Jerky has come a long way since we all started snapping into Slim Jims. What began as a novelty snack has become the darling of the Paleo world — minus the preservatives, MSG and artificial flavors, of course.
The best part is that all the bad ingredients that came out can be replaced with healthier, flavorful alternatives for a next-level snack that’s low in calories but packed with protein. We checked out Pamela Braun’s new book, “Jerky Everything” (out this Tuesday) for a few ideas, and had our minds blown by the variety of dried treats now at our fingertips.
The book’s subtitle isn’t “Foolproof and Flavorful Recipes for Beef, Pork, Poultry, Game, Fish, Fruit, and Even Vegetables” for nothing. Since it’s so delish right off the grill, pineapple jerky is officially on our list of summer food experiments.
You don’t even need to buy a dehydrator; for drying jerky, a gas, electric or convection oven will work just fine, Braun writes. Preheat to 200°F and place the meat or fruit strips on a cooling rack set on a baking sheet to better circulate air. Convection ovens take about 90 minutes; for gas or electric, start checking at 2.5 hours.
Jerky is ready when it looks dry, but bends it without snapping. If it does break, that means it’s too dried out — just stick it back into a new marinade and dry it again.
Among the over 120 recipes, there was definitely one that caught our attention. Sriracha sounds like just the spicy-sweet summery touch to elevate our on-the-go snack game.
“You’ll be pleasantly surprised that the heat from the sauce kind of disappears in this recipe, so even if you don’t do spicy, you can eat this jerky,” Braun writes. “If you want to add some heat to this, toss in some red pepper flakes. The flavor will blend better than if you added another type of hot sauce.”
We know what we’re taking for that weekend Adirondacks hike.