Jerky is having a moment. It’s no longer relegated to campfires and backpacking trips. Gone are the days when the fat-trimmed meat — any type, whether beef, turkey or bison; cut into strips; dried and often marinated — was something you purchased on impulse at the convenience store. Now, everyone’s favorite energy food for hiking, biking and living has become one of today’s newest and healthiest epicurean treats, and it’s even going gourmet with top chefs and restaurants nationwide hopping aboard the haute cuisine jerky train. Chef Andrew Little from the Dining Room at Sheppard Mansion (www.sheppardmansion.com) in Hanover, Pa., makes a beef jerky using meat sourced from the Sheppard family’s own Scotch Highland cattle farm. It’s for sale at the property’s Carriage House Market, adjacent to the restaurant and inn. On the West Coast, Los Angeles’ wine country–inspired Napa Valley Grille (www.napavalleygrille.com) makes a smoked prime sirloin beef jerky, which they also use as garnish for their smoked tomato martini. And at Chicago’s Sable Kitchen & Bar (www.sablechicago.com), executive chef Heather Terhune makes her own beef jerky using strips of top round from Wisconsin’s Dietzler Farms — less than a two-hour drive away — dehydrating them with brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce.
Make Your Own
Napa Valley Grille’s Prime
Beef Sirloin Jerky (makes about 4 ounces after drying)
1 lb. prime beef sirloin or flank
steak. Peel all fat and silverskin and thinly slice with the grain.
Approximately 2 tsp. smoked sea salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 oz. chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
1. Place sliced beef in a nonreactive bowl.
2. Use a food processor to process all other ingredients into a paste.
3. Add paste to beef and mix well, coating all surface areas.
4. Let marinate in refrigerator for 24 hours.
5. Space beef evenly on dehydrator racks.
6. Turn oven to low and place beef on racks inside.
7. Dry jerky until very dry (about 24 hours), checking every four hours.