Food Truck Friday: Another Experiment Pt. 4

It has been almost two weeks now since M and I started our Paleo reset. We have tried lots of new foods this week. Lamb, bison, sugar-free bacon, turnips, parsnips, and eggplant were all on the menu. Parsnips have a bit of a bit to them. M was not a big fan of the lamb and I didn’t care for the eggplant. I think if we season lamb differently she might come around. It might take me some time to get used to the eggplant, the texture was a little too chewy for me. I made our own beef jerky today. I will go more into that in a moment.

As far as how I am feeling: this week was a little rougher than last week. I found myself feeling exhausted after work and most days I didn’t seem to eat enough food. I would eat until I was full at each meal. However, I found myself feeling famished half-way between meals. Today I finally started feeling back on track and I had a lot more energy. I didn’t have any sugar cravings this week, but I did want a cheeseburger and fries after work on Thursday.

M said she has been really missing some of her food habits such as beer, popcorn and coffee (even though coffee is paleo-friendly she gave it up because of other reasons for these few weeks). Yet, this reset is making her feel healthier, her skin looks better, and never wants to eat prepackaged foods with their lack of nutrients and hidden sugars again. Also, fruits and dates are more than enough to satisfy her sweet tooth.

Okay, now for the beef jerky. This was my first attempt at making jerky and I dried it in the oven since we don’t own a food dehydrator. I have to say, it turned out pretty tasty. M totally agrees. It ended up with a little bite to it but not too spicy. I did a few google searches for paleo jerky and found several different recipes. I took two different recipes and made them into one of my own.

What you need:

 3 lbs flank steak - grass-fed and finished trimmed of any visible fat
 1 tbsp. sea salt
 1 tbsp. fresh ground black pepper
 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
 1/2 tbsp. onion powder
 1/2 tsp paprika
 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
 2/3 cup coconut aminos
 1/3 cup hot water
 Aluminum foil
 3 oven safe baking racks
 3 baking sheets
 1 gallon plastic bag
 Small bowl
 Cutting board
 Sharp knife

How to do it:

  1. Pull the meat from the freezer and let it defrost for about 2-3 hours. If it is not frozen, freeze it for about 30 minutes. It will cut easier if it is slightly frozen.
  2. Cut the meat into thin strips, about 1/4 inch thick. Be sure to cut against the grain. You might have to cut the larger piece of meat into smaller sections if the grain changes directions.
  3. Put the meat in a one gallon zip lock bag.
  4. In a bowl add the coconut aminos and all the spices. Mix well and slowly add the hot water as you continue to stir.
  5. Pour the marinade into the bag. Seal and shake until the meat looks evenly coated. Put the bag on a plate or a rimmed dish and refrigerate over night.
  6. Pre-heat the oven on the lowest possible temperature. Ours is 200, but yours might be 175. Place the oven racks on the top two shelves. I cooked two trays at a time and switched the shelves the meat was on when I turned the meat over.
  7. Cover a baking sheets with aluminum foil and place a wire cooking rack on each sheet.
  8. Line the meat on the wire racks, be sure the pieces do not touch each other. With the oven door propped open about 4 inches, dry the meat 4 to 6 hours, turning once or twice to dry uniformly.
  9. Remove from the oven and cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Hints:

Propping the oven door open helps the moisture escape the oven. Remember you are drying the meat. If you had a stand fan handy you can put it to one side of the over door and place it to blow diagonally across the oven to help move the moisture off the meat. A convection oven does the same thing. We didn’t have either so checked the meat every 30 minutes after 4 hours and removed the meat that was dry. It should feel crispy but still be a little chewy when you bite into it. Since I ended up with 3 trays of meat, I kept one in the fridge while the other two where in the oven. Once I had enough dried meat, I transfer all the meat to one tray and placed it on the top shelf. I pulled the last shelf from the fridge placed it on the second shelf until the other meat was dry. Finish drying the meat on the top shelf.

The most confusing thing I found with the different recipes was the variation in drying times. One recipe called for 6-12 hours and the meat was sliced super thin and another recipe called for 2.5 – 3 hours and the jerky was slightly thicker. I had a hard time keeping the jerky cut the same thickness so I decided to cook the jerky for 2 hours then turned the meat over and cooked it for another two hours. The thinner you slice the meat the less time it need to dry,

I used a chef knife to slice the meat, but a carving knife might do well too. Just don’t use a bread knife ( carving knives teeth aren’t as big as a bread knifes.) Start with the tip of the chef knife pointed down and hold the knife at a 45 degree angle as slice. You are slicing it not sawing it.

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