Simple Turkey Jerky

Turkey jerky2

Perfect for everyone, from your lovable, nerdy kids, to the English majors in your life who ROCK! *ahem* Sorry. Got excited there.

I found a lot of amazing ground turkey on manager’s special at the store!

I love ground turkey these days, almost as much as grass-fed ground beef. You can do so much with it, from making turkey salisbury steaks to meatballs, to this terrific jerky I just made yesterday.

Turkey is not only delicious, it makes terrific jerky because of its lower fat content.

In fact, each serving is only 8 grams of fat per serving, 21 grams of protein0 carbohydrates, and only 170 calories.

I use this dehydrator (<-link to my review), but you can find them on Craigslist for only a few bucks, especially after the holidays and people give up their New Year’s Resolutions (I know you’re not like that, though).

Because I have the best luck with ground meats as jerkies, I also have a jerky extruder (I am not an amazon affiliate. This extruder is representative of the one I have. Toss the seasoning packets; they’re typically sugar and MSG bombs).  The Nesco extruder works really well, is easy to clean and is solid, sturdy construction.


Turkey jerky1

Look at that texture. Don’t you want to lick that? Chew on it a little? You can, my friends. You can.

Tip: Test seasoning ideas in smaller batches/trays in case you end up not liking something.

Feel free to mix and match seasonings and flavors for a bunch of fun ideas. I like my jerky spicier, so I went with extra pepper and the normal amount of salt. Want less pep from your pepper? Add only 1 Tablespoon of pepper to your mixture per pound of meat.

Have some fun with your jerky.

(As an aside, I’m facepalming because the lead-in to this recipe is like 10 times longer than the actual recipe.)


Simple Turkey Jerky

Makes 2 pounds

2 pounds uncooked, ground turkey
2 Tbsp pepper
2 tsp sea salt

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pipe onto jerky trays with a jerky extruder (or roll meat between two sheets of parchment to shape/flatten). Dehydrate for about 6 hours at 155 degrees or until meat bends to the point of almost breaking in half.

Store in a loosely sealed zippered bag, in the fridge. (I typically leave mine in a bag on the counter because the climate here is pretty dry.)

Makes about 32, 1 ounce jerky strips, or about 8 servings.

Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 170, Carbohydrates: 0, Protein: 21g, Fat: 8g

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  1. How would 99% FF turkey fare?

  2. sounds great, I’ve never had jerky using ground meat. That said, even regular jerky is very hard to find here. But eh, how do you loosely seal a zippered bag?? Unless those too are very different where you are. x

    • The turkey jerky is a nice, earthy meat that takes flavorings really well! Loosely zippered means open just enough to let the condensation escape. Any condensation might grow mold.

      • Don’t you cook the meat – Yikes. If you don’t cook it how long does it last? I am thinking of doing this without seasoning as treats for my dogs (and some spicy ones for me of course LOL).

        • Hi there! I researched turkey prior to making the jerky, and it’s fine at the temperatures dried, according to my instructions (155 degrees Fahrenheit). My meat was also frozen prior, so if there was anything in there, it likely froze its pants off.

  3. Jennifer Erickson says

    I have read some not-so-glowing reviews about the jerky gun. I had planned on getting one myself. Have any tips to make using it easier? You’re just the best!

    • I love the meat jerky gun! I have to load it more ften than a bigger jerky gun, but it’s easier to store, and your hands are usually knuckles-deep in raw meat anyway. It’s pretty rad.

  4. I bought your dehydrator and extruder (yes, from Amazon with same disclaimer as yours). Also found and copied your beef jerky recipe, too. I love Jerky but commercial stuff I see has just too much carb for me. I fully anticipate being in or near Nirvana soon. aaaeeeooommm…

    • I am with you. I really like knowing what’s in my food. Meat shouldn’t make me hungry. I LOVE the texture of commercially-available meat in jerky form, but I hate all of the chemicals.

  5. Oh, forgot to mention: Hubble’s Law and Planck’s Equation (see mug). Your kids are nerdie.

  6. I saw a bunch of Managers’ Special ground Turkey but had No idea what to do with it. Sigh, maybe next time! I have an extruder as well, better go find it!

  7. What about directions NOT using a dehydrator? I’d like to try this with some ground chicken I have thawing right now…just would need to use my oven if possible. (I’ll just roll the meat out between parchment paper…)

    • The temperature in the dehydrator was 155 degrees F. So I’d keep your oven door propped open slightly for air flow and check the food as you can to rotate the trays and make sure it’s drying as it should. 🙂

      • I have a convection oven. I’ve been told it’ll help the dehydration process if I turn on the fan. Would I need to leave the oven door propped open if the convection is running?

  8. I just ordered the screens for my dehydrator — but don’t have the gun, can you give tips on making/forming it without the gun?

    Thank you!

    • You can press the hamburger between waxed paper with a rolling pin to flatten, and then you could carefully use a pizza cutter to make slices.

      • Thank you for the suggestion — I just love your website! My hubby is sooooo happy to be able to enjoy pizza again — he even took the cauliflower pizza recipe to work with him!

  9. Do you have “sweeter” recipes for jerky? I just love teriyaki jerky but so much sugar:( willing to try anything

  10. I haven’t tried this yet, but I wanted to ask if anyone has any thoughts on this. Instead of using a jerky gun I’m thinking you could spread the mix out on your dehydrator or baking sheets, then run a pizza slicer through it to make the strips. Then about half way through the drying process, check and if needed run the pizza slicer through it again. If I tried to do this when the meat is still wet I would think it would be much more difficult to handle.

    • You can absolutely do it this way… at least I do! I spread everything evenly in a generally square shape on top of my Teflex sheet and then run the pizza cutter through in the shapes/sizes I want. It seems that although the turkey mixture looks like you’ve hardly affected it, the indents will become more pronounced when the meat dries, making it possible to tear/break it along the “perforated” lines! 🙂 Hope that helps!

  11. Wrightn221 says

    Have made Turkey Jerky from 85% fat, so that it won’t be dried. It takes no longer than 4 hours to get the right texture and everybody loves it! I dehydrate in a Nesco and use their seasonings.

  12. Why does the Nesco manual that comes with it stress that you have to precook any pork or poultry before dehydration? I can’t imagine trying to extrude cooked turkey, let alone dehydrate it.

    • My dehydrator also stresses only use turkey that has been cooked first I the oven to kill anything in the meat. You can use ground bison red meat but never turkey or chicken?

      • That’s odd. How are you supposed to form cooked ground turkey?

        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.

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