One of the few products we don't make is ground and formed jerky, as it's called by meat processors. The main reason why is because it a very inexpensive to make, and often some meat processors looking to make a quick buck charge the same for ground jerky as they do whole muscle jerky (which is the kind of beef and venison jerky we make).
Basically, ground meat jerky (beef, venison, bear or antelope) is similar to a smoked sausage without a casing. First, I'll suggest some of the basics:
1. Make sure whatever ground meat you use is as lean as possible. At LEAST 90% lean, and it would be better if you could get the meat 95 to 97% lean. (Beef top round, which is what we use to make our beef jerky, averages around 97% lean).
2. I assume you are going to use your kitchen oven to dry the ground jerky. If you have a smoker, that's fine, as long as you have a way to measure the temperature (I suggest "cooking" at 150 degrees for approximately 6 hours). I am leery of any lower temperature due to the fact that ground meat is easier to contract food poisoning than whole muscle meat. If you use a food dehydrator, make sure it can reach a temperature of 150 degrees.
3. As for as seasoning, it's pretty open to what you prefer personally. The one item you definitely need is sodium nitrite, or curing salt. Sometimes you can find o form of this at the grocery store as Morton's Tenderquick. This usually has common table salt mixed with sodium nitrite. Make sure to follow the directions on the bag, the maximum to use of the sodium nitrite itself is 1 oz. per 25 lbs. of meat. Then, most common spices added are black pepper, red pepper and mustard seed.
You can also add liquid smoke to the ground meat when you mix in the seasoning, or you can spray it on while the meat cooks (or cures) in the oven. Liquid smoke is usually highly concentrated, so follow the label directions and make sure you use sparingly. You can usually find liquid smoke at better grocery stores.
4. If you don't want to make your own seasoning, you can usually find a ground meat jerky seasoning at Wal-Mart in the sporting goods sections or in the kitchen utensil section. I have been told by some of my customers that this was a pretty good seasoning. You can also find a ground meat jerky seasoning in the "Sausage Maker" catalog. This catalog has a wide variety of seasonings and meat processing equipment for the home user. The phone number to order the catalog is 1-888-490-8525. I've heard good comments about their products (except that they are rather expensive).
Well, I hope this has helped some. If you need some further help, post another question about the ground jerky here and I will try and answer it the best I can. (And a little quicker too!)
According to a study published by the American Medical Association, E.Coli can survive
drying times of up to 10 hours and temperatures of up to 145 degrees F. It is recommended
that venison being dried for jerky should be precooked to an internal temperature of at least
165 degrees F. Hunters and other consumers need to understand that wild game should
be handled and cooked with the same caution recommended for other meats.