Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Taste of Texas

Friends who know me well send me food. I recently received a box full of gifts from Texas. My well thought out package contained a giant bottle of Rudy’s BBQ sauce, fire roasted salsa from La Fogata in San Antonio, and two packs of Whittington’s Jerky – turkey and beef - both spicy, of course.

Being the city dweller that I am, I have very limited opportunity to grill and cook outdoors, in general. As soon as I manage to con some people into hosting a cookout, I will describe the BBQ sauce in overwhelming detail. But for now, I can only tell you about the jerky.

Jerky is a newly acquired taste for me. Until a couple of years ago, I thought of jerky as something sold in scary and unsanitary gas station shops. How wrong was I?? So very wrong... A lot of the jerky sold in supermarkets is loaded with salt and preservatives. Some jerky packs even contain those little dehydrating silica packages that one sometimes finds in shoe boxes. I don’t need shoe preservatives in my food. These types of jerky taste like unidentifiable chemicals but they don’t have to, as I happily found out. There is a whole world of natural, minimally processed jerky made from tuna, salmon, turkey, beef… That’s as far as I have gotten in my explorations. I am sure there are other interesting things to dry for jerky.

Whittington’s jerky (included in my most lovely package from Texas) as revealed by some internet sleuthing, is produced in Johnson City, TX using a 40 year old recipe. The dried, mesquite-smoked meat is cut by hand into small squares – not the flat strips I am accustomed to seeing. I don’t know if this is a Texas jerky thing or a Whittington’s jerky thing. Whichever thing it is, it’s wonderful. The bits of turkey or beef stay whole and don’t splinter off like super dried jerky tends to. It is dry yet moist all at the same time. The hot and spicy jerky I had the pleasure of trying is flavored through and through with red pepper and smoke.

The handy Whittington’s website tells me that they also make jerky in Teriyaki and Garlic flavors. I will have to bring a whole lot back when I go to TX in August. Yes, August. I plan on packing myself in cold beer bottles to keep cool during the time I am there. Should work, right?



Anna said...

Hey - I will have a grill and a porch in two weeks - can trying the bbq sauce wait that long? Also, I have a dehydrator (I know, complete dork) if you ever want to try the jerky thing on your own...

Anna said...

I plan on holding you to the offer of grilling. The BBQ sauce is overdue for its debut!