Articles & Recipes

Free Range Chicken Jerky, 2 Ways

Ashley Sperber - Friday, March 17, 2017

I know I've been going crazy with the snack ideas for the last few months, but there is a method to the madness. Many of my clients have expressed frustration with accessibility to meals and grabbing a quick, highly processed snack is never a viable option. I would rather my clients focus on savory options to reduce their sugar intake, hence, last week's "cheese and crackers" substitute.

Jerky and Slim Jim's were a personal guilty pleasure growing up (yes, I ate a lot of crap as a child-- I certainly wasn't born with health aspirations). It wasn't until I learned about sodium in college that I felt inclined to break up with my favorite high protein snack. One bag of jerky exceeds the recommended sodium intake for the day. In addition, I have yet to see a manufactured jerky company use high quality animal proteins. Again, this means that our body will not be absorbing the same macro and micro nutrients required to sustain us.

I decided to use free range chicken for this recipe but feel free to experiment with other proteins such as grass fed beef/lamb or free range turkey/duck. Ordinarily I would use a food dehydrator for this recipe, but I wanted to make it user friendly, so I specifically tested the recipe out on the lowest setting of my oven which is 170 degrees and it came out perfectly!

Feel free to experiment with different variations of the marinade. I came up with these two options because they were each 5 easily sourced ingredients. Teriyaki and lemon pepper are some of the most common seasonings I have found for jerky. Salt is necessary to preserve the dried meat, which is why aminos/soy are the base ingredient for the marinades. The jerky can be stored in a dark cabinet or refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in an air tight container for up to a month.

servings: 4
total time: 30 min prep + 4 hour cook time

1.5lbs free range chicken breasts

Lemon pepper:

  • 1/2 cup liquid aminos, tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Teriyaki:
  • 1/2 cup liquid aminos, tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 inch fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon raw local honey (an additional tablespoon may be added, as desired)
Turn the oven on to 170 degrees. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, thinly cut the chicken width-wise, in 1/4 inch slices. In 2 separate medium sized bowls, prepare each marinade individually. For the lemon pepper version, ensure that the lemon has been washed well before zesting the rind. Combine all ingredients and whisk well. If you are using fresh ginger and garlic for the teriyaki marinade, I suggest grating both to ensure maximum flavor potential. Again, combine all ingredients and whisk well. Divide the chicken slices in half and place each portion in each of the bowls that contain the marinades (equating to .75lbs in each bowl). Allow the chicken to marinate for up to 20 mins, covered. (If you marinate the chicken longer, the acid from the lemon and vinegar will start to "cook" the protein, which will change the total cook time).

Remove the chicken from the marinades and allow the excess moisture to drip off before lining them on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Provide about an inch of space between segments. Bake the chicken in the oven for approximately 4 hours. Allow to cool completely before placing in containers.

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