Michael Symon’s Carnivore (Clarkson Potter), is a celebration of all things meaty, with the celebrity chef offering dishes both classic and extreme. His jerky recipe is the ultimate exercise in overcooking, a juxtaposition of quick prep (under 10 minutes) and slow bake (31 hours to marinate and dry). I made sure to cover the beef well for its long rest in the fridge, lest the intense odors permeate my unsuspecting dairy products. After work the next evening, I popped the pieces into the oven and by 8 p.m. my apartment was filled with the pleasing aroma of a ribs joint. By the time Letterman had finished his top-10 list, it was time to see my results. While the slices did shrink some, they were still surprisingly thick, the same size and shape as a batch of steak fries—made from actual steak! A wonderful, rich brown crust enveloped each piece, providing a sweet/salty/smoky flavor that activated the salivary glands just in time to deal with the chewy, but not leathery, dried meat within; a delicious and rewarding midnight snack with plenty left over to last throughout the summer.
Beef Jerky from Michael Symon’s Carnivore
2 pounds eye of round, trimmed of all fat
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1. Slice the beef with the grain into strips about 1 inch thick by 3 inches long. If the strips appear too large, they likely are the correct size, as they will shrink significantly during the cooking process.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Liberally season the beef with this spice mixture, being sure to use it all. Cover the beef and refrigerate for 24 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 250 F.
4. Put the strips on a baking-rack-lined sheet pan. Arrange the meat so that the strips are not touching or overlapping. This allows for even drying. Bake for 6 to 7 hours, until fairly dry. If you prefer your jerky on the chewy side, remove it after 6 hours. Otherwise, leave it in for the full 7 how to dry it out some more.
5. Store in an airtight container at room temperature; beef jerky will last for several months.
Stan Friedman is the senior research librarian at Condé Nast.