Did you know that Native Americans invented beef jerky (or at least our common concept of it) in the 1800s? Since that time, people have become obsessed with all different forms of jerky. After all, it’s both delicious and lasts a long time without spoiling.
You can eat jerky on its own or add it to different recipes. Fortunately, learning how to use beef jerky in recipes isn't the least bit difficult. Keep reading to discover various ways to cook up innovative beef jerky recipes.
Stir Beef Jerky Into Fried Rice
When you buy beef jerky, you might find that eating it on its own can quickly become too overwhelming for your palate. That's why it's such a good idea to mix jerky with foods like rice. Rice is a perfect accompaniment to jerky because rice itself usually doesn't have a lot of flavor.
For rice to taste really good, you have to mix it with a variety of spices and ingredients. Fried rice is an age-old Chinese dish. More often than not, fried rice comes with little cubes of pork or other meats.
But if you want to give your fried rice a serious savory flavor boost, why not add different types of jerky? Beef jerky tends to have the strongest flavor out of any kind of jerky on the market. It has earthy, spicy tones that few other jerky types can match.
To add jerky to your fried rice, simply chop the jerky into tiny pieces. However, be careful not to cook the jerky with the rice for too long — it might start to get soggy. If you want your jerky to stay firm and crisp, it’s best to add it at the last moment.
When it's time to serve the rice, toss in the chopped jerky and gently stir it into the rice. That way, the rice’s heat will warm the jerky without actually cooking it or making it mushy. If you prefer your jerky to be a bit on the softer side, however, you can add it much earlier in the process.
This’ll take some of the jerky's flavor and spread it evenly throughout the fried rice, creating a truly unique dish.
[Related: Beef Jerky From Around the World]
Add Jerky to Your Favorite Soup
If you love spicy soups and stews, the perfect way to improve them is to add jerky. You might wonder how you can add jerky to a soup without the jerky becoming completely soggy. There aren’t many cooking tips on the internet regarding this subject, so the best way to figure it out is to experiment.
One thing to keep in mind is that you don't want to cook the jerky for hours, like you would with a whole chicken or other raw meats. The water in the soup can rehydrate the jerky and thus rob it of its great chewy texture. But if you want only the flavor of the jerky in your soup, this is actually a spectacular idea.
Boiling jerky in soup will infuse its flavors into the broth. Then, when the soup is ready, you can filter out the remaining pieces of jerky and enjoy the soup’s strong and aromatic taste. The more jerky you add, the spicier and more flavorful the soup will be.
And of course, the longer you cook the soup with the jerky, the stronger the jerky flavor will be.
What You Need to Know
What if you want to eat the jerky along with the soup? In that case, you’ll need to add the jerky much later in the process.
Wait until the soup is almost done. Then, throw in the jerky for only a few minutes. This method will add some of the jerky's flavor to the broth — and you won't risk the jerky becoming mushy.
However, the jerky will soften a bit while sitting in the broth, but it shouldn't soften too much. You can either add the jerky in long strips or cut it into small pieces for easy eating.
[Related: What’s the World’s Hottest Beef Jerky?]
Try Jerky in Spaghetti Sauce
Everyone loves a spicy spaghetti sauce, but traditional spices sometimes just don't cut it. That's where flavor-rich beef jerky comes in. To add jerky to your sauce, you'll first need to boil the jerky for a few minutes.
Boiling will soften the jerky just a little so that you won't bite into hard pieces while enjoying your spaghetti. After a few minutes, take the jerky out. Set it aside while you focus on the other parts of the sauce.
Saute some onion, garlic and bell pepper to form a tasty foundation for the sauce. Then, add crushed tomatoes.
Mix all the sauce ingredients together, and then add the jerky back in. Let this combo cook for about 10 minutes — and don't forget to sprinkle in herbs and spices like parsley and basil. Afterward, the sauce will have a delicious, spicy flavor and aroma.
Once the sauce is done, add it to spaghetti or any other type of food you desire, like pizza or a meatball sandwich.
Explore the Jerky Universe
Learning how to use beef jerky in recipes isn't challenging, and you can try so many options. Adding jerky to fried rice, soup and spaghetti sauce is a great place to start. Whatever you decide to add beef jerky to, the result will be deliciously spicy and rich.
And if you find you have more jerky questions along the way, we have you covered. Check out our blog, then follow us on social and subscribe to our newsletter below!
Featured image via Unsplash