Go for it, make your own jerky

January 16, 2013 

Jerky, which is lean meat cut into strips and dried, isn't limited to beef.

Beef jerky is probably the most common, but even that type ranges from salty to sweet, depending on the marinades and whether or not sugar is used. Hunters and their families like venison jerky, but jerky is not limited to venison or beef. Chicken, turkey and salmon may be used.

At gourmet or Fancy Food shows, jerky can be found in all the above forms. Alaskan or Northwestern purveyors are famous for salmon or smoked salmon jerky.

Some dog owners make chicken jerky for their dogs.

Probably the best way to make jerky is in a food dehydrator, but it can be made in the oven, too.

Reader Terry Smiley shares some of his jerky-making tips today for fellow reader Ann Ladner, who requested good beef jerky recipes.

"To get the most tender jerky, I only use London broil and only purchase it from our Sam's Club," Smiley said. "I tried the grocery store once, but the taste was not even close. I use a Nesco Food Dehydrator/jerky maker from Wal-Mart. Good luck, Ann Ladner."

Here's how Smiley makes jerky:

BEEF JERKY

1 London broil (makes a large zip-top freezer bag full)

Soy sauce

Cavender's All-Purpose Greek Seasoning (in the spice section of the grocery), or if you want it hot, use spice of your choice

Put London broil in freezer so it barely gets a little frozen (a lot easier to slice it).

Slice up the meat in strips, against the grain and however thick or thin you want it.

You will need a large plastic container to layer all the meat in as you prepare to marinate it.

Use a small pastry brush to brush on the soy sauce. You don't want to saturate the meat because it soaks it up good.

In bottom of container, put in sauce just enough to cover bottom.

Sprinkle your spices also on bottom.

Take strips of meat and lay in container.

Brush meat with soy sauce and sprinkle on spices. Turn the container and lay your second layer the opposite way. Again brush on sauce and sprinkle on spices. Repeat this until all the meat is in and done.

Put tight lid on container. Refrigerate so it marinates for 8 hours.

When you are ready to cook:

On paper towels, turn container over so layers come out. Dab with paper towels, so meat is not so wet.

Lay the strips on the dehydrator racks (I have 6 racks, so it all fits well and is not too crowded.) Cook for 8 hours in the dehydrator. Remove jerky from racks and place jerky on a sheet pan so it cools.

-- Submitted by

Terry Smiley

Coastians also will find two good and different beef jerky recipes in "Cooking on the Coast: The O'Keefe Family Recipe Book," which is available at some Coast gift shops. Here are those recipes:

BEEF JERKY I

1 chuck roast, sliced thin

1-1/4 cups sugar

1/4 cup salt

2 cups soy sauce

1/2 cup water

1 cup red wine

Lots of Tabasco

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1- 1/2 tablespoons black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

While chuck roast is still partially frozen, put slices in marinade above and marinate overnight in refrigerator. Smoke until done over hickory chips (approximately 10-12 hours).

BEEF JERKY II

1 to 2 pounds flank steak

1/2 cup soy sauce

Garlic salt to taste

Lemon pepper to taste

Cut steak with the grain in long strips no more than1/4-inch thick. Combine meat and soy sauce; toss to coat evenly. Drain and discard soy sauce. Sprinkle both sides of strips lightly with seasonings. Place strips in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 150 degrees for 10 hours (do not allow temperature to go over 150 degrees). Yield:1/4 to 1/2 pound of jerky.

Note: Partially freeze meat for easy slicing. Store jerky in airtight container.

Kosher foods cook-off

Manischewitz, the New Jersey-based kosher foods company, will host its seventh annual Manischewitz Cook-off Contest. Contestants can compete for the $25,000 grand prize package, which includes cash, Maytag appliances and a trophy.

The Manischewitz line of all-natural broths, including the new turkey broth, is low in fat and contains no MSG and no artificial ingredients. One of the broths must be used in the contest recipe, along with another Manischewitz product. The contest is open to all home cooks. To enter, go to manischewitz.com and fill out the recipe form. The top four entries will be judged in the Manischewitz test kitchens, and America will vote on the fifth and final entry.

Recipe entries must be an easy-to-make main dish or soup and be able to be completely prepared and ready to serve in an hour. The kosher recipe also must contain no more than nine ingredients.

The cook-off will be held at the Manischewitz Headquarters and Manufacturing Plant in Newark on March 21.

Low-fat treats for dieters

For those who kicked off the new year with healthier eating on their minds, I have found two great low-fat, low-sugar desserts that can get you through those "I've got to have something sweet" days.

Egg custard and its Mexican counterpart, flan, are two of my favorite desserts. This is a flan that I tried and served with fresh strawberries and blueberries. It's from Diabetic Living and has been hitting the boards on Pinterest.

FLAN

1/3 cup sugar (to caramelize)

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Fresh fruit (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. To caramelize sugar: In 8-inch heavy skillet, cook 1/3 cup sugar over medium-high heat until sugar starts to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly. Do not stir. Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low. Cook about 5 minutes or until all of the sugar is melted and golden brown, stirring as needed with wooden spoon.

Immediately divide caramelized sugar among six 6-ounce custard cups; tilt cups to coat bottoms evenly. Cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine eggs, evaporated milk, 1/3 cup sugar and vanilla.

Place custard cups in 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. Divide egg mixture among custard cups. Place baking pan on oven rack. Pour hottest tap water available into baking pan around custard cups to a depth of about 1/2 inch.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted near center of each flan comes out clean. Remove cups from water. Cool on wire rack. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.

To unmold, loosen edges of flans with knife, slipping point between flans and side of custard cups. Invert dessert plate over each flan; turn plate and custard cup over together. Remove cups from flans. Spoon any caramelized sugar that remains in cups on top. If desired, serve with fresh fruit. Makes 6 individual custard cups.

I have used this easy pie recipe from a reader for years.

BANANA SPLIT PIE

1 graham cracker crust

1 (4-ounce package) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix

2 cups low-fat milk

2 bananas, sliced

1 (15-ounce) can crushed pineapple, in juice

1 cup frozen whipped topping

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Mix pudding with milk and beat until thick; pour into crust. Put bananas over pudding. Squeeze pineapple to remove all juice. Sprinkle on top of bananas. Cover with whipped topping; sprinkle pecans on top. Chill well.

If you have a favorite healthy-eating recipe, please send it to me to share with your fellow readers.

Andrea Yeager, can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net. Send contributions or requests to Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567. If requesting a recipe, include the name or describe it.

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