Re-Posted from www.missadventurenaut.com
I have a confession; I love jerky. There’s something about a dried piece of salty meat that I find so satisfying as a snack. But as much as I love it, I rarely buy it except on the rare festival or camping trip, where it’s dried nature actually fulfills it’s purpose. Then I came across this recipe from Griffin Jerky in Australia, using Kentucky’s own Bulleit whiskey; I gathered my supplies to make it the same day.
Whiskey infused jerky, because I also like to eat my alcohol.
Choosing the cut is one of the more important decisions. You need a cut that is extra lean since the fat is what retains the most moisture and eventually is what causes the meat the go off. I got a giant 6 lb eye of round, suggested by the butcher. It still had the outside fat on it, so it was a cheaper cut than the pretty butchered pieces. Chris helped to trim the fat while sampling some of the marinade ingredients.
The poor dogs wanted nothing more than for that meat to magically roll off the table into their little maws. Look at that beggin’ face!
After the meat was fat free we cut it up into sections. The way I cut it was against the grain so it’s easier to chew, but the shape turns out more like a beef chip, than a typical stick. We froze these chunks in the freezer for about 2 hours so that they froze just enough to make cutting pieces evenly a breeze.
While the meat was freezing we prepared the marinade. And since we tripled the size of beef from the recipe, we tripled the amount of marinade (original recipe below). Yeah, that’s a lot of whiskey.
Ingredients (We did 3x this, because we wanted a lot of jerky)
- 2 lbs lean beef (we used eye of round)
- ¼ cup Bulleit Rye Whiskey
- ½ cup ginger beer
- ½ cup tamari
- ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- squeeze of fresh lime
- We added some sliced garlic cloves too
Make sure you use ginger beer because it has a completely different taste than typical ginger ale. Ginger beer has a fierce ginger flavor, like chewing on a piece of ginger root, spicy! It’s great to cook with for that sweet ginger explosion. It also makes some kick-ass cocktails, like a Dark and Stormy or a Tuscan Mule. So the rest of that 6 pack won’t go to waste.
Do you have to use Bulleit whiskey? No, but I know Chris really enjoys the flavor, and I figure if that’s what you’re left with in the jerky, I might as well go for the good stuff, right?
After your marinade is prepped and your beef is sliced into perfectly equal quarter inch slices, you can add the beef to the marinade. Make sure the marinade gets between all of the slices because it not only flavors, but helps to tenderize it. Allow the meat to marinate covered in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours. “Overnight” worked well for us.
When the beef is saturated with mouth-watering flavors, take the pieces out and pat them dry before putting them on your drying racks. (I didn’t with the first batch and marinade got all over the racks, messy!). Lightly sprinkle cracked pepper on the pieces. If you use a dehydrator put it on the “jerky setting” and wait patiently for your meaty masterpiece.
I tried using our dehydrator and the oven. For science. The dehydrator was set to 160° F, and my oven only goes down to 170° F, so I arranged the slices on a cookie drying rack and left the oven door about 3 inches open. Remember, you’re not cooking the beef, you’re slowly removing all the moisture (which makes it safe to eat). I got similar end results, but the oven drying took about an hour longer. You can see in the bottom photo how some pieces had some red color left in them when I took them out at the same time. But another hour of drying did the trick.
Let them cool to room temperature before storing them. We put a bunch in a mason jar in the fridge and divided the rest up into 3 bags to vacuum seal with our food saver. Those bags went in the freezer and we’ll pull them out as we need. The jerky should last a few weeks, if you don’t eat it all right away. Now that we know how easy this is, we’ll be experimenting with marinades and cuts of beef, or venison. YUM.