One of the first things that I noticed when embarking on my sustainable meat adventure courtesy of Deborah Krasner's Good Meat was that shopping for the good stuff was a whole new ball game. Small butchers that carry sustainably raised meat generally have a selection much more limited than that of a supermarket or even a conventional butcher. It's best to step into the butcher with an open mind and not a set shopping list.
This recipe for Beef Jerky wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I did my shopping for the week, but seeing the thin slices of grass-fed top round laid out behind glass I knew it was meant to be. The recipe is adapted from Homesick Texan, a blog that celebrates the foods of Texas in New York. The meat is partially frozen for ease of slicing and then marinated in a mix of Worcestershire, garlic, and chiles overnight for maximum jerky flavor. The strips are then laid out on a baking sheet and dried in the oven for a few hours to reach that perfect chewy-snappy texture. Krasner warns that the jerky can easily over-dry so keeping an eye on the jerky is a must. Once dried, the jerky is incredible, a high-brow-low-brow snack that has nothing at all to do with those gas station Slim [Jims. Although they are just as satisfyingly addictive, this is beef jerky that you can feel good about eating.
Adapted from Good Meat by Deborah Krasner. Copyright © 2010. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
- 1/2 pound boneless grass-fed beef top round or sirloin tip roast, fat trimmed, partially frozen
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground dried chipotle
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Using a meat slicer or a food processor, cut the partially frozen meat into thin strips about 1/8 inch thick and as long as possible.
Choose a medium bowl and mix the Worcestershire sauce, water, chopped garlic, chili powder, chipotle, black pepper, salt, and cayenne. Put the meat strips into this marinade and turn everything over with your hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to blend and penetrate the meat.
The next day, heat the oven to 175°F. Line 2 baking pans with foil. Arrange the meat strips side by side on the pans, discarding any bits of garlic and blotting off any liquid clinging to the meat.
Slow-roast the strips for 3 hours, then turn them over and roast for another hour or two more. The goal is a leathery texture that is still pliable. The jerky will keep, refrigerated, for 3 weeks. It is stable enough to pack in lunches or for trips as long as a day without refrigeration.