Post # 9 Jerkin’ Your Beef

June 20, 2012 at 2:41 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Hold up your hands.  How many people like beef jerky?  Uh huh.  I thought so.  Nearly everyone.  Making beef jerky is so incredibly easy, and it makes such a long lasting flavorful snack that I don’t know why more people don’t make it themselves instead of paying outrageous prices at the convenience store or gas station.  Jerky comes in all kinds of flavors and all kinds of forms.  I’ve seen the most popular beef jerky everywhere, but did you know you can get turkey jerky?  or ostrich jerky?  Bison jerky is popular, as is chicken jerky.  Fish jerky is very tasty and can be used in a ton of recipes.

Growing up, we always had beef jerky in the house.  It was better than candy.  We reached for jerky whenever dinner wasn’t ready and we were hungry.  For the longest time, we bought jerky that came in huge slabs, was stiff as a board, and took hours to chew.  Then Mom and I started experimenting with making it at home, in the oven.  The first batch we made was okay, but not really what we were used to.  We’d cut the meat too thick, and hadn’t trimmed all the fat off.  However, when I got home from work and wanted to grab a piece, I couldn’t find it.

“What happened to all the jerky?” I asked, clearly puzzled.

Mom kept a straight face and said,”Your sister-in-law ate it all.”

I looked at her, dumbfounded.  We had started with over fifteen pounds of meat so there had been a ton of the stuff.

“It was good!” she replied with a smile.

“It must have been.”  I was disgusted.

Over time, we refined the process, bought other machinery, and got it down to a science.  We could crank out a week’s worth of jerky in a day.  It usually only lasted a day cuz it was so good.  We experimented with flavorings, pre-cooking, sun dried vs oven dried vs dehydrator.  We had teriyaki jerky, jalapeno jerky, pepper jerky, plain jerky, salted jerky.  You’d think we would get sick of the stuff, but it was too good.

One day, I got home from work and wanted a snack.  I saw a box of jerky on the counter and grabbed a piece.  We didn’t have any home made at the moment so it didn’t surprise me that there was a box of jerky around.  It was all individually wrapped so without looking, I tore off the plastic and took a healthy bite.  It tasted good, but was so dry it turned to crumbs in my mouth.  I kept at it, but finally decided it wasn’t worth it and tossed the rest of the piece I had.

Mom was smiling at me and asked, “How was it?”

“Not too good.” I replied.  “Don’t buy that brand anymore.  They used a really odd process.”

“It’s for the dogs.” she said.

“I’ll say.”

“No, really.  I bought it for the dogs.”  She handed me the box and sure enough there was a smiling cartoonish dog on the front that I had missed in my haste.

Enjoy the recipe for the real stuff!

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