Friday, May 27, 2011

Mexican Lime Jerky

Yes, it's true, you can make your own beef jerky!  I've made a teriyaki flavor before, which was pretty good, but when I saw this recipe, I knew it would probably be even better.  If you like spicy food, anyway.

2 large jalapeños, halved, but not seeded
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 quart light Mexican beer, such as Corona or Pacifico
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 pounds trimmed beef top round or bottom round, about 1 1/2 inches thick
Kosher salt, for sprinkling before drying the meat
Black pepper


Start by making the marinade.  Using a blender or food processor, puree the jalapeños along with 1/4 cup of the lime juice. Transfer the puree to a large bowl, then stir in the beer, soy sauce, and remaining 3/4 cup of lime juice.

Next, take the beef and cut it into 1/4-inch-thick slices.  I would suggest pounding the meat out with a meat tenderizer first if possible, this will make it thinner and more like the jerky you buy in the store.  But, if you want it thicker and more like "nuggets", then don't bother!

Add the beef to the marinade, stirring well to coat each slice. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange the beef on foil covered cookie sheets. Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and lightly with the black pepper.  Bake for about 4 hours, until the jerky is firm and almost completely dry, but still chewy.

Let cool completely before serving. Once done, The beef jerky can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks.

Tips - There are plenty of different recipes out there, so if you like beef jerky but don't like jalapeños (what are you, nuts?!), you can omit those or try a different flavor profile.  This is also good if you add a bit of sugar.  The longer you marinate it (overnight is good!), the more flavor the jerky will take on.  Also, two pounds may sound like a lot, but you lose about 50% or more in the drying process, so it really doesn't make as much as you might expect.  Good luck!

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