We are aware jerky as a convenient food and delicious snack. Commercial jerky is available in most supermarkets, but did you know you can make your own with the best jerky gun and a food dehydrator?
But what exactly is jerky?
Table of Contents
- What You Need To Know About Jerky And The Jerky Gun
- Comparison Table For The Best Jerky Gun
- The Jerky Gun Buying Guide
- The 5 Best Jerky Guns
- Final Verdict
What You Need To Know About Jerky And The Jerky Gun
Jerky is a process of preserving meat so it will last long even without refrigeration. Even people from the ancient times make jerky to keep food throughout the winter, or when they’re travelling long distance.
The conventional creation of jerky is through slicing or cutting meat into thin and small trips. These trips are then cured and seasoned, often with salt and other ingredients to give it more flavour. Salt is also an essential component because it inhibits the growth of bacteria and prevents the meat from spoiling. The prepared meat should dry up by the sun and wind and then smoked, to give it a more stable shelf-life.
You can use any meat to make jerky – from beef, chicken, pork, seafood to wild game meat. Lean meat is always the preference. If you are making jerky at home, you can opt for ground meat instead of slicing whole meat into thin strips. Ground meat readily accepts seasonings and curing ingredients and loads quickly into the barrel of the jerky gun. Instead of sun-drying the flesh, you can use a food dehydrator in making your jerky.
A jerky gun is an essential tool for making homemade jerky. It is composed of a barrel which will hold the seasoned and cured meat. It comes with a nozzle where meat oozes out when you press the trigger. The nozzle often comes with two different attachments: one for thin, flat strips, and another for long rounded strips.
You might decide to leave out the jerky gun and make jerky manually. That is certainly doable. But you’ll soon realise that without a jerky gun, the whole process takes more time and effort, and the product are not uniform in size. The jerky gun can be a great investment if you want to speed up the process of jerky-making as well as produce beautiful, uniformly-sized jerky strips.
Jerky-making is an excellent way to keep some comfort food handy for your busy days; it is economical and nutritious too!
Comparison Table For The Best Jerky Gun
The Jerky Gun Buying Guide
Whether you’re a true-blue jerky enthusiast or simply exploring the idea of making your homemade jerky, using a reliable jerky gun will certainly go a long way. So if you’re in the market for the best jerky gun for your needs, it pays to look at these important considerations.
Jerky guns come in various sizes. Most of them can hold at least one pound of ground meat, while others can go as high as 2-3 lbs. When deciding on the gun’s capacity, consider how much jerky you’d want to produce in each loading and how large a family you are going to feed.
A jerky gun with a large capacity is an excellent choice if you’re making jerky on a regular basis and feeding a large crowd. You can fill the barrel with more meat, hence minimise loading times and go about the process quickly.
On the other hand, a jerky gun with a smaller capacity is perfect if you’re making jerky for just a few people. The gun is also more compact and easier to store.
Material and Construction
You will find the jerky gun made with different materials, but the most common of them come with aluminium, stainless steel and plastic materials. Some models are even composed of these three primary materials.
It is important to note that jerky guns go through some pressure, especially when you’re pushing the piston mechanism through the container. A poorly-made jerky gun could fall apart when you exert too much pressure.
Most people will agree that stainless steel and aluminium construction are the most durable type of jerky guns, although they tend to carry a heftier price tag. There are also some models with clear plastic tubes. That is also an advantage because you’ll instantly see how much meat leaf you have on the shaft. On the other hand, plastic is less durable than stainless steel and aluminium.
If you think you’ll be using the jerky for a long time, consider investing in one that’s durable. However, if you’re just trying jerky-making out to see if it’s for you, you may purchase one that’s cheaper and upgrade later on.
Attachments and Inclusions
Perhaps the most significant attachment of the jerky gun is the nozzle that attaches to its outlet. When you press the trigger, the pressure sends the meat inside the tube towards the outlet. You can decide on the form and size of your jerkies by attaching the appropriate nozzle. In most cases, a jerky gun comes with two types of nozzle: one to create a thin, flat jerky and another to create long, rounded strips. When purchasing a jerky gun, look for the type and number of attachments to ensure you get the most flexibility out of your gun.
Manufacturers sell some of their products with some seasoning and curing ingredients as well as cleaning kits. If you’re just starting out on the jerky-making journey, these packages are ideal because you can begin making jerky straight away.
The 5 Best Jerky Guns
The Judge is certainly “the judge” for all jerky guns out there, no wonder it has established a serious online following. The Judge is known for its overall durability, massive capacity, and fantastic ergonomics.
Made of durable and robust anodised aluminium, the barrel of the Judge can handle pressure even when you need to crank out when jerky after the other. This material is also rust and corrosion-proof, so it’s safe to use and has a long lifespan. It may be a little costly than other jerky guns on the list, but it’s also a worthwhile investment.
Second, you have to note its capacity. It can handle as much as 2.7 lbs of meat, three times bigger than the standard jerky gun with 1 lb. capacity. That is perfect for when you need to make a large batch of jerky and reduces the number of refills.
The Judge also comes with two attachments, a nozzle each for thin, flat strips and long rounded strips. And to make clean up a breeze, the package also comes with a long-handled cleaning brush.
- It comes with a durable anodised aluminium barrel.
- It has a superbly huge capacity.
- Its two attachments allow you to make flat and rounded jerkies.
- The manufacturer offers a money-back guarantee.
- The barrel tends to slip when applying pressure after some time.
From the makers of well-known meat appliances and kitchen tools, LEM Products, it’s hard not trust LEM Products Jerky Cannon on its ability to churn out uniform, delicious jerkies.
The LEM Cannon has a capacity of 1.5 lbs, just a little smaller than The Judge. But the quality of LEM Cannon is something to be proud of, especially the anodised aluminium barrel which ensures durability and longevity. This jerky gun is also equipped with two stainless steel nozzles, allowing you to choose and switch between thin flat strips or long rounded jerkies.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this product is its squeezing mechanism. The LEM Cannon comes with a plastic piston which pushes the meat towards the nozzle. It requires little pressure and effort to churn our one strip of jerky to the next, so it’s perfect for making a large batch of jerkies in a shorter span of time.
The parts of the gun disassemble easily, and most are dishwasher-safe. The package also comes with a long cleaning brush to clean the inside of the barrel, plus two bags of seasoning so you can jump start your jerky making right away.
- LEM Cannon has a sturdy construction combining anodised aluminium, stainless steel, and heavy-duty plastic.
- It has a large capacity of 1.5 lbs.
- It comes with two types of nozzles for flexibility.
- The parts are dishwasher safe.
- The barrel tends to get slippery, especially when it gets wet.
The Weston Original Jerky Gun also comes up as a sound contender because it’s pretty much a complete package. This jerky gun comes with seasoning, sausage pipe, two nozzle attachments, stomper and a cleaning set. With all these, you can make jerkies even when away from home, such as when going hiking or camping. It can also work well with all sorts of jerky meat, whether you’re making venison, beef and wild game jerky.
The Weston Original Jerky Gun is noticeably durable, thanks to its aluminium barrel, which can contain up to 1.5 lbs. meat. Some parts of the gun come with durable plastic which feels solid and sturdy. The trigger does not need a lot of pressure, making it easy to use by newbie and expert jerky-makers alike. There’s no issue of meat locking up inside the barrel because the large stomper makes it easy to push the meat towards the nozzle. You also get two nozzle attachments so you can easily choose between flat or rounded jerky strips.
- The barrel has durable, high-quality plastic.
- It is easy and smooth to operate, allowing for precise and speedy jerky-making.
- The parts of the gun are dishwasher safe.
- The cleaning brush does not clean the barrel properly.
- Plastic parts are not as durable as stainless steel and aluminium construction.
Boosting of a 15-inch specialised plastic barrel, the Sportsman MJG15 15-Inch Jerky Gun is also a reliable jerky gun that can make jerkies quickly with its easy-to-operate design. It is breezy to load the jerky gun with seasoned meat into its huge capacity tube. This tube, while made of plastic, is pretty robust and sturdy and claims to withstand even strong pressure. The frame and handle of the gun come with top quality aluminium, so the whole device is durable and useful over many years.
The Sportsman MJG15 15-Inch Jerky Gun is a decent choice especially if you’re looking for a gun with a huge capacity. Its 15-inch tube can handle a lot of meat, meaning less refilling and more time to get the job done quickly. It is sturdy and reliable, and overall, an excellent choice for a jerky gun.
- It comes with an enormous capacity 15-inch barrel.
- The handle and frame have durable stainless steel.
- It is simple to operate and does not require excessive pressure to make jerky.
- The tube’s diameter is quite small.
- It is hard to clean.
If you’re looking for a jerky gun that allows you to make several jerkies quickly, the Nesco Jumbo Jerky stands up to that task. But even better, this jerky gun is sold at a lower price point than other popular brands and models, so it’s a safe purchase for people who are trying out jerky-making for the first time.
The Nesco Jumbo Jerky can handle up to 1 lb. of meat in its durable, clear plastic tube. Having a transparent barrel is a good thing, basically because you get to see how much meat you have inside without opening the whole thing out. It also comes with a trigger and ratchet bar that’s easy to manoeuvre.
For added flexibility, there are three nozzle attachments – sticks, strips and double strips. The package also includes cure packs and flavour spices so you can experiment with your jerky right after the purchase.
- It comes with three attachments you can choose.
- The clear compartment lets you see the meat level instantly.
- It is easy to use especially for beginners.
- There’s a tendency for meat to lock up inside the tube.
Jerky is delicious, more so if you’ve made it yourself. For this reason, having your jerky gun can be a sound kitchen investment especially if you see yourself making jerky on a regular basis.
Jerky guns aren’t equal the same. From capacity, material to attachments, one brand can differ wildly to the other. But if we are to pick just one jerky gun that stands out on this list, it would be The Judge. This jerky has an incredible capacity; beautiful, robust and ergonomic construction and comes with all the necessary attachments for jerky making.
Still, you want to make sure that whichever jerky gun you purchase, it would meet all, if not most, of your needs and preferences. Study the features carefully and take your time to shop before you buy.