Spicy, Bacon, and Bulgogi Jerky, Oh My!

After making my first batch of home made beef jerky, I haven't stopped. That's probably because that batch was devoured so quickly! I've been experimenting with a couple of different flavors and have enjoyed each and every one of them so far. Here are my recent creations:

Spicy Alton Brown Beef Jerky

The first time, I used Alton Brown's beef jerky recipe and really enjoyed it. I decided to use it again but add a little spice to it.  Actually, when I mean a little, I meant a lot.  A few weeks back, my buddy Dan and I tried creating our own version of Andrea Nguyen's homemade chili garlic sauce recipe. It turned out way hotter then we expected, which was probably due to the thai chiles we were using.  I just added one spoonful of it to the marinade to add the extra kick!

Our homemade garlic chili sauce

Alton Brown's Beef Jerky Recipe with a spoonful of chili garlic sauce

The spicy Alton Brown marinated beef ready to be put on the dehydrator

The spicy Alton Brown beef jerky on the Nesco food dehydrator trays

Spicy Alton Brown Beef Jerky - All done!

This spicy beef jerky definitely had some kick to it.  After you eat a couple, the heat definitely builds up on your tongue.  Which makes it great for me, since I love spicy food.  

Bacon Jerky

Do you guys remember that commercial above? Well, that's pretty much an exact representation of my love for bacon. The only difference in that commercial and reality is that I'm human, I can read, and I will not accept substitutes for bacon! After making my first batch of beef jerky, it got me wondering... is it possible to make bacon jerky?  Why don't I see it really in the stores at all?  Well, I did some research and found that bacon jerky typically doesn't have a long shelf life due to the high fat content.  It usually goes bad quickly or it's been heavily preserved.  I did find some results of people successfully creating bacon jerky.  The interesting thing I learned was that it takes a LONG time to make it.  Beef Jerky usually takes 3-6 hours, just depending on the thickness of the cuts you make on my food dehydrator. From user experiences, they were stating it took 24-36 hours!  

I decided to give it a try.  I had some all natural, uncured center cut bacon from Whole Foods and gave it a shot. I didn't add anything to it and just laid it out on the trays and started to dehydrate it.  

Bacon slices on the food dehydrator

Dehydrating the bacon with a Nesco Food Dehydrator

After about 6 hours, I observed that it did shrink a little bit and was dripping fat like crazy.  I decided to try out a little piece of it and found out that not only was it not done, but it also tasted pretty bland. The fatty part of the bacon just tasted like flavorless oil. So then, I decided to add some kosher salt to it.  After about 24 hours, the bacon jerky was done.  It was crisp, and the added salt made the bacon jerky taste much better.  Was it worth it? Probably not.  However, I only say this in terms of just regular bacon jerky. The flavor just tasted too similar to baking some bacon.  But, this process gave me some hope for future creations.  I think I'll to create a maple glazed/salt bacon jerky next time. 

Bacon Jerky!

Bulgogi Beef Jerky

For this attempt, I decided to use a recipe that I've tried in the past for real Korean bulgogi.  I found the recipe from the Savory Sweet Life website by Alice Currah. Here it is:

Ingredients

  • 1-1.5 lbs. of thinly sliced rib-eye steak purchased from a Korean market. Or you can slice your own rib-eye or sirloin steak across the grain in paper thin slices. Partially freezing the beef helps with cutting clean slices.
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce or for a Gluten-Free variation, use San-J Organic Tamari Wheat Free Soy Sauce found in the health food section of your local grocery store.
  • 3 Tbl white sugar
  • 1 Tbl sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 of a medium yellow onion, halved and sliced into medium moon shaped slivers
  • 2 green onions including the white parts, finely sliced into small pieces
  • 2 Tbl toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches of black pepper
  • optional 1/4 tsp. of ginger, finely minced

Instructions

  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl except beef and onions. When most of the sugar has dissolved, add beef and onion slices to the bowl and massage the marinade with your hands into each slice of beef. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. To pan fry, place a few slices of beef in single layers and completely flat on a hot oiled frying pan and fry each side until cooked. Some people prefer to cook the bulgogi until some of the edges have turned dark brown and crispy. Serve with a bowl of hot rice. Enjoy!

Using Savory Sweet Life's recipe for the Korean bulgogi marinade

The meat added to the bulgogi marinade.

Bulgogi Beef Jerky, ready to  be dehydrated!

The final product! Korean Bulgogi Beef Jerky!

This was quite tasty!  I was really happy with the result, and you can bet that I'll be making more of this in the future! I hope you guys give it a try, and let me know how it turns out. Now, it's time to think of some future beef jerky concoctions!