Dried Beef

Slab of Salt Dried Beef Yield
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
56%  
**
7 days  
Must

[Carne Seca, Carne de Sol (Brazil); Ch'arki (Quechua); Charque, Charqui; (Spanish); Jerky (English (from Charqui))]

Salted and dried meats are important in the cuisines of several regions in South America. This method of preservation was essential in times past, but is still carried on because of the unique flavors and textures it provides.

Thousands of years ago, drying llama meat was very important in the high Andes mountains. In that high, very cold and very dry environment, meat was simply hung out to dry, but in our lower altitudes, with warmer, moister weather, salt must be used in the process.


Freshly Salted Beef
  1. Here's the Beef. I used a thin cut called "Shered", popular with Hispanics. Cut from the Round, it is 1 inch at the thickest point. One inch should be about your maximum thickness. Tough lean cuts like Round work fine, and are tenderized by the process.
  2. First sprinkle salt on the dish. I used some coarse sea salt I had on hand, coarse kosher salt would probably be even better, as it's designed to adhere to meat and draw out liquids.
  3. Set the Beef over the salt, then sprinkle plenty of salt on top.
  4. Place the platter in a cool place.
  5. Drain and repeat this procedure every morning and every evening until no more liquid is drawn out. this should happen by the fourth day.
Salted Beef at the 4th day
  1. Here's the Beef at the end of the 4th day. No more liquid was drawn out after the last drain and resalt.
  2. The Beef is now ready to dry. The traditional method is to hang it up in a warm place, usually not in the sun, despite the name "Carne de Sol". Preferably tent it with mosquito netting or the like to keep the flies off. It should be taken inside at night.
  3. Continue to dry until the beef is hard as a board, this should take about 3 days. I have a convenient electric forced air dryer, so I used that, turned to lowest heat. It took about 1-1/2 days.
Freshly Salted Beef
  1. Here's the finished product - hard as a board.
  2. It should keep for some time at room temperature, but I seal it in a plastic bag and refrigerate until needed.
  3. For use, cut off what you need (I use a razor sharp Chinese cleaver knife driven through with a soft faced mallet). Soak for 6 to 8 hours, changing the water a couple times.
NOTES:
  1. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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