"And if you don't love me now…"

by Katie Pizzuto on March 30, 2009

in Charcuterie

jerkyIn order to preserve their meat centuries ago, native North Americans used to salt it and dry it out on rocks in the sun, creating what we now know as jerky. In a similar way, cowboys that mimicked this style of preservation used to hang the strips of meat from tree limbs until they were completely dehydrated from the effects of the sun and wind. Now, years later, there are still certain makers of jerky that use quality meat and proper drying/smoking, but plenty of the products in the marketplace which are sold as jerky consist of highly processed, chopped and formed meat, rather than traditional sliced, whole-muscle meat. These artificial products, with their far higher fat and water content, often include chemical preservatives to prevent spoilage.

My kid happens to love jerky—teriyaki, sweet & spicy, peppered, you name it—so rather than spend all sorts of money on inferior products, I decided to start making my own. It’s so ridiculously easy that even you could do it (not that you’re slow or anything…I’m just sayin’). Grab yourself some eye round at the butcher, slice it into thin strips, give it whatever type of dry rub turns you on (you can marinate it but the liquid will hike up the drying time), leave it in the fridge 24 hours, then put them on a rack above a baking sheet and dry them out in a low oven (about 70°F or so). If your oven doesn’t go that low, put it on its lowest setting and keep the oven door ajar. It’ll take anywhere between 12 to 16 hours depending on the temp. That’s it, people. Half the price of the stuff in stores, and twice as good because you made it. Yeah, that’s right, bragging rights go a long way. Hand someone a piece and say, “Here try this great beef jerky…I made it last night.” They’ll ooh and ahh, and you can pat yourself on the back a bit because I know it’s been a while since you did anything worthy of a little back patting. And if that’s not enough to fluff your chest feathers about, bring some to work. There are bound to be plenty of lazy people there to make you feel better about you and your jerky.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Linsey March 30, 2009

Jerky is something we dont get here – im sure you can find it somewhere – but I have no idea where

because of that little fact – I am totally expecting a taster of it when I see you in a couple of weeks Katie – hehehe

Teryaki flavoured sound great or sweet and spicy – grins

Cheeky is my middle name btw 🙂

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2 Katie Pizzuto March 30, 2009

given the fact that there are only a few pieces left now, another batch will be in the works just for you…but I’ll wait until the day before you arrive lest they devour it all again!

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3 Linsey March 30, 2009

yummy – damn im gonna be so stuffed that day what with the trip to Arthur Ave too – bringing you a couple of different types of brit toffees

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4 matt March 30, 2009

This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

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5 Chris Walker March 31, 2009

You know what should be your next endeavor, now that you’ve made the jerky? Duck prosciutto. I was reading about it on Ruhlman’s blog the other day. I’m going to try it out next week.

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6 The Wine Commonsewer April 1, 2009

Jerkey? Doesn’t that affect your vision or something?

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7 Katie Pizzuto April 1, 2009

No doubt, Chris…I bought Ruhlman’s “Charcuterie” and I’m dying to make like a million different things including my own bacon and salumi!!! Duck prosciutto is def. on the list!!

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8 linsey April 14, 2009

all i can say about Katies jerky is …. OMG MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!

damn they were yummy

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