Jerky

The first batch

Here is the first batch of beef jerky made with my new dehydrator…delicious.

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Horse meat? Meh…how about Giraffe

With all the fuss in Europe over a bit of tasty horse meat you could forgiven for thinking this is a problem.

In South Africa they have found out that they have been eating donkey and water buffalo burgers instead of beef.

Research released this week found that donkey, water buffalo and other unconventional ingredients had been found in almost two-thirds of hamburgers and sausages tested in Africa’s largest economy.

But 4 years ago it wasn’t just donkey and buffalo.  Read more »

Like Greek yogurt for men

If you are on a low carb diet finding things to snack on is problematic. Beef Jerky is one such option, though I prefer biltong and living in East Auckland no shortage of places to get it.

The Wall Street Journal has an article about the growth of jerky as a product:

For consumers with a serious fitness schedule, protein is a magical weapon in the constant drive to stave off hunger and avoid too many carbs. The protein content in a one-ounce serving of jerky approaches that of some protein bars. Many jerky manufacturers also emphasize the “natural” and “guilt free” bona fides of an all-meat snack.

Representatives of Krave jerky, based in Sonoma, Calif., often hand out samples to marathon competitors. “When they cross the finish line, it’s, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so hungry, this little granola bar won’t cut it,’ ” says company spokeswoman Katie Tessitore. “That’s one of the most powerful moments for us.”

Link Snacks is aiming its Big Dippers products line for the lunchbox crowd.

Sales of jerky rose 13.6% to $760.2 million for the year ended Aug. 12, according to SymphonyIRI Group, a Chicago market-research firm. That follows several years of growth, including a 13.4% sales rise in 2011.

Whether they are looking to build muscle or slim down, consumers are exhibiting a growing appetite for protein-rich snacks. In a 2010 survey of 2,000 consumers, 38% said they “always or usually choose foods or beverages because they are high in protein,” compared with 22% in 2002, according to HealthFocus International, a St. Petersburg, Fla., food market-research firm.

Meat jerky “is like Greek yogurt for men,” says Lu Ann Williams, head of research for Innova Market Insights, based in the Netherlands.

Apparently though there are some girly men afraid to eat jerky…I mean really?

A serious hurdle, though, stands in the way of jerky’s upward sales trajectory. “We call it jerky shame,” says Tom Ennis, chief executive of Oberto Brands, of Kent, Wash., which has relaunched its jerky line with seven “all natural” products, including Hickory Beef and Spicy Sweet.

Some male consumers have told the company they are embarrassed to eat jerky in front of their girlfriends. “There’s just this nasty perception out there” of jerky as loaded with salt, preservatives and all sorts of artificial ingredients, Mr. Ennis says.

5 Most Common Game Cooking Mistakes

ᔄ American Hunter

Now that I am regularly shooting tasty animals it is important not to wreck the meat, either in preparation or in the cooking. American Hunter Magazine outline the 5 most common mistakes:

1. Not Aging the Game First
Unlike domestic animals, wild ones have a rich, variable flavor, because they are often older at death, exercise freely and enjoy a mixed diet. The wild flavors that result from cooking these animals are often described as “gamy.” In Old World Europe, game was hung until it began to rot—a treatment they called mortification—which not only tenderized the meat but heightened the wild, gamy flavor even further.

2. Not Brining or Marinating the Game First
Brining is an old-fashioned technique that involves soaking meat or poultry in a flavorful saltwater solution to enhance its moisture and taste. The proper ratio is 2 tablespoons of salt to 4 cups of water. It is especially good with breast meat and other lean cuts like the loin.

3. Overcooking the Game
The surest way to turn someone off of wild-game to serve it to them overcooked. Because there is less fat in wild animals, the moisture evaporates quickly in the pan, drying out the meat, turning it gray and giving it that “gamy” flavor. White-meat upland birds should not be served rare, but can have a blush of pink in them. The wild ones will be more muscular and will dry out more quickly, so you need to tend to them while they are cooking—basting them, poaching them, doting on them until the very last second.

Dark-meat birds, such as ducks, and red meat game animals like venison must be served no more than medium-rare. Serving it rare is even better. There is no use in eating it otherwise.

4. Cooking it the Wrong Way
In the world of chefs, meat is categorized into first, second and third category cuts. The first category is the leanest and most naturally tender, like the tenderloin. The third category is the toughest, like a shoulder. The cooking method used to cook these cuts varies greatly and is crucial to making the final dish successful. The first category—the loin—must be quickly seared and served.  The third category should be braised in liquid over many hours until the collagen breaks down.

5. Overcompensating
Sometimes we do too much to a dish, when the ingredients should be allowed to speak for themselves. We smother it in cream of mushroom soup or wrap it with jalapeños, cream cheese and bacon—dominating the star of the show.

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