How It’s Made: Jerky

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:

  1. Find some lean meat (because fat doesn’t dry and will go rancid)
  2. Add salt, salt, and more salt. Oh and a dash of salt. 
  3. 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

 

Scotch Pairings for Everything

SCOTCH SCOTCH SCOTCHtumblr_mczsu0Cyzs1rb3pk0o1_500

As Ron Burgundy wisely stated, Scotch is the most delicious beverage on earth. It is the nectar of the gods of which ancient Greeks spoke. It is the dew running softly down a blade of grass. It is a thousand years’ worth of laughter and happiness–aged in oak barrels for at least three years–bottled and served in a tumbler. With ice. Without ice. Or perhaps rocks? No matter how it is served, the pairings are a key component to enjoying your Scotch Whisky.

But if you’re like me, you’re always struggling to find new things to pair with your scotch. Here are a few things I’ve paired with scotch over the last few weeks:

  • Stalking an ex on Facebook. Oh just look at Chelsea thinks she’s so cool with her successful new fiance well I bet he isn’t drinking a fifteen-year Dalwhinnie right now. 
  • Suit shopping. Nothing demands good service more than refusing to remove a tumbler of whisky from your hand while some guy tries to tailor your sleeves.
  • Watching later Adam Sandler movies. What? It’s not like drinking scotch is going to make them any worse.
  • Soccer. No, not playing soccer you dolt–watching soccer. Sure, it’s all well and good to drink beer at a baseball game, but if I want to enjoy a few fingers of my favorite single malt at my nephew’s soccer game, all the sudden I’m a “deviant” who needs to “dial it back.” 
  • Smoking a cigar. Great. Now I smell just like my weird Uncle Chet.

Remember gents, it may be “too early” to drink scotch, but it’s never too early to start thinking about it. If you aren’t drinking it (stuck at work?), you’d better start thinking about it. Your pairings have got to be better than mine. Tweet us your favorite scotch pairings @mancrates

Shane Killington: Story of the Badass Bard

When Man Crates reached out to me about telling my life stories on their blog I was hesitant. Okay that isn’t true. I was hand-tagging wild moose in Alaska and my bush pilot crashed our plane. So I was a little busy.

Regardless of the excuse, I couldn’t resist. A bunch of guys stuffing stuff in crates and shipping them to men across the world? Yeah, Shane Killington can support that.

Lucky You

So you can tune in, once a week, to try life through the eyes of the last true living explorer.  But I wasn’t the first. So when I get bored of regaling you with my stories, I’ll drag you into the past and drum some history into you.

Take Hugh Glass. This 19th century fur trapper’s stories make my stories sound like lollipops and puppy tails. Here’s a good one: in 1823, after getting into a wrestling match with a momma bear (that subsequently turned into a stabbing match), Glass lay 200 miles from civilization with a broken leg and festering wounds. His companions thought he was as good as dead, so they took all his supplies and left him to die a slow and painful death in the forest.

But dying in a forest was not on Glass’ bucket list. So he rolled over, covered himself with the dead bear’s hide, and got to crawling. At one point, he laid himself  on a rotting log so maggots could eat the dead flesh from his back. At another point he scared to wolves away from a downed bison calf so he could eat it himself. Keep in mind, this guy was rocking a broken leg this whole time. He’s like Davey Crocket on speed.

After six weeks, he finally crawled into camp and still had enough of his humanity left to not gut those buttholes who left him to die.

Let’s Hear Your Story

Although Shane Killington has enough badass stories to last a lifetime, Man Crates asked me to find out some more. So I’ll turn it to you, fine readers. Got a badass story of your own? An uncle, a brother-in-law, you? Send it to me at stories@mancrates.com and I’ll decide just how badass it is. Hell, I may even send you a Man Crate.

Choose your NCAA Bracket Manager Wisely

It’s too late now; your $5 or $20 (or if you’re single, $150) is tied up with your NCAA bracket manager. He’s an old friend or some random guy you know by association. And either way, he is not to be trusted.

I admit, I’m not really trusting when it comes to bracket managers. But I have a good reason. When I was in high school, two of my enterprising classmates took it upon themselves to run a massive school-wide bracket. It sounded like a great idea at the time–a pot over $1,000 divided appropriately between different tiers of winners. So I bought two brackets, filled them out, and was on my way.

It was only a few days later, when I was at McDonald’s with the rest of the football team (undertaking our weekly challenge of trying to eat enough Big Macs that the restaurant ran out of middle buns) that I got a jarring call. Apparently one of our more intelligent classmates had added up the tiers and found that they didn’t equal the total amount of coin we had put in.

It was mutiny.

Within minutes, hundreds of students had swooped down on the two unsuspecting march madness bracket managers in the lunchroom where the two tried to explain that “we were just taking a cut to pay for our hard work!”

Needless to say, there were countless wedgies and swirlies. It was like Jesus and the money counters all over again. And I stopped trusting NCAA bracket managers forever. So the next time you fork over a check (seriously, like one of three checks you actually write every year) for $20 to Ron in accounting, remember my tale. And make sure to add up the winnings.  Because everyone knows Ron is a weasel.

Your Manly March Madness Survival Guide

So you managed to fake your way through your company’s March Madness bracket. Good work. You were able to fill it out because after all, you can still count.

“A 1 should beat a 16. Yes. And that 8 should beat a 9. Okay…” you muttered, huddling over in your cubicle, hiding your shame.

But now what? You know damn well you’re going to get roped into watercooler talk about teams like “Creighton (7)” and “Florida Gulf Coast (15).” Teams you never even knew existed. And you sure as hell don’t want to get caught saying something stupid like “wait. Harvard (14) has a basketball team?”

But what can you do? You can’t possibly learn enough about college basketball in the next day to avoid sounding like a philistine. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

First response – avoid the situation

  • Avoid gatherings – if there are men congregated anywhere in the office, you can be damn sure they’re talking about March Madness. So have your cell phone ready at all times to fake a call. (However, don’t let women in the office lull you into a false sense of security. Many of them also know more about the tourney than you do.)
  • You social drinkers are out of luck for the rest of the month–and to be safe, the first week of April–because bars are definitely not an option. Do you really want a waitress with pigtails and booty shorts guffawing because you mixed up New Mexico (3) and New Mexico State (13)?

Second response – fake it 

Do a modicum of research on a few teams, get together a few vague phrases and practice them in a mirror. I’ll provide a few samples:

  • “Did anyone pick any 12 -seed upsets?”
  • “Yeah, the Zags are good, but I don’t think they have the stamina to make it to the Final Four.”
  • “So who do you guys think is this year’s Cinderella?”

Emergency response – start a fight

March madness is a unique time of the year. No one is going to keep questioning you if you lose your temper over something silly. Here’s a good one:

Coworker: “Wait, you seriously have Valparaiso (14) beating Michigan State (3)?”
You: “If you value your front teeth, don’t mention the M-word when I’m in the room.”
Coworker: “Whoa, sorry man. I’ll leave you alone.”

Sure, threatening physical violence will probably get you fired and should therefore only be used in an emergency. Like if that butthole Ron in accounting tries to make you feel foolish. But hey, he’s been asking for it since day one.

The Irish Car Bomb: a Cautionary Tale

St. Patty’s Day is not a holiday; St. Patty’s Day is an excuse to drink. And a damn good one. Green beer, Irish Car Bombs and Jameson shots the size of leprechauns.

However, my first experience with the Irish Car Bomb was not in a cheery Irish college bar on a bet, while a dozen girls around me screamed “woo.” No, it was in a dive-y Irish bar in Spain during what turned out to be the longest night of my life.

I had been living in Spain for a few months studying Spanish (read: drinking an obscene amount of liquor with a fistful of expats). My parents decided that they were tired of my unproductive trip and that they were coming to pick me up and turn the whole event into a family vacation. Unfortunately, the day they arrived also happened to be the day Spain was scheduled to play in the Euro Cup final. The “vacation” got off to a rough start.

A Timeline of Madness

3 p.m. – family arrives in Oviedo, Spain
4 p.m. – family passes out from jet lag. I indulge in their hotel minibar
4:15 p.m. – minibar empty. I leave to find more booze.
4:35 p.m. – stop at local bar to buy a beer and a grip of sandwiches. Engage in heated soccer argument with bartender.
4:36 p.m. – conversation ends when we both agree Italy is the worst.
4:37 p.m. – we toast with two bottles of sidra.
5:30 p.m. – bored and buzzed, I return to the hotel room to wake the grumpy beasts.
6:30 p.m. – family is fed, awake, and ready to go watch the Euro Cup Final.
7:30 p.m. – after we split a bottle of sidra at dinner, my brother George loudly declares he could out-drink me.
8:15 p.m. – we move to my favorite bar.
8:30 p.m. – the bartender (John) reveals he is being given the bar and needs to clear out his stock.
8:31 p.m. – John insists every member of my family indulge in an Irish Car Bomb, known in Spain as a “coche bomba.”

My mother is clearly worried

8:55 p.m. – after an hour of the game, the bar has gotten rowdy. My parents are tired from the flight/booze and decide to leave. Settling their bill, they leave John with a generous tip. Used to a country where tipping 5% is too much, John takes this as an open bill for George and I.

8:56 p.m. – George and I realize this small fact.
9:01 p.m. – we both step outside for a celebratory cigarette. Neither of us are smokers.
9:04 p.m. – vomiting.
9:15 p.m. – coche bombas
9:16 p.m. – sidra
9:20 p.m. – John informs we finished our bill.
9:25 p.m. – George and I decide to get John drunk so he will give us free drinks.
9:26 p.m. – coche bombas. Every person in the bar.
9:35 p.m. – Spain wins! Bar celebrates briefly.
9:36 p.m. – coche bombas

Coche bombas give you wiiiiiiiiings!!

Blackout Monsters

At this point in the evening, things become fuzzy. What happened next I pieced together from stories and pictures over the next few days.

11 p.m. – George and I find a fountain full of drunken revelers. Clothing optional.
11:01 p.m. – we take the option.
12 a.m. – we engage a tree in a fight. George helps by throwing me into the tree.
12:30 a.m. – finding a street vendor selling trinkets outside of a bar, we stop to share a bottle of sidra.
1:17 a.m. – I send a single text to an ex-girlfriend overseas: “reality becom fluid” [sic]
2:30 a.m. – arrive at hotel room. George decides if he drinks water, he will not have a hangover. The first water he finds in the freshly-stocked minibar is sparkling.
2:32 a.m. – bottlegate. George removes all spring water from fridge. Reaches into back to get the coldest standing water.
2:33 a.m. – George struggles with the pry off lid.
2:34 a.m. – bottlegate concludes as George breaks neck of bottle, passes out on floor.

Coche Bombas are Never the Answer

As far as the many gaps in our night, we may never know. What I do know is that George spent the next day alternating between vomiting and crying. I spent the day explaining to my ex why I had contacted her.

So if you decide, this fine St. Patty’s Day, that you want to “spice things up” with an Irish Car Bomb, go ahead. But remember this: You will forget things. You will need to apologize to people in the morning.

And you will fight a tree.

I did not win.

Valentines Day is Hard–Fake Girlfriends are Easy

Everyone’s had a Fake Girlfriend

When I began dating my second girlfriend, I faced some serious inadequacy issues. She had a slew of ex-boyfriends, all of whom sounded much cooler than me. One of them even had a bullet bike for god’s sake. And what did I have? 

Just one ex who didn’t even own a car.

But of course I couldn’t tell my lady that and risk coming across as vanilla. So I lied, and lied hard. I made up a veritable cavalcade of ex-girlfriends, all of whom had names, back stories, and sweet rides.

Because that’s what us men do when faced with inadequacy; we’ll never admit it because it’s none of your dammed business.

No one knows this better than my man Manti Te’o. One of the most decorated collegiate athletes of all time can’t get a woman? That couldn’t stand, and Te’o knew it. So he did what any self-respecting man would do and lied–hard.

Manti Te'o Meme

Real Girlfriends are Tough

Girlfriends are not only difficult to acquire, they’re expensive to maintain. So, in most cases, it’s far easier to craft a manic and impossibly complex falsehood so everyone knows that you’re still virile. And at this late date, there’s no way any single guy is going to snag a real girlfriend before V-Day.

Unless that is, if she is, you know, less than real.

But you must remember–if you’re going to lie, lie hard. Why have a fake girlfriend who just sends you a card that looks suspiciously as if you wrote it left-handed? That girlfriend sucks. Instead, why not make your fake girlfriend (name tip: Chelsea is always  a safe bet) so cool that she got you your very own Man Crate for V-Day?

Your boss’ wife may be able to melt a polar ice cap, but he won’t be able to pull his eyes away from the glorious crate atop your desk. Because you have a fake girlfriend who loves you and everyone should know it.

It’s easy to follow in the footsteps of collegiate football great Manti Te’o. Make up a girlfriend. Make her hot, cool, funny, and, if you need to win a Heisman, tragic. But most importantly, make sure she takes care of you on Valentine’s Day. 

Man Crates is Here to Help – The Manti Te’o Program

Just like Goose and Maverick, when you’re rolling with Man Crates, no girlfriend = no problem.  We’ve even designed a custom program to make the whole “fake girlfriend” story a bit more believable.  Here’s how it works:

  • Step 1:  Buy a Man Crate for yourself.  Or for a buddy who’s sans female counterpart.
  • Step 2:  Write “Manti Te’o” in gift note section.
  • Step 3:  Man Crates will hook you (or that “guy you know”) up with a custom, hand-written love note from a secret admirer named Chelsea (naturally).
  • Step 4:  You and your beloved Chelsea live happily ever after – that is, until someone rats you out to Dr. Phil.  An no, that person will never be Man Crates.  We got your back.

Get to it!

Look at this nark!
Look at this nark! Totally not cool bro.

 

Scientists Weigh In on Heated Beef Jerky Debate

Scientists Declare Jerky King of Foods

Is jerky, in its various incarnations, the greatest food known to man? Scientists say yes.

In an unbiased report released yesterday, the National Jerky Institute of Jerky Studies stated that they found jerky to be the most scientifically flawless food mankind has ever devised. Dried meats, often referred to colloquially as “jerky” or “beef jerky”, have long been appreciated for their portability, ease of preparation, and taste.

However, jerky came under fire earlier last month when a flippant remark from a prominent politician brought jerky to the forefront of the American conscience. Acting quickly, a number of renowned doctors and scientists with the NJIJS conducted a number of experiments to lay the issue to rest.

National Beef Jerky Institute Seal

“We conducted a number of double-blind studies, in which both the subjects and administrators of the experiment were given different types of jerky,” explained Dr. Mike Harrison, “in every experiment the jerky was in fact eaten.”

Harrison continued, stating that while up to 40 percent of all food in the U.S. is wasted every year, in every experiment conducted by the NJIJS, 100 percent of the jerky was consumed.

“What does that tell you?” asked Harrison.

Leading questions aside, Harrison’s hypothesis of jerky’s infallibility stood up to a number of other equally scientific experiments.

High Consumption Rates for Jerky

“My colleagues have established the fact that people will eat jerky 100 percent of the time,” explained Ted Vance, another jerky PhD with NJIJS. “However, we wanted to test if anything could upset this number.”

Percentage of Beef Jerky Consumed

Although Harrison’s study proved that jerky had a 100 percent consumption rate, Vance believed outside factors could decrease the percentage. As such, the scientists conducted another study in which they subjected jerky to a number of outside substances to disrupt its consumption rate.

“We dipped the jerky in a combination of soy, ginger and garlic, thinking that this would act as a deterring factor for test subjects,” Vance said through a mouthful of beef jerky, “the only change we noticed was a drastic uptick in approving nods and satisfied ‘hmm!’s.”

When prodded that the scientists had simply soaked the jerky in a common combination of spices to create a popular Japanese flavor known as “teriyaki,” Vance declined to comment.

“Even just infusing the jerky with sodium chloride did nothing to affect consumption rates. If anything, it sped them up.”

Other interested parties, including the Potato Chip Research Institute of America, have yet to weigh in on the issue at press time, but there seems to be little doubt–jerky is now scientifically proven to be the greatest food known to man.