Suitcase Kitchen, Ep 1: Beef Jerky – A Love Story

This is a repost, but the message is the same and now we have video!!  Enjoy Prince, the meats and my stupid humor.

Well, my wife (“Mertle”), in a kind and thoughtful gesture, bought me a food dehydrator (“& Jerky Maker” which, we’ll call “Jerri” for this exercise).  Little did Mertle know, this would be her undoing.

In an elaborate fantasy chain, I’ve courted Jerri over the course of mutiple dates, introduced her to my parents, celebrated the holidays with her family (envision that?!), moved in together, rescued a dog and asked for, uh, hand in marriage.  Needless to say, I’m in love; the feeling is mutual; and, we plan to spend the rest of our lives together.

In reality land, I’m walking a fine line of bringing Jerri to bed with Mertle and I.  Seriously. I LOVE THIS THING.

In an unscientific search of The Google, the first jerky recipe I came across was from Alton Brown (@altonbrown). You gotta respect a guy that is so committed to Jerky (yes, it’s a proper noun) that he’d publish a recipe using HVAC filters, bungee cords and a box fan.  In any event, I’ve used his recipe across 4 (this list will likely update] different cuts of beef:

Flank steak, 5 hours of drying at 165
Brisket, 12 hours of drying at 135
Pot Roast, 12 hours of drying at 135
London Broil, 12 hours of drying at 135
Strip Steak, 12 hours of drying at 135

The current winner?  ALL OF THEM; Here are some caveats:

I don’t mind fattier jerky. Pot roast is always on sale it seems and even though it’s fatty, I didn’t find I needed to cut with the grain. All cutting worked and it came great.
Pot Roast requires the most prep, next to brisket due to the fat.
Flank was the first attempt and, it was probably the most consistent and easy to slice
London broil is lean and usually on sale – best bang for the buck.
Oddly, the brisket came more salty than the other cuts of meat.  If this has something to do with the fat content, you’d bet on the pot roast, by the look of it, being the saltiest.  Not true, I say.
What’s next?  Flank steak again, at 12 hours of drying.
Otherwise, I’ve used the same recipe each time. Marinated for ~4hrs.

Girfriends, fiances, wives, mothers, aunts, sisters…It may be months away from the holidays; but, give a man you love the most special and selfless gift: A Jerky Maker.

Any suggestions?


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We are busy. We are overbooked. We are traveling. We are unmotivated. We are tired. We are agitated. We are unproductive. We are overweight. We are unhappy. We are why. I'm a pharmacist, I travel regionally for work and have been all of these things. What elevates me from these emotional ditches? Good health. My nearly 100 year-old Italian grandmother "Nana" said a long time ago: "If you don't have your health, you don't have nothing." Considering she still rakes leaves and gives me hell for, well, just about everything, I think she's pretty damn sharp and fit. On the other end of the spectrum: My dad died at 65 from a heart attack. He was a diabetic, a previous smoker, a recovered drug addict, a food addict, hypertensive, arthritic, immobile nearing amputation and, simply, wasn't living. For all intensive purposes, I'm fit and healthy. Armed with degrees in biology and pharmacy (read: loans) and these two family stories, you'd think staying on track is easy. Newsflash: it's not. Traveling / Working / Fathering / Mothering / fill-in-the-blanking are obstacles we all have to overcome. So, how do we do it? Suitcase Fitness was born from the hope that by sharing my small health and fitness victories while traveling, others may be inspired to find new ways to stay engaged with their health. My vision is that others will use this venue to share their "baggage" and small steps taken to overcome health challenges. I get by with a little help from my friends. - The Beetles The things that last, never happen overnight. - Slaves

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