Smoked Carne Seca: A Flavorful Twist on Mexican Beef Jerky

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Craving a bold and savory snack? Look no further than smoked carne seca, an undiscovered gem in the world of jerky. Bursting with spicy and salty flavors, each bite is a tantalizing explosion for your taste buds. Allow me to introduce you to my interpretation of this classic Mexican delight, inspired by the jerky found in Arizona and Sonora.

Carne Seca: A Regional Recipe

Let’s start with some context. Carne seca, a Mexican dried meat, holds a special place in the hearts of many. In Tucson, you can spot several restaurants meticulously drying it in the scorching desert sun. Picture the meat hanging high in the air, carefully enclosed within nets. It takes 3-4 days for the meat to fully dry out, depending on the weather. The preparation techniques vary, with different spices and styles adopted by various cultures. In fact, I learned this particular version from a family residing in Brownsville, TX.

To get a glimpse of the traditional process, check out this video from a renowned Tucson restaurant, showcasing their unique rendition of carne seca. While it might differ from my recipe, it serves as a great reference for understanding the essence behind this culinary art: Extra Serving: Carne Seca.

Quick Recipe for Success

Don’t fret, my recipe won’t demand five days of your time like the one mentioned in the video. I’ve simplified the process, allowing you to enjoy mouthwatering jerky in just three hours or less. This quicker method doesn’t compromise on flavor – quite the contrary. In fact, you’ll end up with pounds of jerky that can serve as the secret ingredient in a delicious secondary recipe: machaca.

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Machaca is a shredded version of carne seca, ground finely with a molcajete (mortar and pestle). However, if you don’t have one, a food processor can do the trick. This versatile ingredient adds a burst of flavor when sprinkled into cooked salsa, eggs, or beans. It also works wonders as a filling for burritos. By smoking the carne seca, you infuse the machaca with a delightful BBQ flavor that will leave you yearning for more.

The Perfect Beef for Your Jerky

When choosing the ideal beef for your jerky, look no further than the eye of round. Its lean composition ensures your jerky isn’t marred by excessive fat. A 2-3 pound piece of beef is typically sufficient for an average-sized batch. Some enthusiasts prefer using brisket flat, as it offers a delightful pull-apart texture. However, due to its higher cost, most people opt for the eye of round. If you do decide to experiment with fattier meats, make sure to trim as much excess fat as possible for the best results.

Here are the top options, ranked by least fat content and ease of slicing:

  • Eye of Round
  • Top Round
  • Brisket (flat, lean)

For the recipe below, we’ll be using guajillo chile. You’ll only need one chile for the entire recipe. Guajillo chiles are long and dried, boasting a medium heat and a hint of fruitiness. They are incredibly versatile and can add a spicy-sweet dimension to your jerky. Feel free to experiment with different dried chiles if you have access to them.

After you’ve mastered this recipe, why not elevate your breakfast game by making a Machaca Breakfast Burrito using your homemade carne seca? Trust me, it’s a culinary experience that’s hard to beat.

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Carne Seca

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of this unique Mexican delicacy, it’s time to embark on your culinary journey. Fire up your smoker, perfect those spice blends, and prepare to savor the irresistible flavors of smoked carne seca. Your taste buds will thank you.

Don’t forget to visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ for more lip-smacking BBQ inspiration.