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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chinatown Streets Beef Jerky

Some people don't know this, but beef jerky is actually a very low-fat food.  As long as you don't have a high blood pressure issue and don't have to watch your sodium (in which case, a barbecue blog might not necessarily be at the top of your reading list), it's actually a healthful, protein-packed snack, which is great for hikers and people who exercise outdoors.  And people who like eating jerky.

If you want an alternative to the terrible teriyaki flavored jerky you buy at the store, I highly recommend making your own beef jerky with an Asian-flavored marinade that actually tastes awesome!  The aroma of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and chili is truly intoxicating.  

 Of course, being a barbecue blog, Sizzle Grove does jerky on the smoker for a kick-ass flavor, but you can even do this in the oven.

There are a few important things you HAVE to keep in mind when barbecuing jerky:
1.  Keep the temperature REALLY low: About 150 F or 160 F.  Using several very small batches of coals is good.
2.  Allow moisture to escape: We cover the grill grate with aluminum foil, both as a heat buffer and to prevent jerky from falling through, but poking several holes in the foil allows moisture to drain out.
3.  It ain't done til it's done: All moisture needs to escape and extra fat needs to melt out.  Only then will it be done and be safe to store unrefrigerated.

Four pound beef roast (less fat = better)
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp Sriracha hot sauce
1/2 tsp fish sauce (if available)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 cloves garlic, smashed and rough chopped
2-3 hot chilis, chopped

On the smoker, halfway done

 1. Trim away as much fat as possible from the beef roast.  The less fat/moisture you end up with, the safer it is to keep your cooked jerky unrefrigerated.

2. Slice jerky into thin strips.  Two millimeters thick at the most.  Pounding it thin may be helpful, but if you use a small smoker like we do, that might make for some space issues.

3. Mix all ingredients together in a container with beef.  Allow ingredients to cover beef well.  Let marinade 24 to 48 hours.

4. When ready to smoke-cook the jerky, lay it on aluminum foil to keep from falling between the bars of the grill grate.  Poke several holes in the foil to allow juices to drain.  Keep the heat at about 150 F or 160 F.  Be prepared to add very small batches of coals every hour or two.

5. Smoke for 5 hours or so, until all moisture has been removed from jerky.  Let cool inside, and store in an airtight bag.

 **REMEMBER: If jerky is not fully dried, it can't be safely left unrefrigerated.  If you're at all unsure, just keep it in the fridge!

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