Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mild Teriyaki Beef Jerky

Mild teriyaki beef jerky is intended to be great tasting and is catered to those who prefer to stay away from the spicier jerkys. Typically mild jerky will be measured and sold by the pound or in a few to several ounce vacuum sealed or regular plastic bags. Depending on where you order you can find them in full pounds, half pound, quarter pound etc. If you're not sure of the jerky because it's a new flavour to you, see if you can find it in small sample sizes. For example, on Jerky Works, they currently sell snack size 1 oz. Luau Louie's Mild Teriyaki for $2.90 and they sell in bulk all the way up to 40 snack strips. Luau Louie's is their best seller, so obviously I'm not the only one obsessed with teriyaki flavored jerky! This particular brand is the thick Jerky Hut which targets a sweeter Hawaiin tropical taste and is a more tender strip. I prefer sweeter jerkys and Luau Louie's fits that bill for me. Ingredients included are brown sugar, teriyaki sauce (of course), high fructose corn syrup, and corn syrup solids. Choo Choo R Snacks has a mild teriyaki jerky called Buffalo Bill's Premium Teriyaki. Please do not confuse them with Hot or Habanaro. They're sold in 12 packs, 6 packs, and 50 packs of 1 oz. foil packets, so the pieces, while of medium thickness, are short. Choo Choo's is a well known brand and gets good reviews by major cooking magazines, cooking websites, blogs, and outdoorsmen hunting and camping magazines. Choo Choo takes pride in offering jerky for those on Atkins, South Beach, and NutriSystem diets. Buffalo Bill's Premium Teriyaki's single packet is a serving size of 28 g or 1 oz and contains 6 grams of carbs, which is in line with their other brands. A single pack contains 80 calories, 520 MG of sodium, 14 g of protein, 2 g of fat, and 4 g of sugar. This jerky has excellent reviews for taste, even while the teriyaki flavor is lighter (if you're a diehard teriyaki fan, you'll find stronger flavoring of it in other brands). It's got a smoky aroma and is not too salty. Also this jerky is not tendon or fat heavy. Oh, they also have a shredded Teriyaki Beef Chew, which is in a chewing tob.baco-like can. You can get 12 44 oz. cans for $12.99. This one placed top 4 for U.S. beef jerky in Backpacker magazine. This taste is also considered mild. Also, Buffalo Bill's has what are called Jerky Shots, which are 14 oz. tariyaki beef circles (80 per bag). You'll find a bag of these for about $16.99-$20.00 and each circle is about the size of a silver dollar. They boast only 1 carb and 15 calories per piece and are also available in original and peppered flavors.

Another mild brand is the Divine Bovine Honey Teriyaki Beef Jerky. I love honey jerky! Divine Bovine sells this in a 4oz pack, 2 4oz packs, or 4 4oz packs (1 lb). This choice "brisket of beef" has a lighter teriyaki flavor as well, and even contains what they describe as an herbal taste. Some of the ingredients include beef brisket, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, wine, lemon juice, honey, and Worcestershire sauce. I have a problem with that last one. Worchestershire sauce=anchovies, but to each his own. Divine Bovine specializes in brisket of beef because it's a more tender cut. Their beef is hormone-free and without nitrates. Nor is there added preservatives or MSG. This mild jerky is very sweet and very easy to chew. There is not much of a smoked flavor, but what do you expect with a honey jerky? Divine also ages this jerky for 30 days and marinates it for 24 hours. I also came across this Original "Mild" Stonewall's Jerquee by Lumen Foods. Now they offer a beef teriyaki flavor but actually this is a vegetarian jerky. This is an animal free beef substitute so there are fewer nitrates, growth hormones, and antibiotics. I don't know why, but I love the old guy on the package of this one. These are sold in 1.5 oz bags (inexpensive), in single packs, 8 packs, 64 packs, 5 lb. bulk bags. Again, be careful not to grab the "Wild" instead of the "Mild", as the former is spicy. Oh, in case you're wondering the beef substitute is soy flour. Papa Dan's has a sweet/tart mild Teriyaki/Lime Beef Jerky as well as regular Teriyaki Beef Jerky. Lime Beef obviously has a lime taste and he adds mild seasoning as well. They sell a single 8 oz. pack or a double pack. These juicy strips are vacuum packed and made in the U.S.A. Papa Dan uses thick USDA choice sirloin beef steaks and marinates his jerky for up to 18 hours. I have not tried this jerky and have not read any reviews on it, so stay tuned for more information. Okay, so there are other styles of mild teriyaki jerky but I better cut this off for now. Oh, and if you do mistakenly order the hot teriyaki flavors by accident, feel free to send them my way :)

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Teriyaki Beef Jerky

Welcome to Teriyaki Beef Jerky. If you're anything like me, you love the taste of teriyaki and teriyaki flavored jerky. As you may know, teriyaki is a Japanese cuisine cooking style in which the meat is grilled or broiled into a tare marinade sauce. It's a common cooking style in Japan. Many beef jerky manufacturers provide this as a flavor to dehydrated jerky. The work teriyaki actually is made up of teri, a noun meaning the luster shine given from the sugar content in the yaki, which is the cooking method. What makes teriyaki so delicious is that the beef is brushed and glazed several times during cooking. Teriyaki beef jerky can actually have multiple flavors and ingredients including ginger, onion, soy sauce, lime, sake, brown sugar, maple syrup, pineapple, shiitake, honey, sugar, salts, mirin, sesame, and more. For the dehydrating process many include teriyaki sauces such as soy sauce, Kikkoman marinades including lower sodium, basted glaze, and roasted garlic, Lawry's marinade teriyaki, World Harbor's teriyaki, Sable and Rosenfeld Tipsy (comes in a sleek little bottle), Barefoot Contessa Maple, Stonewall Kitchen Garlic, Roland Fusion, shrimp teriyaki, teriyaki chicken, barbecued beef bulgogi, and many other brands and types. You can also purchase packet teriyakis as well...er maybe I should word that better, teriyaki sauce mixes. If you have an Asian grocery store or market you should find many great teriyaki brands. Also ask what they would recommend for beef jerky specifically. Many make their own sauces for their jerky to get the perfect flavor but if you don't have the time to cook, grab a beef complimenting marinade.

I've talked a little about teriyaki marinades but now I'll say some more about the beef jerky itself, because let's face if the beef jerky texture has to be right, or the sauce will only be covering an ingrediental disaster. To make sure we're on the right page, jerky is the beef strips that have been cut, typically not the fattier meat strips as fat does not dry. There's many different ways of cooking beef jerky. It can be salted, marinated, baked, sun-dried, and dehydrated. Jerky is mostly a snack, nobody I know eats beef jerky for dinner. It can be great for hiking, camping and exercising, though be careful of dehydrating when active by eating too much salty jerky! Btw, astronauts love beef jerky! If dried and salted properly, beef jerky doesn't need refrigerated. The drying process into beef jerky goes back to ancient times because it was simply the best and easiest way of preserving meat. Jerky could be dried around a camp fire, and as a bonus, smoke fired meat also kept insects away. Modern commercial jerky ovens are designed to get the moisture out of the ovens with insulated panels. Kitchen jerky dehydrators obviously are not that advanced, but they get the job done. Raw beef strips are sprayed with oil or lathered with teriyaki marinade, placed into a tray and are dried in the oven. Many will automatically rotate the beef strips for you. Salting the beef in usually done afterwards but brushing on the teriyaki sauces can be done while the meat is drying (though check the specific recipe and of course your dehydrators owners manual before). Organic teriyaki beef jerky is also becoming more common. Organic means that the quality of meats are better because they are more natural. The strips of meat are from cows that were not fed animal parts or byproducts or injected with hormone enhancements. (the more I read about organic foods, the more I feel like I should be eating them). They also don't have preservatives, artificial flavors, MSG or erythorbates (I had to look up that last one ha ha). Many jerky makers don't specifically advertise Organic Teriyaki Beef Jerky but many of them do use organic meats. Some jerky websites have a page dedicated to how they feed their cows or where their meat supply is from. As with most organic foods, organic beef jerky typically costs little more (but not always!). Most jerky is vacuum wrapped in plastic though some places ship in cases where they are in plastic bags. Beef jerky is typically high in protein but be aware that salted jerky is also high in sodium. Many prefer whole-muscle meat beef jerky to processed meat beef jerky. Whole-muscle meat is the traditional style of jerky in strips. Processed meat beef jerky is, well... processed. The best example I can give is "Slim Jim". It is log-shaped compressed meat. Both kinds are widely available in grocery stores or gas stations here in the United States. ADD moment: Biltong is a thicker 17th century South African beef jerky strip that is still sold today.

It takes practice to make the perfect beef jerky strip so I stick to buying ha ha, at least for now. Some sites offer wholesale prices and some jerky companies offer distributorships. Once I know a jerky is good, I don't mind buying it in bulk, as I know it'll keep. The best jerky is not too brittle. If it's easy to snap it's probably a little too dry, but that's up to personal taste. Flavor is just as important to me, which is why I like teriyaki beef jerky. I love the Oriental-style flavors and just like with Chinese food, no two recipes are the same. You definitely can't say once you've tried one teriyaki beef stick, you've had them all. Branding is not a big deal to me when it comes to jerky. I don't care if a company spends millions, if the jerky tastes bad, I don't want it. I do like to comparison shop price-wise and see what different flavors and meats are available. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith by buying the smallest amount that a company offers. Some companies will even send you free samples if they think you'll buy in bulk or give them repeat business. Again, there are many different flavors and people are dehydrating anything with legs (and some without legs). I haven't tried any meats that are too exotic yet and I don't want anything to do with fish jerky or aquatic jerky ha ha. I'll end this post for now but I'll continue to post about teriyaki beef jerky recipes, equipment, flavors, processes, etc.