If men are preparing any food, the best bet is that we’re cooking meat over an open flame. Because that’s how it should be done. But there is another process another process for preparing meat–drying–produces equally delicious results, even if no one gets to fire up their grill. This is Jerky.
By definition, Jerky is lean meat trimmed of fat, cut into strips, and then dried– to prevent spoilage. Meat forever. Delicious. All Day.
But don’t be fooled, making it can be as complicated as brewing beer or as simple asgrilling a steak. At its core, the process consists of three steps:
- Find some lean meat (because fat doesn’t dry and will go rancid)
- Add salt, salt, and more salt. Oh and a dash of salt.
- Dry .
However, this seemingly simple process allows for unique complexities at every stage. Some jerky makers prefer to use a less-lean meat for moister jerky, while others will basically dry pure muscle.
The second stage is where most jerky gains its flavor–jerky dryers will add in anything from sugars and spices to beer and chili peppers. This stage is where science, ingenuity, and a good nose come into play, moving jerky from just a salted meat into the realm of a delicious marinated steak. The chemistry and basics behind this process is trial and error and eventually you will uncover your flavor.
Even the drying stage allows for a great variety. Home jerky makers are certainly familiar with a basic food dehydrator, which can produce a quick and easy jerky. However, larger operations tend to use massive drying ovens. Another more traditional method–smoking–preserves it’s flavor best, but is also much more difficult.
No matter how you cut it, we can all agree that jerky deserves a top spot in the hierarchy of manly foods.
If you need inspiration for your Jerky, check out the Slaughterhouse crate… over a pound of the best jerky around. Guaranteed. http://www.mancrates.com/jerkygrams