At Food52, we believe the snacks you eat on a road trip are just as important as the destination itself. That's why we're sharing a recipe for homemade beef jerky that's the ultimate road trip snack.
A road trip isn't a road trip without rolling down the windows, cruising along the interstate with a car-full of friends, and -- more often than not -- stopping off at a rest stop to buy unsatisfying, unhealthy snacks. But your road trips can be better than that.
Make beef jerky at home and you'll have a sweet, salty, and spicy snack that's better than anything you'll find at a roadside rest stop. There's no food that will please a carload of hungry travelers more than a batch of chewy, peppery jerky. With a little help from the Korean dish Bulgogi and a few wildcard ingredients (pear nectar, sake), this jerky achieves the perfect blend of sugar, salt, and spice.
Makes one road trip better
2 pounds beef, top or bottom round
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup pear nectar (or apple juice)
1/2 cup sake
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
3/4 cups honey
1 jalapeño, chopped (seeded if you wish)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Place beef in freezer to firm up enough to slice very thinly (about 1/4-inch).
Add all of the remaining ingredients except for salt, sesame seeds, and black pepper to the blender.
Blend until smooth.
Add beef to marinade stirring gently to make sure all is coated and marinate about 7 hours.
Once the marinade is over, preheat the oven to 200º F. Grind the salt and sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle (you can use a spice grinder, just be sure not to turn the mixture into a paste).
Drain beef, blot dry with paper towels and place on a rack on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle the salt and sesame seed mixture over the beef, then add a grind fresh black pepper to each piece. Bake about four hours, rotating pans halfway through, until dried and jerky-like. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.
Photos by James Ransom