Tag Archives: tequila

Easy Homemade Jalapeno & Lime Beef Jerky

3 Feb

Neil and I are very proud of our Moogarita, the cocktail we created using Canadian Beef for Kitchen Play’s February Progressive Menu. We love that it’s gotten people talking about the use of beef and beef stock in different ways.

But in our last post, with the focus on the drink itself, a key component may have been overshadowed: the jalapeno & lime beef jerky.

We created the homemade jerky as a garnish for the Moogarita but quickly realized that this recipe should not be treated as an after-thought. This jerky is worth making and not just to be used as a garnish.

It’s delicious. It’s full of lean protein. It’s packed with a ton of flavor. And it’s an awesome snack.

I never considered making beef jerky at home. I’ve barely ever touched the packaged stuff. It was always a hot item on the craft table of many television sets I’ve worked on and I never understood why. (Hungry crew like meat in any form, I guess!) But the packaged version doesn’t even compare to a homemade one. It’s a different ball game altogether.

To create our recipe for jalapeno & lime beef jerky, we recipe-tested a few times to get the ingredients and technique just right. That meant eating quite a bit of homemade beef jerky and I think I got addicted in the process.

This jerky is packed with such a punch of flavor! You can really taste the jalapeno, not just the spice and heat, but the flavor of the pepper itself. You can even smell it as the jerky is drying in the oven. It kind of taunts you as you patiently wait for it to be done…

The first batch we made used more lime juice and less brown sugar and we found it too be a little too tart. We also cooked the first batch on a higher heat at 200 degrees and realized it probably needed to cook slower on a lower heat.

We had a lot of fun testing and coming up with the final recipe and I really encourage people to try making beef jerky at home whether you use this homemade version or another. Making it yourself ensures you know just what’s going into it. You can control the salt and sugar and feel good about eating a snack that’s preservative-free.

So in an effort to give this little recipe a shot at the limelight (bad pun but I’m going with it), I thought I’d post it again with a little bit more detail on how it came together.

Jalapeno & Lime Beef Jerky

3/4 lb flank steak

1 jalapeno, half of seeds discarded, chopped

1/3 C fresh lime juice

1/2 C tequila

1/4 C tamari soy sauce (or regular soy)

4 Tbs brown sugar

2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

Slice beef against the grain, into long, thin strips. The butcher we got the beef from actually gave us this handy tip: put your meat in the freezer about an hour before cutting it. It’ll be easier to slice.

In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, tequila, tamari soy, brown sugar, salt and pepper until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the jalapeno with the seeds.

Place beef strips in a glass baking dish (or other non-reactive receptacle) and pour marinade overtop.

Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

We marinated ours overnight and by morning the beef was very dark and almost looked somewhat cooked.

Preheat oven to 175 C. Remove marinated beef from the fridge, and place slices on paper towel. Remove any jalapeno seeds stuck to the beef if you want a milder beef jerky or keep them in for some nice heat. Using more paper towel, pat the pieces of beef to remove excess liquid.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Arrange beef slices flat on sheet without overlapping.

For our Moogarita garnish we wanted the jerky to have a nice polished, stylish look so we twisted each piece as we placed them on the baking sheet. But you can leave them flat for a more traditional look.

Sprinkle with sea salt and place in oven.

Lay the pieces flat or twist for a different look

After 1.5 hours, remove the baking sheet and flip each piece of jerky over. Put back in the oven for another hour.

After another hour, check to see how dry the beef is, flip slices again, and put back in the oven for an additional 15-30 minutes, if needed. The goal is for the jerky to be as firm and dry as possible, without getting too brittle.

When sufficiently dried, remove jerky from oven and let cool. The beef will dry further as it cools so make sure not to overcook/over-dry in the oven.

If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, you can store them in an air-tight container or sandwich bag in the fridge for a few days.

Vacation on a Plate: Grilled Pineapple with Tequila-Brown Sugar Glaze & Coconut Yogurt

25 Jul

A few weekends ago, Neil’s mother made us a dessert that I’ve been craving ever since. The flavors stuck with me and I knew I would have to make it for myself.

The original recipe for Grilled Pineapple with Tequila-Brown Sugar Glaze is from Bon Appétit circa 1997. My mother-in-law modified it slightly, soaking the pineapple in the heavenly liquid for a few hours and serving it with homemade margarita ice cream and toasted coconut ice cream; THAT was pure heaven in a bowl.

And I modified it tonight, soaking the pineapple overnight to really absorb the tequila goodness and serving it with coconut yogurt and some lime zest. The result was a dessert that made my whole family feel like we had checked out and taken a trip to the tropics. A little ‘vacation on a plate’, if you will.

The smell coming off the barbeque as the pineapple rounds cooked was amazing. My dad said it smelled like toasted marshmallows, as the warm, sugary, caramely- scent wafted through the air.

The coconut yogurt was a last minute addition when it caught my eye at Fiesta Farms. I hardly ever buy full-fat yogurt, but this was a treat that was well worth it. I bought Liberte brand and it was creamy and delicious with real pieces of coconut throughout.

Here’s my version of this sinfully good but fairly guilt-free dessert:

Grilled Pineapple with Tequila-Brown Sugar Glaze and Coconut Yogurt

Serves 6-7 people

3/4 cup tequila

3/4 cup packed brown sugar (I actually used Splenda’s brown sugar blend – a mix of real brown sugar and Splenda – so I used a little less than ¾ cup)

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 large pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into thick rounds

1 pint of coconut yogurt

Zest of 1 lime

Stir the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl until sugar dissolves.

Marinate the pineapple in the mixture, cover and refrigerate. I let it sit overnight for about 24 hours, but you can marinate it for 2-3 hours and it should be just as good (though maybe not as ‘boozy’)

When you’re ready to grill, turn the BBQ to medium heat. Grill pineapple until brown, basting with tequila mixture and turning occasionally, about 5-10 min total.

Serve immediately with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of lime zest.

Then, try to resist drinking the remaining marinade. Neil basically asked me for a straw. Luckily I distracted him and decided to save the remaining liquid in an air-tight container in the fridge. We may attempt some special drinks with it this week…

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