Jeff’s Famous Cajun-style Beef Jerky

I’ve slowly been working my way through the last of my emergency airplane snacks. As I’ve probably mentioned before, despite my experience with travel, airplanes scare me. My ideal carry-on would include flares, embossed stationary for last notes, bottles to stash them in, and vodka. Because 90% of those things are not allowed, I’ve settled for bringing an asston of snacks, for my own personal sanity and also to avoid paying $9 and my firstborn for stale pretzels.

So now that I’m here, I have a backup of random food. I’ve even been trying to incorporate them into my recipes. Suffice to say, curried rice a la mixed nuts and dried fruit with non-dairy creamer won’t be making it onto my normal menu. However, one of my best travel decisions was bringing along meat- tons of meat. Beef and turkey jerky, to be exact. I thought it would be fun to feature some of these (as well as some of the recipes I’ve been using them in! Foie gras, meet America.) over the next few weeks.

Today’s jerky is a classic, and a fairly tasty one. Jeff’s Famous Beef Jerky is a gas station mainstay and a college student’s dream. The ingredient list is very sparse- this couldn’t be further from the Slim Jims of yesteryear. The thin pieces of steak are coated in a mixture of spices, a blend I’d personally classify more as Tex-Mex rather than Cajun. I’ve found that Cajun flavors tend to have more of a reliance on herbs like thyme and oregano. This was black pepper and garlic heavy, with a powerful chili kick, but lacked the sweetness I expected it to have. I would have liked a little more sugar to balance out the heat and salinity. However, it was still a very tasty meat treat, with a layered set of spices that worked their way into the meat without overpowering its natural flavor. In this case, that’s a good thing, as Jeff’s uses a tender, naturally flavorful meat as the base for the jerky. The meat has a consistent, pleasant texture, though the smaller, thicker pieces tended to have a fattier texture with a bit of stringiness. Still, this is a great snack to travel with and an easy one to enjoy.

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