Blue Ridge Country May/June 2021 - 62

F L AV O R S

Picnic Time, with a
Retro Touch
Our food-writing team packs up the picnic basket full of family
favorites for the road or the backyard.
By FRED & JILL SAUCEMAN | Classroom photo by JILL SAUCEMAN

I

n keeping with the time of year
to get outside and play, here are
some time-tested recipes from
our kitchen that make excellent
snacks for a road trip or picnic.

Homemade Beef Jerky
Jill: In the late 1990s, I worked as
the Museum Education Specialist for the JonesboroughWashington County History Museum in Jonesborough,
Tennessee. One of my responsibilities was to develop a
curriculum guide for area students who would spend a
day experiencing what life was like in a one-room school.
The museum had rescued the century-old Oak Hill School
building that was located in another area of Washington
County. It had been scheduled for demolition. The building was moved to a site located close to the museum and
was restored by the museum.
We opened the doors to 4th-grade students in 1999.
While developing the curriculum guide, I chose to make
everything as authentic as possible for a school day in
1892. This included the lessons taught, games played,
songs sung, and meals carried in lunch buckets. The
teachers were given pre-visit activities to prepare them for
the day. For their school lunches, students were to bring
something that would have been eaten in 1892. Among
the food items I chose for them were cornbread with butter; biscuits with jelly, honey, molasses or country ham;
boiled eggs; an apple or pear; and homemade beef jerky.
This is the recipe I used for beef jerky, explaining to students that meat strips would have been dried in the sun
or hung close by a fire to dry.
Flank steak, sirloin steak, and top and bottom round
are good options for jerky. Slice the meat across the grain
in pieces that are about 1/4-inch thick and 1-inch wide.
(Slicing across the grain will help make the meat more
tender.) The meat is much easier to slice if it is partially
frozen. Your butcher can do this for you, if you like.

62

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

There are many seasonings that may be used for
marinating. Onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper,
Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, soy sauce, paprika, basil,
ginger, marjoram, curry powder, rosemary, thyme and
oregano all work well. Use these according to your own
personal taste. Salt should be used in moderation because
dried meat is more intense as it loses moisture. Of course,
the longer the meat is marinated and the more seasonings that are used, the more flavorful the jerky will be. A
little lemon juice will help maintain the red color of the
meat. Vinegar cuts out some of the gamey taste of wild
meat. Place meat in a ziplock bag, adding the seasonings
and spices. Toss the bag several times while marinating
to distribute the spices and liquids well. Refrigerate until
ready to dehydrate.
Before dehydrating, make sure to remove excess moisture from the marinated meat. This can be done by placing slices of meat on absorbent paper towels and patting
them dry. If you're using an electric dehydrator with
stackable trays, place the meat on each tray and stack
on top of the heating element. Trays should be rotated
during drying for the most effective, even dehydration.
Drying time is approximately eight to 10 hours. Store the
jerky in an airtight container if you're going to eat it soon.
For longer storage, place it in a vacuum-sealed bag.


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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2021

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