My favorite jerky memory is of the teriyaki beef jerky you can pick up at the airport in Anchorage, Alaska. My mom always bought bags of it without fail on our layovers at 3 a.m. on the way to South Korea when I was younger. There's something seriously awesome about munching on jerky in the middle of the night next to stuffed bears. (Ever been to that airport? They have polar bears, birds, and other crazy wildlife in glass cases.)
This pork jerky recipe, if you can even call it that, was inspired by a Hani woman in Jiangcheng, a town a few miles north of the Lao border. All you need are two pounds of pork and an hour of spare time, mostly inactive, and you're set. Because you slice the pork so thinly, the jerky takes no time at all. Don't eat too much, though; my mom told me my teeth would fall out because I ate too much jerky. Confirm or deny?
Win 'Beyond the Great Wall'
In addition to excerpting a recipe each day this week, we're giving away five (5) copies of Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China. Enter to win here »
- Yield:6 as a main course, 8 to 10 as an appetizer
- About 2 pounds boneless pork butt, fresh ham, or other pork roast
- About 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- About 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Slice the meat against the grain into slices 1/4 inch thick or less. Lay on one or two broiling pans, stretching the slices to make them even thinner. Sprinkle on the salt and black pepper.
Bake for 1 hour, turning the pieces of meat every 20 minutes or so. The pork will become light, like jerky; it should be a little chewy and completely dried out.