At first I was a little bit scared of this jerky. Jerk Jerky is from the ever trusty “Just Jerky, The complete Guide to Making” but this recipe uses Habanero chilli which lies on the hotter side of the Scoville Scale. The chilli lovers out there may call me a wuss: fair enough; but this wuss has been caught out by hot chillies before and was taking no chances.
¾ cup lime juice
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup diced onion
2 tablespoons finely diced Habanero pepper. I recommend wearing gloves for this bit. I was also tempted to find some glasses (and maybe a haz-mat suit) as I have been known to get less hazardous chilli in my eyes and I really did NOT want to get this little baby anywhere near them. Respect the chilli and its awesome (excruciatingly painful) power.
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 pound/500g beef or goat strips. I used kangaroo.
Mix all ingredients together with the exception of the strips, in a non-reactive container (the acids in the citrus will do nasty things with some metals). Allow the ingredients to sit on their own for at least 15 minutes so the flavours can develop. Add the strips and marinate for at least one hour. If marinating for more than an hour, place in the refrigerator in a covered non-reactive container or airtight plastic (i.e. zip lock) bag. Remove from the marinade and place in a drying environment.
Having no idea how ‘hot’ Jerk Jerky would be, I marinated my strips for only an hour just in case the chilli infused a little too much and resulted in my untimely demise. I also chopped the Habanero not too finely so that I could easily pull off the chilli pieces if necessary (though this also has the problem of giving bigger pieces of hot chilli to bite into). I used one Habanero chilli which worked out to be about 1 tablespoon and I reckon that was more than enough for my tastes. I also used dried onion flakes as I didn’t have any real onion at the time and only about ½ cup of lime juice.
I cut the roo into quite fine long strips this time, and it dried beautifully. I took out some of the smaller pieces after 4.5 hours, and left the thicker ones in for 6.5 hours.
The final product is actually not too hot at all. The chilli isn’t overpowering unless you get a big piece attached to the jerky. Most of the chilli was left in the marinade. There is a distinct taste of lime and I am a bit disappointed that I can’t really taste all those lovely spices. The marinade itself was quite wet, and even though I dried the strips on paper towel a bit before putting in the dehydrator, there was still quite a bit of cleaning up to do once the jerky was done. Most of the spice I think was thrown out with the marinade. In future, I would half the amount of liquids involved (or leave them out completely) so I get a drier marinade (more like a moist rub) as I really do like cinnamon and ginger etc. I’d also let it soak up all the flavours for a couple of hours (not sure about overnight given the lime juice had already started to ‘cook’ the meat after just an hour).
The lime and chilli taste is quite pleasant, and I can definitely taste the gamey-ness of the kangaroo a lot more than I could with the Biltong (which was really just coriander seeds on a stick). I’ve had rave reviews from the one person I’ve so far managed to inflict it upon so it’s definitely worth a go if a) you like lime and b) you’re not afraid of a little heat.
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