Feb 6, 2015

Cooking with beer: Smoked Beer Beef Jerky

My humble little smoker
I while back, I received a wonderful gift from my in-laws. They got my wife and I an electric smoker. I was not that familiar with the cooking method of "smoking" despite having an older brother that was a Master Smoker for Browne Trading Company back in my home state of Maine (he was a pretty big deal, check this out!!), as well as a brother in law that has become quite accomplished in the art as well. One thing I did know about smoking, is, I loved the results. This ancient cooking method is pretty simple, a lot of fun,
Its been around for a while
and a great way to spend a day. What I love about smoking is, its similar to the same reason I love smoking cigars so much. It gives you an excuse to hang out at home, in the backyard, and tend to your smoker. Normally with a few beers and/or a cigar in my hand(s). I've since become quite familiar with the method and love spending time trying new recipes, and creating my own. I've even been told my ribs are pretty awesome (patting myself on the back right now....)

My 'famous' smoked sausage
stuffed pork loin

One of the very first things most people will try and make when they get a smoker is beef jerky. Its a great place to start, as it is pretty simple, and a great introduction to the art. However, me being a beer guy as well, I wanted to try and combined my love of beer, and smoking, and figured, an easy place to start was with jerky. After checking out and attempting a number of different recipes, I think I have finally landed on what that works pretty well. This is still very much a work in progress for me (as are just about all my recipes) but I figured, this is a pretty good base recipe to start. So please, I encourage you to try it, and tweak it, adjust it, whatever. Make it your own, that is the fun of it....

Smoked Beer Beef Jerky


     3 - lbs beef top round or roast
     1 - bottle Rad/Amber Ale (I use Fat Tire, but use whatever)
     1/3 - cup worcestershire
     2/3 - cup soy sauce
     1/4 - cup molasses
     1/4 - cup brown sugar
     1 - Tbs onion powder
     1 - Tbs garlic powder
     1/2 - Tsp Chipotle Chili Powder


24 hours before you are ready to cook....

First, make sure you trim as much of the fat off whatever cut of meat you pick for this. Fat not only can turn rancid quickly, it ads considerably to the drying time. Then you will need to cut your meat (against the grain) into about 1/4" thick strips. A nice long (and sharp) slicing knife works well, but if you aren't comfortable, ask the butcher behind the counter to do it for you. Just tell him you are making jerky with it, and he'll know exactly how to cut it. Just note, if you cut it yourself, it is VERY important that each slice is as close to the exact same thickness. If not, they will dehydrate at an uneven rate, causing some to be either under done, or over done, which you do not want, and can even be unhealthy.

Next, mix all of the ingredients into a large pot and stir and heat until it is hot to the touch (do not boil!) and then turn off the heat. Continue to stir thoroughly for about 5 to 10 minutes or until molasses and brown sugar have fully dissolved. Let cool to room temp (about an hour). Divide your meat into two separate gallon size bags zip lock bags (or if you have them, one of the large 2.5 bags work great) and then divide the marinade in half, and add it to each one of the bags. Marinate the meat for about 24 hours in the fridge.

Time to smoke!!
Heat your smoker to about 150 degrees. As far as wood chips go, Hickory is my favorite for jerky, but use whatever your favorite chips are. I also found the Jack Daniels Barrel wood chips work nicely as well.
Now, you won't have to (and probably shouldn't) cook the jerky entirely in the smoker. I've found about 3 hours in the smoker under moderate smoke is plenty of time to give it that nice, Smokey sweetness. To much smoke flavor can give it a kind of burnt taste, that isn't very pleasant. After about three hours in the smoker (just make sure to check regularly, I transfer the jerky into the oven at a low temp (again, at a low temp, about 125, to 150) and continue cooking until you have reached your desired level of "chewy". This will can, and will vary greatly, depending on the cut of meat you choose, fat content etc.. It can be almost done after 3 hours in the smoker, it my take a few more hours in the oven. Just keep a close on it, and check it frequently. It can be boring, but on the plus side, your house will smell fantastic!

Once it is done, let sit out on the counter, and cool. Then place in large zip lock bags, and this stuff will stay good for a good long time. I have never been able to test exactly how long, since I eat it before it goes bad, but I assure you, it will keep long enough for you to eat it all. Just keep it sealed up, and it will be fine.

So, give that a try!!!! You will not only love the results, but you should have a lot of fun with the process as well.

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

No comments:

Post a Comment