This is going to be a most unusual blog post, as, you see, it is apparent to me that I am writing it from beyond this earthly plain. You see I have - I suspect - left this mortal coil and am presently within the nadir, nay the zenith of culinary heaven. I am basking in the glow of perfect home made bovine jerky - floating in the perfect glory of fibrous, rich, meaty, chewy, firm, smoky oven dried beef jerky.
And this is how I got here:
I bought a 'simmering steak' (i.e. cheap) from the grocery store, beef cut from the inside round, for maybe $5.00. I sliced it into long pieces, against the grain (my preference - with-the-grain makes for a tougher, chewier beef jerky).
Into a separate bowl I added mustard, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, Soya sauce, a pinch of salt and some lemon juice.
Into this mardinade, I dropped the meat slices and massaged them for a minute or two, working the mixture into and all over the strips.
The minimum I could get my oven to heat was at 175° Fahrenheit, which is roughly 80° Celsius. A little hot for my tastes, but I didn't have the energy to track down the instruction manual for the new oven.
Taking out the rack, I put an aluminum sheet and my big frying pan at the bottom of the oven to catch any drips, and draped the strips of beef over the rack, which I had propped up over the sink.
I ensured none of the strips were touching, as to maximize the drying surface area and slid the rack into the top slot of the oven walls. Turning on the extraction fan to the minimum speed, and then carefully balancing the door open about an inch, I left to go about other business.
Monty kept careful watch over the entire process to ensure that none of the beef jerky would fall onto the floor and be stolen. He guarded the whole mess, because he knows how much I like beef jerky and would like no harm to come to the beef jerky. He maintained a very diligent guard and in the end, much to his surprise and complete innocence, was rewarded for his dogged determination.
About 2 1/2 hours later I returned to the scene of the crime and found the strips were drying very nicely. Another 45 minutes in the oven and I was able to feel that the strips were drying and almost crunchy. I like my beef jerky slightly moist so I took it all out at this point.
The strips will dry more in the coming days, and I can pack it away in a pouch ready for my next solo trip (if it lasts that long).
It is very tasty. It is very, very tasty. It is very, very, very, awfully tasty. I would like to buy a dehydrator one of these days. But until then, the oven will do just fine.
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