There’s nothing quite as satisfying as biting into a piece of delicious homemade jerky.
And while most people turn to beef and pork for their meaty snacks, it turns out that mushrooms can also make great jerky.
If you want to try your hand at making this tasty morsel yourself, keep reading below!
What Kind Of Mushrooms Are Best For Making Jerky?
Mushrooms have long been used in many different cultures as food and medicine.
In fact, they were one of the first foods humans ate when they began roaming across the globe about 100,000 years ago.
Today, there are more than 200 species of edible mushrooms and even more varieties of poisonous ones.
Some mushrooms grow on trees, others grow underground, and some grow only during certain seasons.
There are also fungi found growing under rocks or inside logs—the list goes on and on.
One thing all these types of mushrooms share is that they contain protein.
This makes them perfect candidates for use in recipes like jerkies.
The main challenge here is finding the right type of mushroom to make jerky from.
The following guide will help you find out which kinds of mushrooms are best suited for making jerky.
- Shiitake Mushrooms – These mushrooms come in white, brown, and black varieties.
- Morel Mushroom – Also known as “Chicken of the Woods,” these mushrooms look similar to shiitakes but taste much sweeter.
- Portobello Mushrooms – These large mushrooms are often sold by specialty markets because they are so versatile and easy to work with.
- Cordyceps – A fungus native to Asia, this is sometimes called the Chinese caterpillar mushroom. It has a very strong and distinctive aroma.
- King Bolete – Often referred to as the king bolete, this mushroom grows in bunches, looks almost identical to portobellos, and tastes slightly sweet and nutty.
- Stuffed Wood Ear Mushrooms – These small mushrooms are typically stuffed with cheese and breadcrumbs before being cooked.
- Chanterelles – Known for producing beautiful orange caps, chanterolles are popular among home cooks who love wild mushrooms.
- Cremini Mushrooms – With creminis, you get a nice balance between savory and sweet flavors.
- Hen-of-the-woods – Called the hen of the woods for its resemblance to a bird’s head, this mushroom has a milder flavor compared to other mushrooms.
- Porcini – These flavorful mushrooms may be hard to find because they tend to disappear quickly once they hit stores due to high demand.
- Maitake Mushrooms – Maitakes are generally considered to be the tastiest variety of mushroom because they are rich in antioxidants.
- Enoki Mushrooms – Another commonly available mushroom, enokis have a delicate sweetness that pairs well with fish and seafood dishes.
- Beefsteak (or Portobello) Mushrooms – Beefsteaks are good choices if you prefer not to eat raw mushrooms because they cook up crispy and juicy after roasting.
- Buttons/Baby Bellas – Buttons are actually a group of several different mushrooms that look like tiny buttons.
- Meadow Mushroom – Meadow mushrooms are usually eaten whole because they don’t store well without drying.
- Lion’s Mane – Lion’s mane mushrooms are extremely rare and expensive because they require special cultivation techniques.
- Fairy Ring – Fairy rings are considered to be the queen of mushrooms because they produce such huge quantities of fruit.
- Common Field Mushroom – Common field mushrooms are very common and grow everywhere around the world.
- Hedgehog Mushroom – Hedgehogs are also known as porcinis, and they can be either fresh or dry.
- Reishi – Reishi is another name for maitake mushrooms, and it’s especially good for immune support.
- Agaricus Blazei – Agaricus blazei is a Japanese mushroom that comes with a unique flavor profile.
- Dried Shiitake Mushrooms – Dried shiitake mushrooms are a staple ingredient in Asian cuisines, and they’re great for adding extra moisture to your meals.
- Black Trumpet – Black trumpets are a great addition to any dish because they add a deep, smoky flavor.
How Do You Prepare The Mushrooms For The Recipe?
Mushrooms are generally not very hard to work with, but they need to be cleaned up first.
You will need to remove the stems from each piece of mushroom before proceeding any further.
This can either be done by cutting off the ends of the stem, or taking a knife and removing the entire stem and cap (or base).
Once all mushroom pieces have been prepared, set them aside on a plate until you’re ready to use them.
Now that the mushrooms are clean, you can begin soaking them in warm water so they don’t dry out during the process.
The amount of time required varies depending on how large the pieces of mushroom are.
For smaller ones, like button mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms, soak them for about 30 minutes before moving onto the next step.
Larger specimens should be soaked for 2 hours or more.
If the mushroom has already dried out, re-soak it again in fresh water prior to cooking.
Once the mushrooms have been prepped, you will need to cook them.
There are two methods you can choose from here.
Either you can roast the mushrooms over direct heat, or smoke them using indirect heat.
Roasting the mushrooms over high heat will give them a nice caramelized flavor, which is what makes them such a popular choice for barbeque recipes.
However, if you prefer something smoky, then smoking the mushrooms is a good option.
It produces a similar taste without the added fat and calories found in other smoked foods.
It’s important to note that both roasting and smoking require special equipment, so you may want to consider getting some sort of smoker box or oven if these options aren’t available at home.
As mentioned above, there are several different ways to cook mushrooms, but we’ll go ahead and describe how to cook them in the following sections.
What Kind Of Spices Or Flavors Are Used In The Recipe?
The main ingredient in this mushroom jerky recipe is shiitake mushrooms, which have a mild flavor on their own but pack some serious umami punch when combined with other flavorful add-ins like garlic, onion, and soy sauce.
You may be wondering what “umami” means, so let us explain here.
Umami is a Japanese word meaning savory, or mouthwatering.
It describes the taste of food that makes our mouths water even though we know it isn’t good for us (like bacon).
This type of taste comes from proteins called amino acids.
In other words, umami is a general term describing how foods taste.
When you combine several different types of umami-rich proteins together (like in this mushroom jerky recipe), they create a synergistic effect that brings out all the natural flavors in each individual protein.
It should go without saying that these flavors will vary depending on the specific type of protein you choose to use, but if you’re looking to recreate the umami experience, you definitely want to start by choosing mushrooms first.
- Sweet, earthy, and slightly nutty flavor – Similar to chestnuts, shiitakes have a sweet, fruity aroma, but the texture is firm rather than chewy.
- Highly nutritious – Shiitakes contain more iron, calcium, fiber, vitamin C, and B vitamins per ounce than any other cultivated vegetable.
- Low in calories – A single cup of cooked shiitake contains only 13 grams of carbs.
If you don’t already have access to fresh mushrooms, you can find them dried in many grocery stores, health food markets, online retailers, and bulk bins.
How Long Does The Recipe Take To Make?
The average time to complete this recipe is about 30 minutes per batch.
If you don’t have any experience cooking on the stovetop, this may seem like a lengthy process.
But don’t worry – we promise it will be worth your time.
It all starts by washing the mushrooms thoroughly before peeling them.
Afterward, they get chopped up and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and dried parsley flakes.
The mixture gets tossed onto dehydrator sheets and placed inside the machine until it dries enough to remove from the sheet.
Once removed, you can store it in a plastic bag away from moisture and pests.
Don’t forget to read our tips on how to properly care for your dehydrated food products so you won’t end up ruining your snack later down the line.
What Is The Final Product Supposed To Taste Like?
Mushrooms are rich in umami flavors – which means they have a savory or “meaty” quality.
The texture of the resulting jerky will be firm but not hard, similar to how beef jerky is made.
If you love the way jerky tastes on its own, you may never miss the ground meat again.
- Chicken wings
- Ground turkey
- Beef brisket
- Pork tenderloin
- Smoked sausage (such as kielbasa)
- Sausage links
- Cured ham hocks
- Spicy Italian sausages
- Any other type of cured meats
- Spare ribs
Other umami-friendly ingredients
- Tomato paste
- Dried tomatoes
- Fresh herbs
- Herbs de Provence
- Savoy cabbage
- Bell peppers
- Sweet potatoes
- Broccoli rabe
- Brussels sprouts
- Butternut squash
- Winter squashes
- Green beans
- Yellow onions
- White onion
- Red bell pepper
- Golden raisins
- Plum sauce
- Brown sugar
- Maple syrup
- Lemon juice
- Wine vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Whipped cream
- Granulated garlic
- Unbleached all purpose flour
- Gluten free flour blend
- Oat flour
- Almond meal
- Milk powder
- Egg white
- Black pepper
- Vegetable oil
- Canola oil
- Palm shortening
How Do You Know When The Jerky Is Done?
The first step to any good meat-based jerky recipe is seasoning.
The seasonings you use will have a big impact on how well your jerky comes together.
You can use anything from salt to garlic powder or even herbs such as rosemary or thyme.
In addition to using seasonings, adding different kinds of spices to your jerkys will help them come together more evenly.
For example, if you add some cayenne pepper to your mixture, then you won’t need as much salt because the peppers will draw moisture away from the other components of your mixture (and thus reduce the amount of salt needed).
Once you get all the seasoning mixed up, you should let the mixture sit overnight so that everything gets better acquainted with each other.
This is especially important if you are using a lot of fresh ingredients — they may not mix well enough otherwise.
After letting the mixture settle, you’ll notice that there’s less liquid than usual.
That means you should check the consistency of your mixture periodically throughout the drying process.
If it seems too dry, give it another stir by mixing everything around until it becomes wetter again.
When you think the jerky is finished, take a bite and see what you think.
It should still feel firm but shouldn’t crunch too loudly under your teeth.
To test for doneness, place one end of a wooden spoon against the center of the jerky and gently push down on the other side.
If the jerky bends easily, it needs to cook longer.
If it doesn’t bend easily, then it’s probably finished cooking.
You can cut your jerky into pieces once it has cooled completely, which makes it easier to store and transport.
Otherwise, you can leave it whole unless you plan on eating it right away.
Can The Recipe Be Made In A Dehydrator?
Dehydrators are appliances used to dry food by using heat and air circulation without direct contact with water or oil.
This means that they don’t need any additional cooking time after drying, which makes them perfect for dehydrating jerky recipes like the one we’re going to show you here.
The main advantage of dehydrators is that they allow you to use very little space in order to dry large amounts of food at once.
In fact, they typically have enough space to fit several racks side-by-side, so if you’ve got more than one person helping you on your project, you should definitely consider getting one of these appliances.
However, not all dehydrators work exactly the same way.
Some models may require you to preheat the oven before placing the food inside (which will slow down the process), while others may include fans that circulate hot air around the food continuously throughout the drying period.
So, depending on what model you choose, you might actually end up spending less money overall since some dehydrators cost significantly more than others.
Is There A Special Way To Store The Finished Jerky?
One thing about dehydrated foods is that they don’t last very long once they go bad.
So if you’re planning on keeping these dried mushrooms around for a while, you should probably put them in something safe to lock away from moisture until you’re ready to eat them.
You have several options here.
You could dry the mushrooms in airtight containers or bags, but those will likely get rather dusty over time.
If you really want to protect your jerky against molds or other fungal growth, you might consider using plastic food storage bags instead.
Those will work pretty well as long as you make sure not to overfill them.
The only downside to storing any type of dehydrated product in plastic is that it lacks the ability to hold heat.
This means that the dehydrating process itself won’t work nearly as efficiently.
But since you’ll be eating the jerky before it goes moldy anyway, we think it’s worth sacrificing a little bit of efficiency for safety.
What Are Some Serving Suggestions For Mushroom Jerky?
Mushrooms have been used in traditional Japanese cooking since ancient times, though they didn’t receive much attention until the 20th century when Western chefs started incorporating them into dishes like pasta sauces and risotto.
Today, more than half of all Americans eat mushrooms every week, and many people use them in recipes from breakfast foods to main courses.
But what about mushroom jerky? While it may seem strange at first glance, once you start chewing on one of these flavorful treats, you might find yourself wondering why we don’t serve them more often.
In the following article, I will show you how easy it is to create this fun snack using only three ingredients.
You won’t believe how good this stuff tastes!
Would You Make This Recipe Again?
I made this jerky using portobello mushrooms, but any type of fresh or dried mushroom will work well here.
Just be aware that the finished product may vary depending on what types of mushrooms you use.
- 1 pound (454 grams) dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon (30 ml) white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) onion powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) crushed red pepper flakes
- Soak the dried mushrooms in enough water overnight so they rehydrate completely. Drain excess liquid from the mushrooms before chopping them up into 1-inch by 2-inch pieces.
- In a small bowl, combine all other ingredients except the mushrooms. Stir until evenly mixed together.
- Add the soaked mushrooms to the mixture and let sit for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
- Once everything has been combined, transfer the mixture into a ziploc bag and place in the refrigerator for 10 hours or more, stirring occasionally.
- When you’re ready to serve the jerky, remove it from the fridge and cut it into slices about 3/8-inches thick.
- You can either dry the slices further between two sheets of parchment paper or air dry them over low heat for 5 minutes per side.
- Parchment paper
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 large portobello mushrooms
- In a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, oil, brown sugar, paprika, mustard, and garlic powder. Sliced mushrooms are added; whisk to thoroughly coat. Overnight or for eight hours, cover and chill.
- Set oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. A wire rack should be placed on each of the two sizable baking sheets that have been lined with parchment paper.
- Place the mushrooms in a single layer, evenly distributed amongst the prepared racks, being careful not to overlap them. About 1 1/2 hours should be required to roast the mushrooms, switching the pans halfway through. Crisp edges and a chewy feel are ideal. Remove from oven, then allow to fully cool.