No matter what you’re craving, there’s a paleo hack for it in blogger Rachael Bryant’s new cookbook, Nourish. Jerky isn’t verboten, so take full advantage of that, marinate the heck out of some pork and get ready for a supremely satisfying snack.
Most people think of beef when it comes to jerky, but that’s not the only option. This recipe uses pork infused with Chinese-inspired flavors that lighten up the traditional dried meat snack — without relying on a heavy dose of soy sauce. I’ve kept this recipe coconut amino–free, too, so it’s suitable for almost everyone.
- 2 pounds lean pork, such as tenderloin, sliced 1/8-inch thick (see note below for slicing instructions)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3 tablespoons gluten-free fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons ume plum or white wine vinegar
- 6 green onions, sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the marinating
Cut the pork into evenly sized strips about 1 inch wide. Use an immersion blender to combine all the marinade ingredients.
Put the sliced pork into a freezer bag and pour the marinade over. Mix the pork and marinade together so that the pork is evenly coated, then seal the bag and put it into a bowl to catch any leaks.
Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
For the cooking
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line two baking trays with foil — this is just to catch any marinade that drips. Place two oven-safe wire racks onto the baking trays.
Shake any excess marinade from the pork strips and lay them out on the wire racks, making sure none of the pieces are touching each other.
Bake for 20 minutes, until the pork is fully cooked and has an internal temperature of at least 140°F. Don’t skip this step! This is how we avoid any bacterial nasties that could potentially cause sickness.
For the drying
Reduce the oven temperature to 170°F — or the lowest temperature your oven will reach. Bake until the jerky is dry, but still pliable, about 3 hours, rotating the trays halfway through the cooking time.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Tip: Make sure to use avocado oil in the marinade. Coconut oil will clump up and solidify in the fridge, which means the marinade won’t coat evenly and will fall off.
Note: My butcher will very kindly slice my pork super-thin for me. However, if that’s not an option for you, the easiest way to slice the pork very thinly is to put it into the freezer for 20–30 minutes to firm up before you slice it with a knife. You can also buy thicker-cut pork and use a meat tenderizer to pound it out thinly. If that’s not an option, you can make this jerky with thicker pieces, but you will need to increase both the marinating and drying times: ¼ inch (6 mm) thick pieces will need about 6 hours of drying time.