Jerky time! the perfect snack for watching the AB’s on tour.
Jerky is meat or fish that has been sliced into thin strips and prepared carefully for preservation. This is achieved by drastically reducing the moisture content to inhibit any bacterial growth.
Jerky has had something of a resurgence as of late, used as a quick nutritional snack from athletes to long-haul truckers. It’s also an integral part of the Paleo or caveman diet.
The history of Jerky dates back to the ancient Incas as an advanced method of food preservation and storage. Because they could hold food much longer they were able to feed their armies and extend their influence along extended routes. They would use IIama meat and this dried meat was called charqui (charky) which later became “Jerky”. The Egyptians came next making jerky out of meat, vegetables and fish. Then the first Native American’s made jerky out of Buffalo meat.
Today any low-fat food product can be made into jerky. Fatty cuts of meat will turn rancid, always select the leanest cuts of meat.
Hot & Spicy Home-made Beef Jerky
1kg beef topside (or other lean cut such as silverside, flank or brisket)
- 1 cup sweet apple cider (or unsweetened apple juice)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 3 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp Himalayan salt
- 2 tbsp crushed chilli pepper
Remove all traces of visible fat from your piece of meat. Place the meat in the freezer for about 40-60 minutes, which will make it easier to slice thinly. Sharp knife.
Slice the meat in long thin strips, going with or against the grain. Place your meat in a re-sealable plastic bag with the rest of the marinate ingredients. Place your meat in the refrigerator and let it marinate overnight.
Before you go any further, cover the bottom of your oven with aluminium foil. Things are going to get messy!
Remove the strips of meat from the marinade and place them directly on your oven racks. No need to pat them dry just let the strips drip a little bit as you remove them.
Place your racks back in the oven and set the temperature to 140oc. Keep the oven door slightly open by sticking a wooden spoon. This will allow some of the heat to escape so the meat has a chance to dry without cooking.
Let the meat dry for about 3 hours, then flip it over and give it another 3 hours or so. Total cooking time depends a lot on the size and thickness of your strips.
Your jerky will be done when it’s dry enough that you can rip off a piece easily but not so dry that it’ll snap if you bend it.
Leave the jerky out to cool for a couple of hours then pop it into an airtight container or sealed plastic bag where it will keep unrefrigerated for 4 to 6 months