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Book Review: Jerky

August/September 2018 Issue
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The Fatted Calf’s Guide to Preserving & Cooking Dried Meaty Goods
By Taylor Boetticher & Toponia Miller
(Ten Speed Press; $22)

No camping trip is complete without a stash of jerky. When you’ve been trekking for hours, nothing hits the spot like chewy, beefy, salty-sweet protein. Now that hiking season is upon us, why not try your hand at the centuries-old craft of drying meat? Not only does making your own reward you with the unparalleled experience of eating warm, melt-in-your mouth jerky fresh from the smoker, but it also gives you complete control. You get to select the meat you love, slice it just so, season it your way, and choose the ideal drying method.

Ready to give it a try? Then get your hands on this smokin’ little book by the founders of San Francisco’s Fatted Calf Charcuterie, Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller, two of jerky’s biggest fans. In the book, the authors walk you through every step of the jerky-making process and share 40 easy recipes, each more mouth-watering than the next. You might begin with a classic version, such as their wildly popular signature recipe, Bourbon and Molasses Smoked Beef Jerky, or—even easier—with the ultimate old-school version, Meat + Salt + Sun, which is, indeed, dried in the sun. Then, perhaps, work your way through some international iterations, like Porchetta Cracklin’ (Italy), Lemongrass Beef (Vietnam), and Cecina Adobada (Mexico), to name a few. As far as preserving goes, jerky’s about as easy as it gets, which came to me as a huge surprise. No special equipment is required—you need only your ingredients and your oven.

Don’t Miss: Fluffy Pork. This version of the Chinese specialty called pork floss, or rousong, is first braised in soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and aromatics. Then, it’s finely shredded and dehydrated on the stovetop in a wok or skillet. The resulting fluffy pork is a melt-in-your-mouth marvel.

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