Monday, 15 October 2018

{RECIPE} Marinated Blackstrap Beef Jerky Dog Treats



Jerky is doggone irresistible to our boys, no matter what the flavour.  It's also one of the very few homemade goodies that our cranky old senior cat, Tiger, is interested in sampling. The dogs will very grudgingly share...hehehe.  Homemade dog jerky is very easy to make it is a great healthy treat option. There is absolutely no need to marinate at all - straight up plain jerky is our go-to meaty treat - but as we noted in last week's jerky post, by reader request we've created two quick and easy marinade ideas. Last week we shared our rosemary and ginger marinade and now here are the delicious details on our barbecue inspired blackstrap marinade.


All dogs (excluding special medical conditions) benefit from a healthy high-protein diet and high quality meats are a good way of adding extra protein to their diet. As dogs age, like our very special senior pup Oli, they slow down and burn less energy on exercise and play but this doesn't mean that they bodies don't need less protein.  Many veterinary professionals actually recommend a high quality protein-rich diet for seniors to help them maintain muscle mass and support organ/immune function in their golden years. And as the old saying goes - you are what you eat...which means you are what your food eats if you're a carnivore, so whether it's for you or your pets always shop consciously. Here is New Zealand, we're fortunate to have very good protein sources by default, with most farming still done with lots of free-range pasture time. So bring on the jerky and other meaty goodness!

Marinated Blackstrap Beef Jerky Dog Treats

Note: You can adjust the volumes and/or amount of any ingredient to better suit your dog or personal preferences. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can place your meat on a wire rack over a lined baking tray and use the oven to replicate the function of a dehydrator noting that it is recommended to pre-heat meats to ~75C then dehydrate at ~60C (refer to the safety link below).

Lean beef (or other suitable meat of your preference)
2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water

Marinating: Slice meat into thin strips or small pieces (see tips below), trimming off any excess fat if required. Place in a glass dish (or Ziploc bag, if you prefer).  Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the meat. Note: I don't actively give my dogs garlic, as it's a disputed food for dogs; however, if you are into garlic, this marinade would be a good flavour match for a little garlic. Mix to ensure thoroughly coated.  Cover the container and place in the refrigerator to marinate (4 hour recommended minimum and no longer than 24 hours) mixing periodically to ensure all the pieces get a nice bath in the marinade.

Dehydrating:  Remove from refrigerator and drain marinade. Place pieces onto the dehydrator tray. Optional: Pat lightly before placing on dehydrator trays to reduce liquid and make dehydrating and tray clean up a little easier.  Dehydrate according to your specific dehydrator's settings/instructions for dehydrating meat. The dehydration time will depend on your machine as well as how thick your particularly jerky pieces are, but I generally find mine take 4-6 hours. Allow to cool thoroughly before storage. Since homemade dog jerky doesn't use preservatives and isn't heavily salted like human jerky, it should be eaten within a few days of making or frozen (my preference) for longer storage. Dehydrated meat stores very well when frozen as it has already been stripped of moisture which mean that it isn't as vulnerable to freezer burn as typical frozen meat.



Tips and Tricks:
  • Leaner is better when it comes to making jerky.  You don't want fatty marbled meat: harder to dehydrate, less healthful, and a higher risk of going rancid.
  • For chewier pieces, slice the meat with the grain. For more tender jerky, slice against. Thicker strips will be chewier, but take longer to dehydrate thoroughly. If you find it difficult to slice your jerky meat, slicing from frozen may help. 
  • The easiest way to marinate jerky (or just about anything really...) is to toss everything into a Ziploc bag; however, if you're like us and trying to reduce your waste then a dish is a-ok!
  • We don't intentionally give our dogs onion or garlic just erring on the side of caution, but opinion is divided and if you are a garlic supporter this marinade would be a great flavour/scent match for some garlic powder.
  • For safety, start with a quality lean meat, practice safe food handling, and dehydrate with care using meat appropriate dehydrator settings or oven temperatures.  Although jerky is often kept at room temperature, we freeze and keep only small quantities in the treat jar or fridge to be on the safer side. You can read more about jerky safety here.

Hungry for more tasty treats?  See all of our recipes hereRemember, treats are for spoiling your pup in moderation. Some dogs have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt, have a chat with your vet.

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