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Beef Jerky

Jerky: Quick Snacks & Cool Summertime Meals

By Larry Burrier

In Texas, as soon as you say the word springtime, the 'ol "Dog Days" of summer start pawing their way in just to heat things up - as if our summers aren't long enough! Well, Jerky is here to save the day not only as a quick, re-energizing snack, but also as a cool, easy way to cook up an evening meal. Making your own jerky is simple, and if the little buckaroos are on summer vacation, with your supervision and assistance, this can be a project that'll help keep them busy or maybe even get them that Scout badge.

In my book, The TEXAS LINK to Jerky Making, I list several types of meats, marinades and drying methods; but just to get your feet wet, we'll focus on making Old Style Jerky, using a simple, inexpensive home dehydrator that can be purchased just about anywhere. The end result will produce plenty of jerky for snacking, along with enough left over to make a quick, one-dish meal that's nutritious, well-balanced and will keep you from standing around a hot stove all afternoon.

Homemade Beef Jerkey

Old Style Jerky

Makes about 4 lbs. of dried jerky
  • 8 lbs. Lean Beef
  • 2 tablespoons Curing Salt
  • 6 tablespoons Salt
  • 4 teaspoons Coarse-Ground Black Pepper
  • 4 tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 4 cups Water
  • 2 tablespoons Cayenne Pepper
  • 10 teaspoons Liquid Smoke
  • 8 teaspoons Sugar
Trim from the meat as much fat, gristle and membrane as possible. Freeze the trimmed meat for about 2-3 hours or until slightly frozen - this makes slicing easier. While the meat is freezing, begin preparing your marinade by mixing the above ingredients in a stainless steel, glass or plastic casserole dish. Once your meat is ready, begin cutting with the grain into - to 3/8-inch thick slices. Place the meat strips in your marinade mixture, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

After marinating, place the meat strips on the dehydrator dryer racks, making sure that you leave -inch space between each piece for air circulation. Be sure that the dehydrator vents on the top cover are open, allowing moisture to escape for approximately four hours, after which time you should close the vent openings and continue drying about 8 more hours, or until the meat has reached the desired dryness, having little moisture and flexibility without breaking. Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator. And there you have it - Jerky!

Jerky Spud Boats

  • 1 lb. Shredded Jerky
  • 4 Medium Potatoes
  • ½ cup Chopped Green Onion
  • ½ cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • ½ cup Chopped Broccoli
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Stick Butter (cut in teaspoon slices)
Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Bake potatoes until soft - about 45 minutes. Place the baked potatoes on a plate, slice in half and spoon the broccoli, onion, cheese, butter and sour cream into the center, then top with shredded jerky. Salt and pepper to taste, then dig in!

That's all there is to it. Now grab yourself a cool drink and go dangle your feet in the stock tank!

The Texas Link To Jerky Making
Read more about Larry's books on making jerky and making sausage.
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