5.08.2012

Don't Be Such a Jerky!

Beef jerky = LVE

First - have you registered to win a FREE copy of Well Fed, yet?  Click HERE to enter.  Two copies are up for grabs and the winners will be announced on Friday.  

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There have been many a failed attempt in the past year to locate a good quality, minimal ingredient beef jerky that I could snatch up in a last minute frenzy to quell to my Paleo snacking needs.  Gas station after gas station, grocery store after grocery store (including some of the big name healthy ones) have consistently let me down.  

Trader Joe's Organic Peppered Beef Jerky:
Organic beef?  We're off to a good start.  Organic evaporated cane juice?  I can deal with that.  Organic soy sauce?  Nope.  

Next!

Jack Links Beef Jerky (which is oh so easy to grab at any convenience store on any road trip):
Beef?  Yay-uh!  Water?  What?  Okay, I guess.  Sugar?  Nix.  But the list didn't stop... there were 8 more ingredients listed.  Two ingredients I couldn't pronounce.  Two others contained soy.  Two more contained corn.  

What's a hungry meat eating girl to do?  
Make my own beef jerky, that's what!

Here is my super special recipe for homemade beef jerky.  This recipe is inspired by a good friend who, last summer, provided this hospitalized-girl-in-need with some of the best non-hospital food possible.  And now you can stock up with tender succulent well-seasoned sugar free jerky for future road trips, hospital stays, or couch crashing evenings.

I started with a variation of the dry rub from one of my favorite old non-Paleo recipes (Click here for Dave Lieberman's Beer Braised BBQ Pork Butt).

Jerky seasoning:
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground mustard seed
1 teaspoon cumin


Meat:
1.5 - 2 lbs of lean London Broil
(NOTE: since the meat is not cooked, it is only dehydrated - quality is of utmost importance!  I recommend US Wellness Meats or your local grass-fed beef supplier of choice)

In a small bowl that can be resealed for later use, mix all of the ingredients for the jerky seasoning.  Stir with fork.  Cover with the lid and shake vigorously.  Set aside.

Using a sharp knife, cut all visible fat from the edges of the London broil.  Then cut the meat on the diagonal into 1/8" to 1/4" thick strips.  Place the strips in a large bowl.  Using a clean measuring spoon, add 2 tablespoons of jerky seasoning to the meat.  Toss the meat and seasoning together with your hands until each piece of meat is well coated.  Cover the bowl with the meat and place in the refrigerator anywhere from 4 hours to overnight.


Set the oven to the lowest possible temperature setting.  Mine goes to 170 degrees F, so my cooking time is based on that temperature.  Wrap a baking sheet with aluminum foil (to make clean-up easier) and place a cooling rack in the sheet.  Lay the strips of meat flat across the rack with 1/4" spacing between each piece of meat.  Depending on the original size of your cut of beef, you might need a second sheet/rack combination.



Place the baking sheet in the oven and use an oven mitt to keep the door partially cracked while you are dehydrating your jerky.  Start with a six hour timer.  Check the texture of the meat after six hours.  If it is still tender and soft, continue "cooking" for an additional hour at a time until the meat reaches a desired "jerky" texture level.  The more consistent the thickness of your meat slices, the more even the cooking time.  Some of the thinner/small pieces will be done first.  Simply remove those from the tray and allow to cool while the remainder of the meat is in the oven.  When the rest of the meat reaches a desired texture, remove the tray from the oven and allow the meat to cool.


Once all the meat has been cooled, the jerky can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.  That's if you don't eat it all before then.  Like me.  And my friends.  And my husband.

Enjoy!





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