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Date: Wed, Jan 23rd, 2013
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How not to make homemade beef jerky
So, well. I've been experimenting with beef jerky. Lots of reasons why, mostly beginning with... have you seen how much sugar is in commercial beef jerky? Yowza!
Stupidly, it never occurred to me that the cut of beef you start out with would matter. Yes, stupidly. I mean didn' the pioneers make jerky out of all of the cow? As kismet would have it, my first batch of jerky was made with a random, Safeway, cheapo, chuck roast. It was AMAZING! Tender, chewy and spicy. It clung to the very minimal Alton Smith marinade like white on rice. I was convinced I was the jerky queen. (Did I mention modest, too?)
I decided that there was NO MEAT that could not be conquered with my jerky-foo. See the fall coming?
Yes, well. Turns out that there are three things that are necessary for making really outstanding in taste and chewable beef jerky:
1) DO NOT USE MEAT WITH ANY...and I do mean ANY FAT. Not a lick, not a bit cut it ALL OFF. Seriously, I am not kidding. There are few things more disgusting than fat that has been 'preserved' in a dehydrator. It's really awful. The best jerky beef is not made with brisket, or even flank steak-- which is what is often suggested. Way too fatty and fibrous = Completley un-chewable and gross.
2) Start with any cut that has minimal fibers. Chuck roasts work very well if they are thick. Safeway has a Bottom Round Roast (the one that's tied with string) that IMO makes the best beef jerky ever. Yes, ever.
3) OK, there is no 3. I use the Alton Smith recipe,which is low in salt and sugar and tastes great...as long as the beef has no fat.
More when my dried veggies arrive!
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