Jerky

Jerky in dehydrator

Jerky in dehydrator.

For great beef jerky one must have a decent marinade. However, the secret ingredient for jerky is not an ingredient at all, but the way it is sliced. DH and I have tried numerous techniques to slice the meat just right. The cut of the meat also has some baring on the procedure too. In the past I always have bought beef brisket, as that cut of meat was the right shape and it had a 1/8″ layer of fat for each slice. We love a touch of fat on the jerky as it has so much more flavor that way. In fact, both DH and I will go though the bag looking for finished jerky with a strip of fat on it.

Unrelated to the process of making jerky: The beef brisket reminded me of a funny story. My FIL (Father-in-Law), would always cook a beef brisket as a pot roast which were always delicious. As a newlywed at the time, I decided that I wanted to make a pot roast to surprise DH. (I might also add, that my DH and his family are Jewish, and I am not). My family, never ever used briskets. So I went to the store and picked out a brisket. Nowadays, I have no idea what I was thinking when I was cooking that pot roast, since if I remember right, I just cooked it in the oven as is, with no liquid. It was a doomed effort from the beginning. Well I roasted that brisket for two-hours, three-hours, four-hours, then I tried broiling it and it never browned. I decided that my oven wasn’t working right. Or was it? It was certainly a puzzle? Well, I finally had to yank it out and see what was up with it? Oh, I was successful in surprising DH, but not as I had imagined. We both looked at the pathetic hunk of meat…that is when DH discovered it was a corned beef brisket! That thing was never going to brown, ever! We both had a good laugh about it!

Back to the jerky… Lately, I have been buying beef chuck roasts, which also have become my favorite cut for pot roast as well. DH and I bought a chuck roast from the local butcher and asked for it to be chipped, and I even told him, we were going to make jerky with it. When we arrived home and I prepared the marinade, the meat was in reality, too thick for what we wanted it for. DH sliced it thinner with difficulty. So we considered that who experience a bust. Finally, I got the idea to semi freeze the meat to make slicing easier. It works to a point, however, the meat is still not uniformly cut, so the drying process takes longer for the thicker pieces. Last night, I was looking for ideas to give DH for Chanukah / Christmas, and up popped a meat slicer. Hmmm? I’ll let you know how that goes…

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