Category Archives: marinade

Beef Jerky

I know I’ve blogged about it before here. But, I recently made more beef jerky. Since I’ve become pregnant I’ve really had a diminished taste for things like salt and sugar. Most potato chips are too salty for me. So everything I make lately has a lot less sugar and salt in it. Now jerky is one of those things that you must have salt for. It preserves the meat. Below is the modified recipe. I ran out of cumin so mine didn’t have any but you should add it because it’s smart. I had smoky paprika instead of regular. I think it makes for a great smoky flavor with out the added chemicals of the liquid smoke.

Meat!

Jerky

1 lb of lean beef

1/2 tbsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp red pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin (I forgot to get more but it’s good in the mix)

1/8 cup of soy sauce (use fancy tamari for gluten-free)
I’m going to try to play around with different flavors because I think I’d like to offer it for sale. This time around I attempted to run a cost comparison on the meat vs the final product. I think I can produce this at a reasonable rate.

For those that wish to make it themselves above is the recipe I recently used (notice the smaller amounts of salt and soy sauce). I think it gives plenty of great flavor without so much salt. Also no sugar! I don’t understand why all jerky contains sugar, drives me crazy. If you’re looking to save money get a larger lean roast. Partially freeze it, and cut it by hand. You need a pretty steady hand and a very sharp knife. Make sure to trim all the fat.

cut meat and trimmings

I saved my trimming for adding to ground meat or maybe awesome dog treats. Our local HEB sells very thin top round and Milanese style cuts of beef that are perfect for jerky if you don’t want to hand cut it. It does make life easier but you pay more for the precut meat. Mix seasoning well and pour into a zip bag with your meat. Make sure all the pieces are covered with the seasoning, then refrigerate over night.

mmm gooey

mmm gooey

you will soon be delicious

The time varies greatly on how long it takes to full dry. The thickness of the meat, the ambient humidity, and your dehydrator will all play a factor in this. If you check it every 1-2 hours your first time you’ll have a better idea how well your unit runs.

Playing Tetris with raw beef is fun!

The thinnest pieces will be finished at 4 hours the thicker ones at 8. I make sure to rotate the trays to allow for even flow of air every two hours. When I rotate I check the pieces for dryness. I also live in a very humid place so my times maybe longer than yours.

You can buy extra racks for it. It was a reasonable price and highly rated. I have no affiliation with this brand but I definitely would recommend it.

You can buy extra racks for it. It was a reasonable price and highly rated. I have no affiliation with this brand but I definitely would recommend it.

glorious dried meat

For storage we prefer to vacuum seal the meat into snack size bags. In a regular zipper top plastic bag, in our climate, the meat lasts around 2 months. (I found some in the back of the cabinet that had gone bad, so sad) but the vacuum sealed bags lasts longer than that.

I still have yet to find how long that is. The only preservative is salt so there will be a shelf life. But, if you’re stocking up for Armageddon, might I suggest vacuum sealing and then freezing? Otherwise for normal consumption a batch like this is fine in your cabinet until consumed.

T has taken to cutting it up and adding it to the homemade trail mix. Great clean energy all day long!


Delicious and Easy

Sunday we had some friends over for dinner. Below is what I made. Tandoori chicken using this marinade. Roasted butternut squash in leftover bacon fat. “Creamed” spinach made with coconut milk.

I’ve mentioned this marinade before. It’s super easy and tasty. A few tablespoons in a zip top bag with your protein is all the prep you need to do. I let the chicken marinate most of the day then I grilled the chicken outside.

Notice the gloves here?

My skin has a very strange reaction to raw butternut squash when it’s unpeeled. I can eat it fine, I just can’t handle it while raw. I either get T to do the prep work or I wear gloves to avoid it. We made bacon for breakfast and had delicious bacon fat left over.

I scooped some of the fat out then tossed the squash in the remaining fat reusing the exact same pan. (This works for all kinds of vegetables. Try it on broccoli and carrots)

Why make your life harder and wash all those dishes? It roasted at 350 until golden brown. About 30 minutes.

This spinach has to be one of my all time favorite things I’ve ever come up with. It’s so good! Check here for the original recipe.

This was a totally paleo meal that had very little prep time and was very tasty. If you’re still struggling to make meals make sense; take this approach and roast different veggies and grill meat with different marinades. It really is that simple.


Smoking and Hog

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, I’m sorry. School is keeping me busy and uninspired. Most of what we’ve been eating is recipes I’ve already posted didn’t think you’d like that so just kept quiet. I hope this recipe makes up for it.

Today I’m smoking one of the hams that came from this hog. Since moving to Texas T and I have fallen in love with the great art of smoking meat. It produces tender delicious food from unwanted tough cuts of meat. Now the hog shank was not unwanted, but because it was a wild animal the fat content is low and the muscles are typically much tougher. So the art of smoking on the pit was perfect for this. Everything I read said to let the meat marinate for up to two days to help reduce the gamey taste. Since this was the first time I would be trying a large cut I figured I would do a long marinade.

The recipe I adapted came from Saveur magazine. If you’ve never checked them out I highly recommend it. The recipes are unique and beautifully photographed. I changed up some of the ingredients to what I had on hand, and to make it spicy. It was a recipe they had as a Puerto Rican Christmas dish. Traditionally it uses a whole suckling pig. That sounds like a lot of fun that we might have to try some day.

Pernil Asado

1 cup of fresh orange juice

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup salt

1/8 cup black pepper

1/8 cup red pepper

2 tbsp oregano

2 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp garlic powder

4lb shank (the recipe called for an 8 lb shoulder there is more than enough marinade for a larger cut than mine)

Mix all the ingredients except the meat. With a small knife cut many small slits into the meat.

Pour marinade over meat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Turn the meat twice a day. Marinate for up to two days. If you are using store bought pork let it marinate at least 8 hours.

A smoker has a side box for the charcoal and wood that cooks the meat with indirect heat. You need to first build a pile of charcoal in a corner of the side box. Douse with lighter fluid and wait about two minutes for the fumes to dissipate.

Then light the charcoal. If you don’t wait you’ll get a small fire ball. This is lots of fun, but slightly dangerous. On that note, always use charcoal outside. It creates carbon monoxide while burning. It is odorless and will kill you. It seems like a silly warning but then people make silly decisions sometimes. Let your charcoal burn for about 10 minutes. When it starts to ash over (turn white) then you know it is ready.

You can place your meat directly on the grill rack or use a cookie sheet like we do. I find that it is easier to lift the meat and helps retain some of the moisture with a cookie sheet. You want to make sure to place your meat fat side up. While it cooks the fat will break down and penetrate the meat adding taste and moisture. Check your fire every 20-30 minutes alternating between adding charcoal and wood chunks. The wood chunks are what provide the smoky flavor. Usually we use mesquite, but today I decided to try hickory.

Now crack open a beer and wait. Smoking is a great all day affair that is usually accompanied by friends or family hanging around drinking beer and playing games. Check your thermometer to make sure it doesn’t get too hot or too cold. 200-250 is the sweet spot. Too cold and it won’t cook risking food borne pathogens. Too hot and your meat will become tough and dry.

Because I had so much marinade, I reserved it to brush on the meat while it was cooking. Pour your extra marinade in a small pot and heat it on low heat. It obviously had raw meat in it and you don’t really want to be brushing raw meat back on your cooked meat. After about 6 hours, check the doneness larger cut can take up to 8 or 10 hours so plan accordingly. You are looking for easy to pull apart meat. Smoking meat is not a quick thing. It can’t be rushed, and honestly why would you want to rush it? Part of the joy is the wait. If you don’t have that kind of time, cook for the first few hours on the pit then finish it off in the oven where the heat is more direct and consistent. It won’t be too much quicker though.

When it’s done bring it to your local Crossfit Gym opening and share with hungry athletes. Congratulations Clay and Sean on your new endeavor. I wish you two the best of luck!


Pecan Crusted Pork Chops

I’ve been wanting to use a new spice I bought recently and so this was a recipe I made up on a whim. After trying Chinese five spice I’m definitely going to use it more. It has a lot of great flavors that go great with pork and Fall. It seems spicy and sweet at the same time. Give it a try in this recipe here.

Pecan Crusted Pork Chops

Breading

1 cup pecans

1tsp salt

1 tsp red pepper

1/2 tsp Chinese five spice

Glaze

~1/2 cup of preserves (or mashed berries if you prefer)

~1 tbsp of soy sauce

~ 1tsp red pepper

~1tsp of Chinese five spice

In a small food processor or blender mix the ingredients for the “breading”. Using one beaten egg to coat the pork chops first. I only had two but the mix would be enough for 3 or 4 chops. After the egg, pat the chops down into the breading.

Place the breaded chops on a greased baking tray. Cook them on 350 for about 20 minutes (mine were very thin, cook for longer if you have thick chops) always check for doneness before eating.

While the chops cook heat up your glaze in a sauce pan. Cook on medium high heat for about 4 minutes while constantly stirring. Then reduce the heat to low until the chops are done.

I thought it was very tasty. T didn’t say a word and ate every bite. I’m going to assume this means it was a success. If you are totally paleo you can use some mashed berries in the glaze instead of preserves. Make sure to boil the fruit for a little longer to really reduce the liquids.


Rosemary Garlic marinade

This is just a quick marinade you can use for chicken or pork (or fish if you are so inclined). I used chicken legs and grilled it up.

Rosemary Garlic Marinade

2 sprigs of rosemary

5 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of white balsamic vinegar

Meat of choice

Marinate for a few hours. Don’t marinate this over night because of the vinegar.  Grill your meat.

Eat with a salad. It’s that easy.

These are my rosemary bushes and the dogs.

The bushes are two years old now, have survived quite a few hard freezes, and two long hot dry summers. (We are in a drought right now). They started as tiny plants and are huge now. I cut sprigs off of it whenever I have guests or want to cook with it. If you live in Texas you might want to consider planting rosemary. It’s really hardy and not easily killed (which is what I need because I kill everything).


Tangy Pork Chops

We are running low on staple foods right now so we are getting to that sad time in our fridge where inspiration and imagination take over. I came up with this marinade after putting together what was available. Excuse the sad looking limes, like I said it was the end of our groceries. This marinade is tangy and fresh tasting. I used it on some pork chops I cut from a pork loin. This would also taste good on chicken or shrimp.

Tangy Pork Chops

juice of two limes

4 garlic cloves

1.5″ of peeled ginger

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

meat of choice

In a food processor blend all the ingredients till smooth. Put meat in a zip top bag and add marinade.

Zip tightly and marinate in your fridge for up to 3 hours. Because of the acidity of this marinade I wouldn’t let it sit over night. What happens is it starts “cooking” the meat like in ceviche and you might end up with tough meat.

Grill meat and serve with a salad for a tangy, refreshing, summer time meal.