The love of my life bought me a dehydrator as a gift… and then she demanded I make beef jerky! Little did she know I had experience in this field.
I remember back when I was under four feet tall (I’m 6’6” now!). I would help my grandfather in the kitchen, measuring out ingredients, and combining our secret family recipe with meat to create delectable jerky. The hardest part was the wait: I would stare impatiently at the dehydrator for what seemed like days, waiting for it to slowly pull out every last drop of water. The aroma in the house would rival that of warm, freshly-baked cookies, or Thanksgiving turkey dinner at your mom’s house.
So – unbeknownst to my wife - I had done this once (or a hundred times) before. And I wasn’t going to let her in on my secret life with jerky just yet. Off I went to our local butcher and bought a small cut of top round beef. Wielding my expert knife skills (take that, Gordon Ramsay), I trimmed all the excess fat, and methodically sliced until there was nothing left. I did this, of course, after measuring and mixing a quarter cup of Worcestershire sauce, a cup of Teriyaki sauce, two cups of ... wait, are you thinking I'm giving you my secret family recipe!? No such luck 😊. So in a gallon-sized bag I tossed everything in, gave it a good shake, and left it to set in the refrigerator.
When it was marinated to perfection, like the world champion Tetris master I am, I went about arranging each piece of meat with keen precision into the dehydrator so as not to waste one square inch of space. Before I switched on the power, I was already envisioning myself returning home that night to a mouthwatering treat.
After what seemed like days, it was finally finished. I pulled off the lid and savored that first bite. It was better than I could have imagined! I passed around the jerky to my wife and to my (then only) daughter. Both of them devoured it!
Not long after this, I started bringing my scrumptious snack into work. Co-workers began to take notice and would ask for some to try. I found myself making more and more as the weeks passed, until I finally realized that there was a demand for what I could supply. Empire Jerky was born!