Friday, September 30, 2011

Trail Bites: Beef Jerky

Ann here to share another recipe for food to take on the trail.  When I am stuck inside unable to hike, I like to experiment with lots of different recipes.  Beef jerky is one of the best things you can take hiking with you.  It is high in protein, easy to carry, and relatively stable at room temp.  It is however, expensive to buy already made.  You get a measly three or so ounces for five or six bucks.  A three pound cut of brisket will yield approximately one pound of jerky.

I recommend keeping your eye on the grocery store adds for when beef brisket cuts are on sale.  You can usually get a good deal if you pay attention.  Have your butcher cut all of the visible fat off the cut of meat and slice the meat against the grain in ~1/4 inch slices.  You can do this at home if you like, but having the butcher do it,  it will save you time and hassle trying to slice evenly.

I recommend getting an original flavored jerky seasoning kit.  You can use any flavor you like; they come in a variety such as hickory, mesquite but I really like to create my own.  The jerky kit comes in two packets:  the seasoning and the cure. 

3 lb beef brisket, fat removed and sliced
4 tablespoons jerky seasoning
4 teaspoons jerky cure
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water

Placed sliced meat in a large non-reactive bowl.  In a separate container, combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Pour over the meat.  Cover and refrigerate for one to two days.

AFter mainating the meat, drain the liquid.  You can dehydrate the meat in one of two ways.  You can either use a dehydrator or use your oven.  I use a Nesco Snackmaster dehydrator, which uses convection heat set at 155 degrees; set your oven to 175 degrees.  

Pat the meat dry and then lay out on racks.  If you are using your oven, you can lay the meat out on metal cooling racks placed on a large cookie sheet.  You can then sprinkle the meat with additional seasonings such as cracked pepper, red pepper, and even Old Bay.

The meat will take anywhere from 4-8 hours to dehydrate.  Once it is done, let it cool, then place it in zip top bags and place in the refrigerator where you can safely store it for a month or so though it is usually all gone long before then here.