From Sue Suenishi
RdC: A few weeks ago, a couple of bags of beef jerky arrived in the mail from Sid and Sue Suenishi, both from the wet side of Hawai`i island but now living in Selah, Washington. We ripped open one of the bags and started chowing…oooooh, dis jerky is so `ono and tender! How come? I thought beef jerky was supposed to be chewy? Da kine I bring back from Long’s Drugstore in Hilo last forever. I can stick a wad in my mouth when I get in my car and leave the house, sucking to soften up and release all the delicious flavors, and still be munching on it when I reach school, twenty minutes later. Sometimes my bag of treats slides under the car seat and I forget about it for a couple of months. When, to my surprise it slides back out again, I open up the jerky and pop another piece in my mouth. It’s like time stood still. Same taste, same texture, same chewing time. So Sue’s jerky was a new experience and quick I fired off an email to her for the recipe. And found out the secret to its softness. Here’s her story:
Sue: I saw a ground beef jerky maker in Bi-mart and decided to try making ground beef jerky (ah, ground beef!) I didn’t buy the jerky maker, which is like a cookie gun and makes one strip at a time, so then I learned that while making ground beef jerky is very easy, it is also very time consuming. It’s the rolling and cutting that takes the longest time. It’s like rolling out a pie crust into a rectangle and then cutting it into strips. It takes me 2 1/2 to 3 hours just to roll and cut and then I have to cut with scissors. The knife will not cut through the meat fiber so you have to use the scissors to cut through, and then pick up the pieces very carefully with a turner so it doesn't fall apart on you. So here's the recipe for Ground Beef Jerky for those of you who want to spend the time.
4 lbs extra lean ground beef
Mix all together and refrigerate for about 24 hrs. Roll out to desired thickness – I roll mine out to ¼” thick and cut to whatever size you want. Dehydrate in a dehydrator for about 13 hours according to thickness. I dry mine for 11 to 13 hrs. Again, it depends how dry you want it. Then I cut each piece with a scissors because a knife will not cut through completely. It’s very time consuming but good, and easy on the teeth of the elderly.
RdC: Then I asked Sue if she made jerky with regular meat and here’s what she told me:
Sue: I have made jerky with regular meat. Same way except slice the meat thin then soak. Which cut? Bottom round is cheap. Even better is bottom round roast. Slice thin and soak, then dry. You can sun-dry during the hot weather. Yeah, maybe in Selah but not in Seattle! I have even dried sliced ham in the sun - no need to soak. Just slice and dry. Again, length of time to dry is according to thickness. You can also use rump roast. I have made salmon jerky which tastes really good but falls apart. And the problem is salmon is far too expensive unless you catch your own. One pound of meat makes only ¼ pound of jerky.
Thanks Sue! For those of us without a dehydrator, a beef jerky recipe in an old island cookbook says to place marinated ¼” meat strips flat on a rack over foil and bake in 150º oven for 3 hours.
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