Chef's Blog

December 1, 2017

Messin’ with Jerky

from Chef Logan McCoy

From the bar menu to an ideal on-the-go snack, jerky is joining the conversation as one of the biggest competitors to go against potato chips and the snacking industry. Jerky is hitting the shelves, menus, televisions and dehydrators at a notable rate, and for very good reason— it is salty, crave-able, and flavorful.

As many trends predicted, consumers are pushing back and limiting the amount of carbohydrates incorporated into their diets. They’re counting calories and total fat percentages instead of relying on balanced macronutrients – molecules in our bodies that create energy for themselves through proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Subsequently, this trend causes an immediate hike in consumers favoring diets high in protein. This has led to a resurgence of jerky and dried sausage sticks, which are generally low in calories and fat. Typically, jerky is made from lean to very lean cuts of beef. Other health benefits include high level of zinc and iron (good for the blood). Some even contain Omega-3’s.

Diners are increasingly mindful about what they eat on a daily basis, and are interested in knowing more about the food they eat and the origins of its ingredients. Many jerky companies today have multiple call-outs on their packaging: organic, grass-fed, clean label, natural, good source of protein, and paleo-friendly.

For restaurants and bars this is the perfect bar snack, appetizer complement, or a simple addition to the charcuterie board. What Chefs love most about jerky is that it can be flavored easily and tailored to the menu theme or chef’s taste. Since most manufactured jerky comes in only a few flavors and varieties and can be heavily salted, Chefs are taking a more artisanal approach and infusing modern, trend-forward flavor combinations that play well on the palate yet still keep that sense of flavor authenticity.

For our jerky we made three types: plain, smoky ancho and fire roasted poblano. In our approach we marinated one-third of the sliced beef (eye of round) with Minor’s Ancho Flavor Concentrate, the other third with Minor’s Fire-Roasted Poblano Flavor Concentrate and the third was plain. After the beef marinated overnight, we evenly layered beef strips on dehydrator trays and then placed in the dehydrator at 155-degrees F for 4-6 hours. Once the meat dried, we removed the trays and allowed to cool to room temperature (store leftover jerky in an airtight container with lid).

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