8 below zero this morning, which meant that my plans for a long snowshoe along the Continental Divide might need rethinking. So instead of subjecting my husband to hours of whining, I suggested a shorter trip and an afternoon making a couple of batches of beef jerky. (Historical note: the first year we were married, we spent a tortured three hours hunting for a Christmas tree when the temperature was 36 below. I think I whined and moaned and complained pretty much the whole time. Lesson learned.)
The day was sunny and it actually warmed up to about 10 degrees, so the trip we took up a gulch near town was just right. (I’ve included pictures at the end of the post.) The two batches of beef jerky are just about done, and the kitchen is full of the peppery, limey, beefy smell of perfectly spiced meat. These recipes are easy to make, and the jerky has always been a big favorite when we’ve shared it on backpacking and float trips. I think it makes a great Christmas present, too!
(By the way, these recipes are from Food and Wine Magazine. Pretty classy, eh?)
First, prepare the meat: Take 2 pounds of top or bottom round, about 1 1/2 inches thick, and cut it into 1/4 inch thick slices. Marinate the meat in the marinade that you choose to use for 6 to 8 hours. We marinated ours overnight, and marinated half in the Mexican Lime marinade and half in the Sweet and Spicy marinade.
Mexican Lime Marinade (for one pound of beef)
one large jalapeno
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 quart Mexican beer, such as Corona or Pacifico (well…we used Rainier, since we forget to buy the Mexican beer. Does that make the recipe Northwest Lime Marinade?)
1/4 cup soy sauce
Finely chop the jalapeno, including the seeds. Stir the ingredients together and pour over the meat.
Sweet and Spicy Marinade (for one pound of beef)
3/4 cup brewed strong coffee
3/4 cup Coca Cola
1 or 2 star anise pods
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup sambal oelek
In a saucepan, boil the coffee, Coke and star anise until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then add the remaining ingredients, stir, and pour over the meat.
To dry the meat: remove two of the racks from the oven, line the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil, and preheat to 200 degrees. Remove the beef from the marinade and dry with paper towels. (This step is really important! If you don’t pat the meat dry you’ll end up with a house full of smoke. And yes, this is the voice of experience talking.)
Arrange the beef directly on the oven racks, return them to the oven, and bake for about 4 hours until the jerky is firm and almost completely dry, but still chewy.
If you make this, let me know how it turns out, OK?
Finally, here are some pictures from our sunny, snowy day up Helena’s Dump Gulch:
second pic of forest is so light that I could seat there and just stare… 🙂
oh, and thanks for the receipes!
Thanks so much – and for checking out my other posts, as well! I appreciate it.
Reblogged this on Technicolby and commented:
Seems a little chilly! 😀
Wonderful pictures! I particularly like the last one, could be a greeting card!
Thanks. I did think that that would be a good picture to send as a card, but I’m too lazy to do that, I guess!
Beautiful photos, especially that last one with the snowy pine cone. I didn’t realize you could make beef jerky in the oven. I’d love to try this recipe. I’ve been wanting learn how but thought I needed a dehydrator. I’ll let you know if we try this.
Thanks, and yes, please let me know if you make it! Just make sure to pat the meat really dry or every smoke alarm in a 5 mile radius will be going off!
The jerky sounds fantastic!!! I’m so glad you found our blog. My Mom grew up in Great Falls and reading your blog makes me feel like she’s standing right next to me whispering some of her Rocky Mountain memories into my ear:)
That is so cool. I love finding seemingly random connections like this – connections that go all the way to Africa!
I couldn’t agree more. Serendipitous connections always feel a bit like magic, which is something we never outgrow:-)
Beautiful pictures!! I will have to try the Mexican Lime marinade for our next batch of jerky. It sounds amazing. By the way, I realized today that I didn’t have a link to your blog on Hot Mama Hikers. I’m not sure how that happened since I enjoy reading about your adventures so much 🙂 I have rectified the situation though and you are now up there! Happy Holidays – Znara
Well, thanks – I’m honored. Happy Holidays to you, as well.
Those are some gorgeous photos! I was feeling proud of myself for getting up these past two mornings and running when it was 28 degrees, but now I feel like a wimp after reading about your -10 and -36 degrees!
I don’t think that you’re in any danger of being a wimp! Thanks, though!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it is awesomely beautiful where you live.
I agree, it is. I was just thinking that again today.
Thanks for dropping by my blog! I’ve been meaning to check out yours for awhile, and I’m glad I finally did. The photos are awesome! Snow is so pretty on trees…I forget how much I like it when it’s somewhere other than under my tires!
Thanks, Kristine. Yes, snow is fine when it’s not on the roads, isn’t it?
Looks like a lovely day in an idyllic place, even with the fog/smog.
Yes, it was.