Beef Jerky is part of a group of snacks that doesn’t get enough attention. Sure you could say that beef jerky in all its forms isn’t great for you, especially the processed ones or those shaped into strange forms (beef jerky sticks), but there are a lot of natural brands out there that make great products. Jerky was probably invented out of necessity in the days when refrigeration wasn’t eve thought of yet (i’m talking Cro Magnon times here) or for those loss cross continent/ocean voyages. Instead of brining fresh eat that would go bad in a couple of days, they would preserve and dry out select cuts, so that people could have a sure source of protein in their diets.

In the old days dry meat would actually be left out to dry in the sun or get smoked in Tipis with a hot fire (Native Americans), the problem is that it would have to be an extremely hot day for this to work. Also with all the new bacteria that have surfaced over the years, I’m not sure this is a very viable option anymore. Bacteria will be killed by temperatures over 70 celsius, anything less is too risky. Your other option is to buy a dehydrator ( pretty straightforward) but if you just have an oven, it will work just fine.

Batangas Beef Tapa Jerky

Use this as a guide for any other meat you’d want to use.

Take about 900 grams of Striploin and remove all the fat (this is not a health concern. It’s just that fat won’t dry), make sure it was in the freezer at least an hour so that it’s easy to slice thinly. Slices need to be about less than 1/2 cm thick and lenght wise i usually go for 12 cm. Season the meat with 2 tbsp of garlic powder and 1/2 tbsp of spanish paprika. In a big bowl mix together 2 tbsp of brown sugar, 1 1/2 cup of soy sauce and 1/3 cup of white vinegar. Cover and marinate overnight ( i used a Vaccum Sealer machine, available in Rustans).

The next day, put your oven on and get it to an optimal temperature of 80-90 degrees celsius. Oil a rack and lay your strips on it (like hanging laundry). Put the rack in the oven and let dry for about 2-4 hours. The time will really depend on your oven and the cuts you made, so just keep checking, the meat has to be completely dry when pulled apart (if you’ve ever eaten jerky, use common sense, it has to look the same), in any case its safer to over dry than it is to under dry. Badly dried meat is suceptible to developping mold.

This will keep well in air tight plastic containers stored in cool places, but i find it better to just go ahead and eat it within 2 days. It never really lasts that long.

Enjoy!

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