Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dancing With The Devil, Jackson Browne and Beef Jerky...

While Jackson Browne hums bars of "The Pretender" in the background, I try explaining to my poor wife my inherent need to make Beef Jerky.

She gazes at me with that look I have come to recognize. A look comprised of one part derision and two parts sympathy.

After 22 plus years, she intuitively understands my idiosyncratic logic.

Lately my Sundays have been peppered with Eye Round, Flank Steak and London Broil.

Spicy, leathery, dried meat has come to be my Calgon.

It relaxes me.

Maybe it's the process of it all or perhaps it's just my idea of having purpose.

I find that I do better with structure.

When you make Beef Jerky, you have to commit.

There is a beginning, a middle and an end.

Just because you read the middle of Atlas Shrugged doesn't give you the right to say you finished it.

I like to finish things. It makes me feel good.

Today, Jackson Browne is my jerky muse. He speaks to me.

Hidden somewhere in the middle of the bridge and the chorus to "Lawyers in Love" lies the ancient secrets of aging beef.

Music can be a powerful inspirer of things.

For me, there is no logical way to explain why Jackson Browne moves me.

There is a perfect fusion of Mr. Browne and this batch of Beef Jerky. I can't even begin to attempt to decrypt this chemistry. It's just science and you don't fuck with science.

I'm not the first one to be affected by his music.

Daryl Hannah was spellbound by him right up until he beat the living snot out of her in a jealous rage.

Before that, his first wife committed suicide.

Apparently I'm playing with fire but I've made the commitment.

Jackson Brown has been a part of today's beginning and so he will, for better or for worse, be a part of it's middle and inevitably it's end.

The act of making beef jerky is an improbable, yet fitting metaphor for the circle life.

I just hope that the juxtaposition to that metaphor is not one of death at the hands of Jackson Browne.

So here I stand, my moral compass spinning out of control. But all things worth a damn demand sacrifice.

Today I will dance with the devil.

Either way, in the end, there will be beef jerky.

1 1⁄2 pounds flank steak

13 cup Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke
1⁄4 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons light brown sugar 2 cloves fresh garlic

1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Place meat on a plate and freeze for 1 hour. This will make it easier to slice the meat into thin strips. Slice meat into 1⁄4-inch wide strips, cutting against the grain. Combine remaining ingredients. Marinate beef strips for a minimum of 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Place strips on the racks. Do not overcrowd; leave enough space so that pieces are not touching. Cover and dehydrate on medium for 8 hours, or until desired doneness, flipping strips once about halfway through. Depending on the uniformity of the strips, the racks may require rotating throughout the dehydrating process, as bottom racks will dehydrate faster than top racks. Store beef jerky in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.