Happy Valley Chow

gour-mand (noun): one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking

Beef Jerky

Alright I'll be the first to admit that this looks like a glass full of dry...well you know. But, you know what, taking a beautiful picture of beef jerky is a hard job! Growing up in the heart of Pennsylvania, jerky was like turkey on Thanksgiving. It would only usually come around once a year, right after deer season. Of course, the jerky I'm talking about was made of venison. Yes, to put it simply, I was a redneck. Not one of those really crazy rednecks that you see walking around your local Walmart from time-to-time, a normal redneck...if that makes sense. We often went hunting, camping, fishing, muddin' , etc. So, naturally, I love these delicious salty treats. Now that the Super Bowl is set, we are down to two weeks to party plan. I ask you this....is there anything more manly...more 'Merrrican...than sitting down, watching a game of football, with a cold Yuengling and a hunk of dried meat? I think not....don't deprive your guests of this opportunity to express their Patriotism. 

History of Jerky
"Ch'arki", a name derived from the Quechuan language of the Incas (which literally translates into "dried meat"), later evolved into what we now call jerky. The discovery of Jerky allowed humans to both store food for long periods of time and have an easily carried, dense source of nutrition to take with them on journeys. Jerky is both flavorful and compact and almost any meat (except pork) can be made into jerky. Some say Native Americans made the first jerky (buffalo jerky) thousands of years ago, while others say an ancient Inca tribe called the Quechua made jerky as early as the 1500's. Whatever the case, this time tested recipe has been passed from generation to generation.
When the first Europeans arrived in the New World, they found that the Natives were making a dried meat product that did not need to be consumed immediately and they instantly knew that jerky would be beneficial to them. What the Native American tribes called "pemmican" was jerky meat added to either crushed dried fruit or animal fat. The Native Americans taught the settlers how to cut and prepare the meat into long strips and later shared with them the entire jerky-making process and some variations of seasonings to make different recipes. With this newfound knowledge and time-tested recipe, the European pioneers found themselves cooking and consuming jerky more than ever before; it was absolutely the snack of choice.
Jerky reached its height of popularity during the expansion into North America, where traders and explorers prized it as an essential source of nutrition as they traveled to new areas with limited accessibility to fresh food and supplies along the way. The fact that meat could be hunted anywhere along the trails that the settlers were following to the West made this method of preparing meat an extremely valuable skill. This was also the introduction of other jerky meat types such as turkey, goose, and other wild game. 
You know what would make an awesome Super Bowl party?? A FREAKIN' JERKY BAR!! Beef Jerky, Venison Jerky, Turkey Jerky, Chicken Jerky, Buffalo Jerky....an endless table of jerky...I love it!

  • 2 lbs eye of round, trimmed of all fat
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Slice the beef with the grain into 1 inch thick by 3 inch long strips. They may seem big, but that's fine. They will shrink significantly during the cooking process. In a mixing bowl combine all the try ingredients, mix to incorporate. Add all the beef strips to a large ziplock freezer bag, add in the spice mixture and toss to coat all the strips. Refrigerate the beef for 24 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 250° F

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a baking rack on top. Place the strips on top of the baking rack, making sure the strips are not touching or overlapping, this allows for even drying. Bake for 6-7 hours, until fairly dry. If you prefer the jerky to be on the chewy side, remove after 6 hours. Otherwise, leave it in for the full 7 hours. 

You know when else is a good time to eat beef jerky?? While watching Arnold Schwarzenegger movies!

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