Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday the highways were empty for working commuters, and life seemed to be a little less hectic! Boy, time sure flies when you’re having fun. Summer is taking leave and fall will surely be upon us. In the meantime, parents are dealing with all the activities kids going back to school encumber. From early morning chores, to football, volleyball, Cub Scouts, 4-H, and a host of other activities, parents will find themselves running ragged and searching for quick easy ways to feed the bottomless pits that are the fruit of their loins. Then you throw in a complicated thing like worrying about federal mandated school lunch intricacies of the Health, Hunger Free-Kids Act, and now you have to worry if your kids are getting enough protein to make it through their ever increasing frenzied life. Well, have no fear….Certified Hereford Beef® is here!! (I really shouldn’t say that out loud as I type, because people always look at me funny.)
Actually, turning to beef is a great way to ensure that both children and adults get the protein they need to keep their bodies going through the long hectic days of school and work. One of the easiest ways is to snack on beef jerky. It is a great healthy alternative, and if you learn to make it for yourself like I did, then it can be a fun family bonding activity. I’ll walk you through the process, but remember samples of excellent product are always appreciated. I searched the internet and found a superabundance of easy to use recipes. I found this one off of WikiHow and posted it to our Pinterest board, CHB® Beef Jerky recipe. It was super easy for this single bachelor to follow. (Meaning even I could do it without calling for help.)
The recipe I used was broken into two parts. The first part was preparing the jerky and the second part was how to cook and store the jerky. Selecting the cut of meat is the first step of preparation and the link suggests lean cuts like top round, sirloin, or flank steak. However, there are whole bunches more choices of lean beef and you can find some at this link- http://www.txbeef.org/healthy_living/live_heart_healthy. Try experimenting and find out what suits you and you family’s taste buds. For me, it was the sirloin. I found it was easy to trim and marinate. As far as marinade, the sky is the limit! Get crazy, have a thing for chipotle or mango habanero salsa then experiment to your hearts content. It’s your jerky, right? After you’ve trimmed the fat and marinated which takes about 10-24 hours in the refrigerator, then you want to coat the beef in seasonings. I chose to use a South Texas favorite with Bolner’s Fiesta Seasoning. I went with their fajita, carne guisada, and just a dash of cayenne (because some like it hot) to give it a spicy, rich flavor. If you can’t find Bolner’s in your grocery store checkout their site- https://www.fiestaspices.com/index.asp.
The second part is cooking and storing your beef jerky. I don’t have a food dehydrator. (Hint hint Christmas is coming) You don’t have to have one, either, although they aren’t as high priced as they used to be. You can do what I did and space your meat on a vegetable griller with room for it to breathe, and dry it in the oven. Hint, if your marinade was like mine, then place a glass baking pan under to catch the excess that runs off as the meet dries. (Next blog…how to clean your oven if you don’t catch the marinade) Follow the Wiki directions and set the temperature to 165 degrees F, and cook for 1-3 hours. The types of beef cut you choose will vary the drying out time. Be sure to check after ninety minutes and follow up every thirty minutes until ready. After that just place it in something that seals good like glass jars or vacuum seal. The jerky should last about two weeks. But, if your house was as busy as mine growing up I doubt it lasts two weeks.
See- it wasn’t hard, right? You’ve made a nutritious lean high-protein snack that will give your children and yourself energy to take on the toughest of days and the longest of nights! Plus, it can be a family activity that gives the gift of giving. Time spent with the ones you love is the best gift you can ever give!
We wish best of success to all our hard working teachers, parents, and kids as they begin a new year of adventure in learning.
You can also find the CHB® Beef Jerky recipe on our Pinterest board. Tweet #HerefordBeef your #FirstDayofSchool picture.