"Plain Vanilla Beef Jerky"

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by newburydave, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. OK, I don't mean Vanilla flavored jerky ;) .

    I may be a newbie; but that sounds like a stretch even to me.

    After making my second batch of jerky ever (my first from scratch) and indulging my taste for intense flavors I decided I'd like to do my next batch with minimal spice, hot stuff and strong flavorings to let the beef flavor come through. (DaveOmak's suggestion)

    So, if any of you would be kind enough to contribute your favorite minimalist Beef Jerky recipe for this effort I'd really appreciate it.

    Thank you

    Good providence and successful smoking to all.
  2. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    How about just plain beef with a bit of salt & pepper. That would give you a perfect base taste.
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yep... Salt, Pepper, fresh ground gives lots of heat but Cayenne gives a different sensation, get to 160° to kill bacteria that may have survived the Salt and smoke until crackling dry. All the rest is just Gilding the Lilly and to add variation. All the chemicals listed in your other thread are not needed, short of you making a Jerky that will sit in a jar at a Truckstop for years and be litigation proof in a food poisoning outbreak...I'm pretty sure Native Americans and the Old West Cowboys didn't have Erythorbate and Metabisulphites...[​IMG]...JJ
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'll tell you what, this recipe that I have been using lately is almost as simple as it gets. I can't keep enough of it in the house and all of my friends that have tried it keep asking for me to make more. The white pepper really adds a nice kick to it. From the fish sauce you get get all the salt you need. I do add some garlic powder into the mix now ,and sometimes chili pepper flakes. Good stuff!

  5. Thanks for the recipes guys. My bro-in-law swears by that Hard Root Beer, me I like Irish dark myself.

    I think I'm gonna' see how many recipes come in by the end of the week, then try a batch of each and see how they come out when I make 'em. (and this time I swear I'll stick to the recipes.... on the first go round [​IMG] )

    I'll write up the results as I go.

    Good providence and great smokin' to all.

  6. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good luck with your experiment.
  7. Hey AK1;

    It's more of a subjective attempt to find a personal baseline for adding spices than it is an experiment. As my wife constantly reminds me (retired Physics teacher), "cooking creates a mixture not a compound." Which I think means we're not doing chemistry here, just adding stuff to make it taste the way we like it. That's the way she cooks, every new something with her is a new experience.


    I'm doing my first trial of 1 pound of meat with your Thai-Jerky....approximately.  Here is the Marinade recipe I'm using:

    1 lb top round sliced across the grain @ 3/8 thick

    1/8 tsp 1# cure

    1/2 tsp Adolphs tenderizer

    1/4 tsp Liquid Hickory Smoke  (DaveOmak's suggestion since I don't have a smoker)

    2 Tbsp (fish sauce) Lea & Perins Worcheschester (I didn't recognize the brand you used from the bottle)

    1 Tbsp Kikoman Soy Sauce

    2 tsp Dark Brown Sugar

    Hot water to dissolve dry ingredients and make up 1 Cup of Marinade (in the Fridge to cool before I add the beef)

    It will probably be a little saltier than your recipe because of the salt in the cure and the Adolphs, but Adolphs also adds some sugar so maybe it'll even out.


    Beef's in the freezer right now before the final trimming and slicing before marinating.

    I plan to marinate for at least 8 hours before drying.

    Will advise on results.

    Thanks again for the ideas.
  8. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    So did you substitute Worcestershire for the fish sauce? Fish sauce and Worcestershire are two completely different things and have completely different flavor profiles. Fish sauce is an amber-coloured liquid extracted from the fermentation of fish with sea salt. Worcestershire is fermented and it does have anchovies in it but it also has barley malt vinegar, spirit vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind extract, onions, and garlic.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The recipe sounds good and will have a similar taste to many commercial jerkys but not quite result in a Beef forward flavor. While there is some Anchovy in Worcestershire it's flavor is indistinguishable from the heavily used herbs and spices. A quality Fish sauce, also made fro salt and anchovy, tastes fishy from the bottle but when mixed with other ingredients adds salt, Umami as a flavor enhancer, and little else flavor wise. Not a big deal but comparing the Thai recipe to above, the Thai recipe will leave the jerky with an enhanced but distinctly Beefy flavor and substituting Worcestershire will make " it " the dominant flavor. Good Fish Sauce is available at asian markets and on-line. A very good brand that is tasty out of the bottle and not too pungent or offensive to the nose, is Golden Boy Fish Sauce. It is very inexpensive as well...JJ

    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  10. Thanks for the correction on the Fish Sauce. I'll have to get some since it is important to this recipe and try it again with the correct ingredients.

    So I guess what I'm making is a bit of a shot in the dark.

    At the supermarket I tried to get them to cut it cross grain 3/8" thick slices thinking they would use the slicing machine. The butcher cut it freehand and got it closer to 1/2- 5/8 inch. So I sliced the strips into roughly square strips @ 3/8 by 3/8.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I've still got about a pound left for further experiments.  [​IMG]  
  11. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Dang! that's a scary looking baby!!!
  12. Hey guys;

    Late breaking news on my 'cobbled up' recipe variant to Dirtsailor's Thai-Jerky.

    I put the marinated beef strips (12 hours in the fridge) in my dehydrator at 1130 at 130deg for an hour.

    At 1230 I bumped the temp up to 145deg. The strips were nicely dried on the outside, becoming glossy on the surface.

    At 1330 I went to up the temp to 160deg and found that one smaller piece (a trimming) was done. Sooo...I took it as a sample.  [​IMG]

    The sample was like no other jerky I've ever tasted. I can see why you like this recipe so much. Even with my (ahem) adulteration it was excellent, I could see living on this stuff for an extended period 'if I had to'  [​IMG]

    The rest is still soft, probably because of the greater thickness than I am used to drying (heh, heh; third batch evah). It's only a pound of meat but I am still amazed at how quickly my Nesco FD-61 extracts water from the meat.

    More later on this recipe; but I already know that I'll be making it again..and again..and again....

    AK1, I'm gonna' do up my other pound of meat strips using your absolute minimalist recipe. I found a site on food safety and you're right, for years people just used salt, and or smoke, or vinegar. However, our medical name for Botulism comes from the old Roman Latin name for Sausage. (go figure)

    One way the 'experts' say to be absolutely sure that we home processors don't have any "uninvited guest colonies" in our dried meat is to take our dried jerky from the smoker/dehydrator and put them in the oven, preheated to 235deg, for 10 minutes. This is to be sure that the internal temp of the meat reaches 160deg.

    I'm thinkin' on that.

    (OBTW, A factoid I found in that site on food safety, the study they did on Nitrites/Nitrates in Meat found no link from them to cancer in humans when we follow the FDA guidelines. We get most of our dietary nitrates from green vegetables anyway, like x1000. Think about it, what's in garden fertilizer?)

    Okay, now that I've rocked the Vegan's world, guess I'll go annoy the wife.   [​IMG]

    Good Providence and great smokin'

  13. The batch is finished. I would have to say it is about the best Jerky I've ever tasted; but there is still that heavy spice aftertaste. Worschester sauce no doubt.

    Chef Jimmy J, thanks for your advice. I did a search for true Fish Sauce on Amazon.

    I'm going to order some "Golden Boy Fish Sauce" because you recommended it. I think I'll also try a bottle of "Red Boat Fish Sauce" based on the customer reviews.

    The Asian style hot pepper "flakes" that were linked to the fish sauce look interesting. I'm ordering a bottle of the "Hell Flakes". I'm also thinking about some "100% Habenero Flakes" and a powdered "Ghost Pepper" preparation by Volcanic peppers.

    Are these the kind of hot pepper flakes that several people on SMF have referred to in their posts?

    Thanks for all the advice, there's a lot to learn.

    Good providence and great smokin' all.

  14. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Red Boat is a great premium product used more as a condiment added to dishes at the table, kind of like a drizzle of high end EV Olive oil on Italian food. It is a little expensive for general cooking and it flavor nuances would be lost. I am thinking the Asian Pepper Flakes you are referring to, see below, are the Korean Flaked Chiles all chile pod and no seeds. They have a rich sweet earthy flavor with a warm, medium hot heat. Would be great in Jerky!  In 99% of recipes we are talking plain vanilla Red Pepper Flakes off the shelf like McCormick and on the table in Pizza joints. The other Chile Flakes you ordered will be MUCH hotter than the common Red Pepper Flakes listed in recipes. Enjoy...JJ

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
  15. JJ

    I saw those Pepper Flakes on Amazon; but those aren't the ones I'm considering, (though based on your description maybe I should) here are the links to the pepper products I mentioned:

    This is the one I've ordered.

    This is one I'm considering

      This is another that I'm considering. From some of the customer feedback it sounds like this one can be used for self defense.

    I'm starting another thread for my next batch of minimalist Jerky. Think I'll call it, ... um "USDA Paleo Jerky".  [​IMG]

    It's what our ancient ancestors really wanted.

    Good providence and great smokin' all.

  16. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Your choices will work Habanero has a fruity flavor but the others are beyond my heat tolerance. I like the Chile flavor with a bite on the tongue and mellow heat in the throat. When the heat overpowers the flavor, I have to stop...JJ 
  17. Makes sense to me. I usually use fresh Habenero in my cooking, either deveined and minced (double gloves for that) or else pureed in our Cuisinart. It adds flavor and dosen't burn the tip of your tongue. Most of Habenero sauce I find in the stores is so quenched with sugar and other additives it's got no heat to it.

    That's why the ones I found on Amazon looked good, pure dried Habenero. The Ghost Peppers were recomended to me; but I never saw them anywhere. I agree that heat witk no real flavor is useless. It almost seems like a competition more than cuisine.

    Do you have any experience with Ghost Peppers? It seems like an expensive experiment if it's just heat with no real flavor boost.

  18. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sorry Dave. Habs are as hot as my experience goes. I am a huge fan of Matouk's West Indian Habanero Sauce...JJ

  19. JJ;

    We all have our limits. Thanks for all the advice you have given. I'll let you know when I try the ghost peppers. The write up mentioned they are over 1,000,000 scovile units. Seems formidable.

    My USDA Paleo Jerky experiment is in th fridge marinating for @ 24 hrs, and the fish sauce is on order.

    Good providence.
  20. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Good luck with both...You have a Tougher tongue than me, my friend...JJ

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