Dry meat is widely used in Brazilian cuisine and gives a unique flavor to the most varied dishes, such as feijoada, escondidinho, among others. However, despite being quite popular, not all people risk making it at home. But is it really that difficult to prepare? After all, what is jerky? What are its particularities and how should it be prepared? Below you can find the answers to all these questions!
Antonio Filho, chef at LC Restaurantes, a collective meal company, explains, first of all, that talking about dried meat is talking about one of the oldest conservation processes, used from primitive peoples to the present day. “It consists of almost total dehydration of meat, usually beef”, he says.
For this, explains the chef, a large amount of salt is used under the meat blankets, which are stored in dry and ventilated places. “After 24 hours of salting, the position of the meat is changed to help with the efficiency of the process. After the operation, the meats must be taken to dry hanging in an acclimatized room for the finalization of the drying process that lasts from 5 to 7 days”, he highlights.
Antonio Filho comments that, in the past, this process was done by hand in the open air, which is not allowed these days for health reasons.
Dry meat x dried meat x jerked beef
A common question is the difference between dried meat, dried meat and jerked beef. Antonio Filho explains that the three meats go through the same conservation process, however, with some peculiar characteristics, which brings differences in terms of texture, percentage of moisture, color and aroma.
Carne-de-sol: “also known as carne do vento and carne do sertão, it is widely produced in the North and Northeast regions of Brazil. The salt used in salting is in a smaller amount and can be applied in a maximum of two saltings, a process that guarantees a redder meat, soft texture and more juiciness. It does not require desalting or hydration for final consumption”, explains the chef.
Dry meat: in the case of jerky, the process takes a greater amount of salt, so that dehydration is more efficient. “The process takes an average of 7 days for the meat blankets to dry completely. Its meat is very dry with minimal moisture and its color gives it an intense reddish color. It needs hydration for desalting before consumption”, highlights the chef.
Charque: originated in southern Brazil. “For its drying, a large amount of salt is used, even the addition of chemical elements in the industrial process that help to accelerate the curing and conservation of the meat. The blankets are salted, pressed and rest in the salt for approximately 7 days until they are ready for consumption. It requires desalting and hydration before use”, explains Antonio Filho.
Homemade jerky: how to make it
Chef Antonio Filho explains that the process is simple and can be done by anyone who likes to cook. Check out the step-by-step guide to make a 2 kg piece of sirloin steak:
- 2 kg of salt
- 2 kg of sirloin
- A container with a lid
- Open the fillet in a blanket;
- Cover both sides with 1 kg of salt. Let it rest for 24 hours;
- Then, drain the brine, dry the meat and cover with the other 1 kg of salt;
- Wait another 24 hours, remove from the brine and let the meat hang in a ventilated place to finish drying, which lasts an average of 5 days.
Although the process is not difficult, of course, it does require patience, so it’s good to plan ahead for when you want to make jerky at home.
At the time of preparation: how to desalt, cook and shred the jerky
Antonio Filho explains that the simplest desalting process that guarantees greater conservation of flavor and nutrients is prior hydration 24 hours before cooking. Check step by step:
- The meat is left to soak in water under refrigeration for 24 hours, changing at least 3 times;
- Then, bring the meat to the fire in the pressure cooker and cook for 15 minutes after boiling;
- Drain the cooking water and, with the help of a whisk, crush the meat, which will easily shred.
Thus, explains the chef, the jerky will be ready to be used in any preparation, such as escondidinho or in the traditional feijoada. It can be sautéed, fried, used in fillings and many other ways.
Recipes with jerky to make this whole process worthwhile
After carrying out the entire procedure of desalting the meat, cooking it and shredding it, it is necessary to prepare a special recipe worthy of this spent dedication. Check out 11 suggestions for irresistible jerky recipes:
1. Dry meat dumpling
An easy recipe that uses few ingredients and is delicious. There are some tricks to make your cupcakes very dry and crispy! So, if you prefer that softer and moister cupcake, this is not the ideal recipe for you.
2. Roasted dried meat pastry
The baked pastel is always a good suggestion for those who cannot or do not like to eat fried foods, the dough is lighter and very soft. To add even more flavor, the tip is to put pieces of cheese next to the jerky filling.
3. Pepper stuffed with jerky and cream cheese
To make this different appetizer, you will only use boiled, desalted and shredded jerky, onion, tomato, garlic, cream cheese, parsley, egg, wheat and breadcrumbs and girl’s finger pepper.
4. Dry meat farofa
Easy recipe, which yields six to eight mini-servings. You will only use dried meat, butter, cassava flour and onions. Perfect to accompany a family meal!
5. Dried meat skewer
A great option for when you are hosting friends at home. You will only use dried meat (cut into cubes and desalted), onions, olive oil, garlic and rosemary sprigs.
6. Dried meat pie
The dried meat guarantees a lot of flavor to the traditional blender pie. For the dough, you will use milk, oil, egg, wheat flour, salt, grated Parmesan and chemical baking powder.
7. Potato stuffed with jerky
An incredible combination of flavors. You will only need potatoes, grated Parmesan cheese, margarine or butter, milk, mozzarella, jerky, oil, saffron, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley.
8. Escondidinho de cassava with dried meat
A recipe that doesn’t require a lot of cooking skills. Perhaps the most annoying part is taking care of the cassava, but that depends on how you buy it… .
9. Rice with jerky
It can be considered a simpler version of the baião de dois, as this rice with jerky would only need coalho cheese, bacon and bottled butter to transform into the northeastern dish. It’s worth a try!
10. Dried beef risotto
To make this delicious dish, you will only use arborio rice, onion, unsalted butter, cachaça, meat broth, smoked jerky, grated parmesan cheese, parsley and chives.
11. Mini pumpkin stuffed with jerky
Beautiful and tasty, ideal to be served as appetizers when receiving visitors. After all, jerky and pumpkin is an irresistible combination that most people like!
If the preparation time to make jerky at home is worth it, each person will have to answer that privately… But, that jerky is a special ingredient that gives a lot of flavor to dishes, that, yes, is indisputable!
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