Who put the "jerk" in this jerky? – Recipe review

26 Aug

I have always loved jerky (well, that is, after I got used to the fact it is essentially eating chunks of raw meat whose provenance is largely unknowable. But it hasn’t killed me yet!). Jerky is primally awesome in its rawest form. Heh.

So I thought I’d find some awesome jerky recipe and make some myself, damn it!

I searched the annals of paleo wisdom and once again alighted upon the recipes of Mark’s Daily Apple. As most recipes do, this one proclaimed itself to be the best recipe for the best jerky best ever – so how could I resist? And with a few tweaks here and there (not every grocery store has ‘liquid smoke’ in aisle 3) I made the marinade as instructed and used the ‘hot marinade’ method advised to kill the pathogens that may be present in the meat (see my comments re provenance of chunks of raw meat). Firstly, the amount of marinade the recipe made and the amount of meat it suggest i defy the laws of physics by marinating in it, were laughably poorly ratioed. And I wasn’t too big a fan of this hot marinade method, as it kinda ‘cooked’ the meat slightly (see definition of “jerky” – chunks of raw meat). And the option either to lay the strips on racks in the oven or put them on backing paper in trays was an absolute JERK of an instruction, because, wishing to be a bit neater, I went for the latter option, and after 8 hours in the oven on low heat (150F / 65C), all it had done was boil in its own juices. So I left it in for another 8 frickin’ hours, and the stuff just wouldn’t dry. So I cranked up the oven in what can only be described as a ‘jerky tantrum’ and in a nanosecond the meat was dry, dark, brittle and ready to be interred.

Ideal storage for this jerky

What I would do differently:

Do not use hot marinade (use cold marinade and then ‘blast’ the meat at about 80C/170F upon first putting it in the oven, before turning it down to the recommended 65C/150F).

Do not put on trays – racks only, on pain of death!

Not put so much worcestershire sauce in the marinade – overpowering, blech!

On second thoughts, I don’t think I will blow another $20 in prime meat and a whole lotta heartache on trying to fix this recipe – NOT primal awesome.

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