caribou herds found in the boreal forests or Alaskan tundra are not reindeer; reindeer are domestically raised caribou.
Before you create your caribou jerky, make sure that you select the meat cuts that come from the top rear quarter of the animal. Having field-dressed and properly prepared the animal’s meat, all fat and any connective tissue should be cut away in order to yield the best tasting jerky. Also, cut across, not with, the grain of the meat when preparing your jerky strips. This will retain the tenderness of the meat.
Here are a couple of easy caribou jerky recipes, taken from Ed’s Kasilof Seafood, Inc. and Everyday Recipes.
Alaskan Moose Jerky (Ed’s Kasilof)
This recipe calls for 4 to 5 pounds of lean caribou meat (again, take from the top rear or hind quarter of the animal for the best results). Cut the meat into strips that are 1/4 inch thick and roughly 1 inch wide. For the brine, combine:
– 2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
– 2/3 cup soy sauce (consider using a low-sodium soy sauce)
– 1 tablespoon salt
– 1 teaspoon ground pepper (cayenne pepper powder can add a nice kick)
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon onion powder
– 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Instead of using powders, try cayenne (or habanero if you dare) peppers, fresh garlic, and white onion. Dice them finely for a fresh alternative. If you plan on preparing the caribou jerky in a smoker, the liquid smoke is not necessary. Using either a large plastic bag or container with a lid, mix all of the ingredients together with the meat. Do not use a metal container for this process. Allow the meat to brine for 4-6 hours (or leave overnight in the refrigerator). Place the strips on wire racks, patting each dry. Set the oven on a low setting (125 to 150 degrees F should be suitable) and, keeping the door slightly ajar, cook the meat until it appears done (you can also use a smoker).
Caribou Jerky (Everyday Recipes)
This recipe also calls for 4 to 5 pounds of lean caribou meat cut into ¼-thick, 1-inch wide strips. You can thin the strips to 1/8 thick if you like. Create a marinade that consists of:
– 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
– 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 4 cups warm (room temperature) water
– 1 tablespoon onion powder
– 1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce (the hotter the better!)
– A dash of soya sauce (to add coloring to the jerky)
Mix the ingredients in a glass bowl and add the caribou. Keep the mixture in the refrigerator, covered, for about 6 hours. Pat the strips dry with a paper towel and place directly on the rack of a vented oven at 150 degrees F. You’ll want to place a pan underneath the strips in the oven to catch any drippings. The caribou meat, when cooked, should be bendable without breaking.
Try mixing in different spices like cumin, paprika, red pepper, and oregano for added flavor and heat. Enjoy!
This article was written by wife, mother and home cook Jules Parmer. She has frequently had to prepare this and many other caribou recipes when her husband returns from caribou hunting at Nueltin. Check them out at nueltin.com.
Image credit goes to Striving to a goal.