June 12 - National Jerky Day

Posted on June 12, 2020

"Dried meat" doesn't sound all that delicious.

And honestly, some of the commercial jerky I've had was a bit like eating spiced cardboard. The flavor was kinda-sorta there, but my mouth got so dry, I soon couldn't taste it!
On the other hand, my mom's homemade jerky was sooooooooooo tasty and chewy and not at all cardboard-y!

When I hear the word "jerky," I think of beef jerky. And indeed, almost all of the jerky made and sold and eaten right now is made out of beef. However, chicken and turkey jerky have made an appearance (and we have to give bonus credit to turkey jerky for the rhyme!), and some people like buying "exotic" jerky. 

On the vegetarian side, a company called Shrooms makes crispy mushroom snacks in a variety of flavors, and there are other vegan and "leaf jerky" options.
Jerky is dried meat - and drying is a way of preserving meat. There are two requirements to make meat jerky: a low-temperature drying method, and salt to make sure that bacteria don't grow. (It's bacteria that cause meat to rot!)

So, salt and low-temperature drying: you'd think that all beef jerky would taste about the same. But BEFORE you do the drying, the meat is often marinated in flavorful mixtures. Or it's rubbed with spices and seasonings. Or it's smoked as it's dried. Or a combination of these techniques to vary the flavor from mesquite barbecue to orange, from jalapeño to lemon pepper, from garlic salt to Santa Fe to pineapple to teriyaki!

My mom used to hang strips of marinated beef
from the oven racks, with a drip pan under-
neat of course!, and dried the meat strips
at a low temperature for a long time...

Russia Day

(Canceled because of COVID-19)

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