Chile, Lime, and Lager Jerky
Chile and lime has been a popular flavor combination for years; recently it’s been showing up with the additional ingredient of beer, and I’m not complaining. This flavor combo works great as a marinade for jerky. Just remember, beer is a tenderizer and citrus breaks down meat, so this one doesn’t swim in the marinade for long, or you’ll end up with mush. Trust me, it’s not pretty, and it doesn’t taste as good when it’s mushy. Set your alarm so you don’t forget your meat.
- 24 oz lager
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 serrano chiles, cut into large pieces
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 lb London broil strips
- Toss all the ingredients, except the meat, into a food processor and buzz until everything is pureed. Pour the puree into a 1-gallon resealable plastic freezer bag and allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes. Add the meat strips to the marinade and mix the strips around so they get completely coated with the marinade. Remove as much air as possible from the bag, seal, and place it in the refrigerator for 4 hours. During the marinating time, remove the bag from the refrigerator and work the meat around so the marinade is fully incorporated into it. Remove the strips from the marinade and arrange in a single layer in your choice of dryer.
- You can use gas, electric, or convection ovens to make jerky. Ideally, jerky should be cooked at 165°F, but many ovens do not go any lower than 200°F, which will still work. If you use a gas or electric oven, there are a couple things you can do to help get more air flowing around the meat as it dries. First, stick a wooden spoon handle in the door opening to keep it slightly ajar — this will also help bring the oven temperature down a little, which will improve the texture of the finished product. Second, lay the meat strips on a cooling rack set on a baking sheet to allow air to flow underneath the strips as they dry.
- If you are using a convection oven, begin checking on the jerky after about 90 minutes. With a gas or electric oven, start checking on it after 2 hours. If you have a dehydrator, you will find that it is even easier to get great results — just set your dehydrator to 165°F and begin checking the results after 4 hours.
- Jerky is ready when it looks dry, but you can bend it without it snapping. If it does snap, that means it’s too dried out — just stick back into a new marinade and then dry it again. When your jerky is ready, store it in a resealable plastic bag with the excess air removed. If you see any oil on the surface, carefully pat it dry with a paper towel before storing it. Properly dried jerky will last up to a month at room temperature — for longer storage, vacuum seal or freeze it. Homemade jerky is perfectly safe, but if you do see any mold on a piece of jerky, the entire batch should be thrown out.
Java Jolt Jerky
There’s a brand of jerky that proclaims it contains caffeine to help give you a little pick-me-up during the day. But you can’t taste it . . . . What’s the point of that? Coffee and beef work really well together (hello, cowboy steak), so I wanted to put a little cup of espresso with your serving of beef. This doesn’t taste like straight-up black coffee with a side of beef, though. There are other flavors mixed in here to make the espresso flavor more subtle.
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
- 1½ tbsps kosher salt
- 1 tbsp espresso powder
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 lb London broil strips
- In a 1-gallon resealable plastic freezer bag, thoroughly mix together all the ingredients, except the meat, and allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes.
- Add the meat strips to the paste and mix them around so they get completely coated with the marinade.
- Remove as much air as possible from the bag, seal, and place it in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.
- During the marinating time, remove the bag from the refrigerator and work the meat around so the paste is fully incorporated into it.
- Remove the strips from the paste and arrange in a single layer in your choice of dryer. Dry.
From Jerky Everything by Pamela Braun, The Countryman Press 2015,