Teriyaki Venison Shish Kabobs in a Weston Smoker

Sweet, smoky, skewered with pineapple... What's not to love about these shish kabobs?

Makes 6 skewers

- Ingredients -

¾ lbs venison, cubed
3 tablespoons Weston Teriyaki Jerky Seasoning
½ cup cubed pineapple
½ red pepper, cut into one inch squares
1 yellow onion, quartered
salt & pepper, to taste

- Tools -
Weston Vacuum Sealer
Weston Smoker
smoker wood chips (something sweet like cherry is best)

In a large bowl, toss the venison with Teriyaki seasoning until well coated. Transfer to a Vacuum Sealer Bag or Canister, then use a Vacuum Sealer to seal. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Soak the smoker chips Preheat your Smoker to 175°F.

Slice the pineapple, red pepper, and yellow onion into 1 inch chunks. Skewer the venison, onion, pepper, and pineapple so that they alternate.

Place the skewers on the Smoker racks and smoke under heavy smoke for one hour, or until they reach your preferred internal temperature.

We like to smoke our venison to 130-135°F - medium rare, so we keep the dampers open and the smoke flowing to get it good and smoky in a short period of time in the smoker

Remove from skewers and serve.

Wild Turkey Honey-Garlic Summer Sausage

When people think of summer sausage, they typically think of pork and beef, but summer sausage can be made from most any meat. We decided to use some of our spring turkey meat for a sweeter version of summer sausage... and we're glad we did!

Makes 1 lb

- Ingredients -

Component 1
1 lb turkey, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon milk powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ oz Fermento
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon pink curing salt

(1) 1 lb mahogany casing

- Tools -
Weston Meat Grinder
Weston Jerky Gun or Sausage Stuffer
Weston Hog Ring Pliers & Hog Rings
Weston Smoker

Dissolve the Fermento in a teaspoon or two of water (just enough to make a paste). Grind the turkey through the fine plate of your Meat Grinder. Combine the ground turkey with all remaining ingredients, including the Fermento.

Fill your Jerky Gun (or Sausage Stuffer) with the ground meat, cover the nozzle with the Mahogany Casing, then press the trigger and hold the casing against the nozzle to fill it. Use Hog Ring Pliers to close the open end of the casing. Refrigerate the Summer Sausage overnight.

Preheat your Smoker to  155°F, fill the water bowl, and soak your wood chips for 30 min.

Hang the summer sausage from Sausage Hangers in the Smoker. Smoke the sausage for 3 hours at 155°-170°F*, until the internal temperature reaches 155. Be sure to change the wood chips every hour. Once the summer sausage reaches the proper temperature, remove from smoker and hang for a few hours.

*Typically, holding the smoker at 155 will require that you open all dampers wide. Keep them ¼ way open to start, then gradually open them if the temperature rises too high.

Enjoy immediately, vacuum seal and refrigerate for up to 6 months, or store in a cool, dry place for up to a month. 

Sweet Potato Pancakes with a Weston Drum Shredder

These sweet potato latkes will cure your craving for potato pancakes... and then some. 

Makes 8 large potato pancakes

- Ingredients -

Caramelized Onions
2 small white onions
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 2 large)*
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
olive oil, for frying
salt & pepper to taste

horseradish sauce for serving

*Boil the sweet potatoes for up to 10 minutes, just until softened, but still firm, if they're too firm for the shredder.

- Tools -
Weston Manual Kitchen Kit
Weston Drum Shredder

1. Caramelize Onions

Use the Kitchen Kit, with the chopper blade, to chop the onion. Sauté in a skillet with soy sauce and brown sugar over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Set aside.

2. Shred Potatoes

Peel sweet potatoes and slice into pieces that fit into the Shredder's hopper. Use your Drum Shredder (coarse grater drum) to shred the sweet potato.

3. Assemble Potato Pancakes

Whisk together the eggs.

In a large mixing bowl, gently mix together the shredded potatoes, onions, egg, flour, thyme, and brown sugar with a wooden spoon.

4. Fry Potato Pancakes

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Place a large scoop of the pancake mixture into the center of the skillet. Use a flat spatula to flatten the pancake. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Allow to fry on each side 3-5 minutes, until browned. It's normal for the edges to look a little dark. Repeat for remaining pancakes.

Serve hot, with horseradish sauce.

Wild Turkey Pemmican Bars (Natural Protein Bars)

These homemade protein bars are the perfect companion for backpackers and hunters, and an equally satisfying snack for the family. All it takes to make a solid pemmican is meat, dried fruit, nuts, and fat. Traditional recipes use tallow - we used coconut oil with great success. 

Makes nine 2" x 4" half inch deep bars

- Ingredients -
1 lb turkey, cubed
1 cup cranberries
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped (we used our Kitchen Kit Chopper)
½ cup coconut oil, heated just long enough to liquefy
¼ cup honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon powdered ginger

- Tools -
Weston Meat Grinder
Weston Manual Kitchen Kit
Weston Dehydrator

Grind the turkey through the fine plate of your Meat Grinder.

Combine all ingredients in the Kitchen Kit with the chopper inserted. Turn the handle until all ingredients are well mixed.

Place a piece of parchment paper over a Dehydrator tray. Pour the pemmican onto the center of the paper, then use a rolling pin to evenly spread the pemmican to the edges of the tray.

Dehydrate at 155°F for 8 hours, or until the meat is completely dried (make sure there is no moisture in the center).

Enjoy right away, or vacuum seal and snack for up to one month.

Homemade Granola Bars | Blueberry Peanut Butter

Homemade granola bars are surprisingly easy to make. All you really need is oats, dried fruit, nuts and some sort of binder. Last year, we made Cranberry-Pistachio Granola Bars. This time, the fruit is blueberries and the nut is peanuts... and the result is equally as tasty!

Makes six 6" x 1 ½" x ½" deep granola bars

- Ingredients -

1 cup old-fashioned oats
4 oz blueberries
¼ cup peanuts halves
¼ cup sunflower seeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup smooth natural peanut butter
¼ cup peanut oil
¼ cup honey

- Tools -
Weston Dehydrator

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, mix together the peanut butter and peanut oil until uniform and runny. Stir in the honey. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the granola mixture, then use a wooden spoon to incorporate evenly.

Place a sheet of parchment paper over the tray of your Dehydrator. Pour the granola into the center of the sheet, then cover with plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to evenly spread the granola over the entire tray.

Dehydrate at 155°F for 8 hours. Cut into 1 ½" x 6" bars (really, you can cut them however you like), and use a spatula to slide them onto the tray. Discard the parchment paper. This will help to expedite the drying process and allow the bars to dry more evenly.

Dry for 4 more hours, or until the bars are dry, but still chewy. Enjoy immediately or vacuum seal and store up to one month.

#Tip Tuesday | Dehydrator 101: Drying Tips

As simple as using a dehydrator may be, there's always room to learn. Take a gander at these nine dehydrator tips and start drying smarter...

1. Foods Will Shrink
Remember, foods will shrink to approximately ¼ - ½ of their original size and weight during the dehydration process, so pieces should not be cut too small or too thin. One pound of raw meat will yield approximately ⅓ lb (0.2 kg) to ½ lb (0.2 kg) of jerky.

2. Follow the Drying Guide... It Works!
You don't ever have to guess at temperature. Use the Drying Guide on the Control Panel as a reference for proper temperature settings. Don't try to speed up the process by cranking up the heat. Adjusting the heat higher than recommended is likely to yield poor results: If the heat is set too high, food may harden and dry on the outside... yet be moist on the inside. If the temperature is too low, the food will take much longer to dry than necessary. 

3. Remove Excess Moisture
If you're looking to decrease drying time, simply start with a drier product. Pat jerky strips, fruits, and veggies dry with a paper towel. Be mindful of how much liquid you add to your jerky marinade. Rather than using juice for fruit leather, make jam first, then dehydrate. 

4. No Touching!
Do not overlap foods. Lay foods flat on the Dehydrating Trays.

5. The 6 Hour Rule
Check dryness after 6 hours, then check every 2 hours until crisp, pliable or leathery depending on the product.

6. Dehydrate Until... Dry
Check foods to make sure they are completely dry before removing. Open or cut down the middle of a few samples to check internal dryness. If the food is still moist, dehydrate longer.

7. Take Note
Keep a journal to help improve drying techniques. Record the food name, temperature, drying time, original weight, end weight,and ingredients used. 

8. Proper Storage
Be sure to label foods with the name and date of drying. Package the food when cool. If it's still warm when you seal it, it will sweat, then mold quickly. Foods can be kept longer if stored in a cool, dark, dry place. The ideal storage temperature is 60°F (16°C) or lower.

9. Vacuum Seal It
Vacuum sealing is ideal for keeping dried foods. Even when storing in airtight metal or glass containers, it's best to vacuum seal first. Use Zipper Seal Vacuum Bags so that you have the option of storing both short and long term.

Wild Turkey Snack Sticks with a Weston Smoker

Weston Black Pepper & Garlic Jerky seasoning makes this recipe a snap! 

Makes (6) 6" Snack Sticks or (3) 12" Smokies

- Ingredients -

1 lb turkey, cubed
1 teaspoon Weston Black Pepper & Garlic Jerky Seasoning
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon pink cure salt

19 mm casings

- Tools -
Weston Meat Grinder
Weston Sausage Stuffer with 10 mm funnel
Weston Smoker + wood chips
Butcher Twine (optional)

Grind the turkey through the medium plate of your Meat Grinder.

Mix the ground turkey with the remaining ingredients.

Use a Sausage Stuffer to fill your casings with the ground turkey mixture. Pinch and tie the casing when you have reached your desired length for each snack stick or smoky. You can also make long links and cut them apart or tie them later. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat your Smoker to  155°F, fill the water bowl, and soak your wood chips for 30 min.

Hang the snack sticks from Sausage Hangers in the Smoker (use Butcher Twine if you tied them like ours). Smoke the snack sticks for 3 hours at 155°-170°F*, until the internal temperature reaches 155. Be sure to change the wood chips every hour. Once the snack sticks reach the proper temperature, remove from smoker and cool to 110°F in an ice bath. Remove from the ice bath, then hang to dry for an hour.

*Typically, holding the smoker at 155 will require that you open all dampers wide. Keep them ¼ way open to start, then gradually open them if the temperature rises too high.

Enjoy right away or vacuum seal and take them along with you on your next adventure! Be sure to keep them refrigerated.

Strawberry Jalapeño Roll-Ups in a Weston Dehydrator

We essentially made strawberry jam, mixed in jalapeño, then dehydrated it.

The result? Probably the best fruit "leather" you've ever had.

Makes about (8) 1" rolls

- Ingredients -
32 oz strawberries, quartered & leaves removed
½ cup sugar (optional)
1 small jalapeño

- Tools -
Weston Tomato Press (a Food Mill or Cone Strainer will also work)
Weston Food Chopper
Weston Dehydrator

Strain the strawberries with the Tomato Press. Place the strawberry puree into a pot and bring to a gentle boil. Pour in the sugar and stir 3-5 minutes, until thickened (yes, like jam).* Remove from heat.

Using the Weston Fruit & Tomato Press to puree the strawberries

Use a Kitchen Kit or Mixer with the chopper attachment, 3-in-1 Grater, or Multi-Chopper to chop the jalapeño finely. Stir into the strawberry puree.

Lay a sheet of parchment paper over a Dehydrator tray. Pour the strawberry liquid over the tray, starting in the center, until spread evenly across the tray. A spatula helps.

Dehydrate at 145°F for 8 hours, or until the fruit leather is set all the way through.

Use scissors to cut the leather into 1" strips (keep the parchment paper on them), then roll them up into pinwheels. Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or refrigerate and enjoy for a couple of months.

*Why make jam first? 
It's true - most fruit leather recipes are as simple as spreading pureed fruit across a dehydrator tray. We found that making a thicker, jam-like puree before dehydrating allowed us to make a thicker, stickier fruit leather (much more similar to store-bought). A thin spread makes truly leathery fruit leather - not nearly as pleasing a texture to snack on.

#TipTuesday | Dehydrator 101: Pre-Treating Foods

Spinach chips make for an awesome dehydrated snack!

As with most types of cooking, proper preparation is essential for successful results. Adhering to a few basic guidelines will greatly increase the quality of your dried foods and decrease the amount of time necessary to dry them.
Pre-treated foods often taste better and have a better appearance than non-treated foods. There are several methods to pre-treat food to prevent oxidation, which will darken apples, pears, peaches and bananas while drying - here are eight great ways to achieve dehydrated perfection:

1. Remove any pits, skin or cores.

2. Shred, slice or dice the food uniformly. Slices should be between 1/4” (0.6 cm) and 3/4” (1.9 cm) thick. Use a Mandoline Slicer for fruits and vegetables.

A Mandoline Slicer slices foods, like these soon-to-be Blue Potato Chips, uniformly

3. Meats should be cut no more than 3/16” (0.5 cm) thick. A Meat Slicer or Jerky Slicer helps.

Using a Jerky Slicer to make perfectly thick and even slices

4. Drying fish into jerky requires a lot of attention. It must be cleaned and de-boned properly and rinsed thoroughly to ensure that all the blood is washed away. Steam or bake the fish at 200˚F (93°C) until flaky before dehydrating.

Salmon Jerky

5. Soak cut fruit in either lemon or pineapple juice for a few minutes before placing out on the Dehydrating Trays.

6. Use an ascorbic acid mix which can be purchased in most health food stores or pharmacies. It may come in either powder or tablet form. Dissolve approximately 2-3 tablespoons into 1 quart (1 liter) of water. Soak the fruit slices into the solution for 2-3 minutes, then place on the Dehydrating Trays.

7. Fruits with a wax coating (figs, peaches, grapes, blueberries, prunes, etc.) should be dipped in boiling water to remove the wax. This allows moisture to escape easily when dehydrating.

These prunes are about to be pureed and stuffed into Prune Pierogi
8. Blanching is a great way to ensure that foods crisp up while dehydrating. Blanching does not destroy helpful enzymes and helps retain nutrients. There are two ways to blanch food:

  • 1. WATER BLANCHING: (Water Blanching will leave a cooked flavor) Use a large pan; fill it half way with water. Bring water to a boil. Place food directly into boiling water and cover. Remove after three minutes. Arrange food on the Dehydrating Trays.
  • 2. STEAM BLANCHING: Using a steamer pot, bring 2-3” (5-7 cm) of water to a boil in bottom section. Place food in steamer basket and steam for 3-5 minutes. Remove steamed food and arrange on Dehydrating Trays.