Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Drying Beef

Today we can purchase Beef Jerky at just about any store but when 19th Century folks spoke about dried beef, it wasn't what we think of with regard to beef jerky. In fact, you can still find 'dried beef' in some stores today. Below are some recipes from various sources with regard to drying beef. However, "Jerky" as we know it today was referred to as "Jerked Beef or Jerked Meat."

Jerked Meat. — What most persons imagine to be the significance of jerked in the compound "jerked beef" it would be hard to say. The word is not derived from the verb to jerk, but from the Peruvian charki, as is shown by the following citation from Prescott's " Conquest of Peru": "Flesh cut into thin slices was distributed among the people, who converted it into charki, the dried meat of the country."
Source: The Mistakes we Make ©1898

And I stumbled on this tidbit as well:
"Jerked beef" has been an important article of import into Cuba, and it may become still more so in the future, as Texas, with its millions of cattle, has a climate peculiarly adapted to the preparation of this form of beef product.
Source: Industrial Cuba ©1899

Beef—To Pickke For Winter Or Present Use, And For Drying.—Cut your beef into sizable pieces, sprinkle a little salt upon the bottom of the barrel only, then pack your beef without salt amongst it, and when packed pour over it a brine made by dissolving G lbs. of salt for each 100 lbs. of beef in just sufficient cold water to handsomely cover it.
You will find that you can cut and fry as nice as fresh, for a long time; just right for boiling, also; and when it gets a little too salt for frying, you can freshen it nearly as nicely as pork, for frying purposes, or you can boil of it, then make a stew for breakfast, very nice indeed. By the other plan it soon becomes too salt for eating, and the juices are drawn off by the salt. In three weeks, perhaps a lithe less, such pieces as are designed for drying will be ready to hang up, by soaking over night to remove the salt from the outside. Do not be afraid of this way; for it is very nice for winter and drying purposes; but if any is left until warm weather, throw away this brine, put salt amongst what is left and cover with the first brine, and all is right l'oi long keeping.
Source: Dr. Chase's Recipes ©1866

HUNG BEEF. Take any piece of beef you please, some prefer the navel piece; salt it in precisely the same way as directed for ham above, and keep it in salt for about the same period. Dry it also in the same way. When it is wanted boil it till it is tender. Note.—That some direct blood to be washed over the beef during its drying to make it of a dark colour; but this is surely a useless piece of art. Hung beef will require long soaking and boiling to be eatable: we do not much admire it, more especially if, before being salted, the beef has been hung in a cellar, as some of the books direct, till it becomes “a little sappy.”—Sappy indeed must he be who desires or directs the preparation of such a dish!
Source: Two Thousand Five Hundred Recipes in Family Cookery ©1837

Buy the best of beef, or that part which will be the most lean and tender. The tender part of the round is a very good piece. For every twenty pounds of beef use one pint of salt, one teaspoonful of saltpetre, and a quarter of a pound of brown sugar. Mix them well together, and rub the beef well with one-third of the mixture for three successive days. Let it lie in the liquor it makes for six days, then hang up to dry.
A large crock or jar is a good vessel to prepare the meat in before drying it.
Source: White House Cook Book ©1889

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