If you’re a road-tripper, pioneer, or just one of the country’s bravest, beef jerky is one of your go-to snacks. This chewy, strangely crisp-like meaty treat is supremely popular among that segment of the population that just can’t get enough muscle-building protein.
But beef jerky isn’t something you have to enjoy alone. Like ham and mustard, chicken and gravy, or peanut butter and vegemite (yes, you know who you are), everyone’s favourite meaty treat is also partial to pairing with other foods.
But what exactly? Which snacks go with beef jerky, making your tastebuds sing and your salivary glands drool? Let’s find out.
Beer, Beer, And More Beer
Is beer a snack? Well, if you ask us, it is. Packed with plenty of brain-nourishing calories, this pale drink is the average Australian’s idea of heaven. It cools you down, lifts you up, and spins you around if you get enough of it.
With that said, when you pair beer’s bubbly deliciousness with beef jerky, something even more spiritually profound happens. All of a sudden, your troubles seem so far away. Beer drinking takes on a whole new level of significance.
The fact that beef jerky goes with beer shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. (After all, what doesn’t go with beer?) But all joking aside, the average Aussie can point to many delectable meat and alcohol pairings. What about steak and red wine? Chardonnay and chicken? Gin and oysters? They’re all classics.
Plus, beer gives you carbs with your protein. It’s almost enough nutrition to call it a full meal.
Boiled eggs – they sound boring. It’s what you feed kids when you’ve run out of ideas on a Thursday morning.
But when you add beef jerky, it’s like you’re sprinkling magical fairy dust on them. Dried chunks of meat turn the average boiled egg into a culinary masterpiece. You get the soft bounciness of the egg combined with the salty, chewy richness of the beef jerky, helping to season the entire dish. It’s the sort of combination dieters dream of. Add some mayo and a bit of Dijon mustard, and you have something that party guests will love, too.
Pay close attention next time you hit an Asian restaurant. Take a look at what the regulars are eating. You’ll notice something interesting. Most are gobbling sticky meats with fried rice. It’s delicious.
You can do something similar with beef jerky. The texture is already there. All you need is the fried rice to go with it. The extra carbs bring out the taste of the meat even more.
Making fried rice for beef is easy. Start off by preparing the sauce. To do this, combine sesame oil, water, sugar, soy sauce, MSG, white pepper and rice wine vinegar.
Next, scramble the eggs, yolks and all. After that, heat a wok over medium-high heat and add the oil and onions. Fry until they’re translucent and then add your fluffy cooked rice, using a spatula to flatten it into the pan and break up clumps.
Once the rice is warmed through, add the sauce and beef jerky and cook for around a minute more. Then add the scrambled eggs, garden peas and spring onions and continue cooking for a couple of minutes. Serve in a bowl with a side of chili oil.
What you’ve created is essentially an Asian classic with all the conventional flavors. It’s the perfect addition to a party spread.
Beef jerky is a salty, ultra-umami snack that carnivores love. But, as any chef will tell you, acid is also an essential component of any dining experience. That’s why so many recipes call for vinegar or lemon juice.
But what acid flavours can you add to a table with beef jerky?
Pickles, or pickled cucumbers, are one option. You can buy these in a jar or make them yourself. It only takes around four to five hours to pickle a cucumber.
Beware of gherkins, though. These can take up to 30 days to pickle all the way through.
If you prefer Asian pickles from places like Japan and Korea, you can pair these with beef jerky, too. Tsukemono (literally translated as “pickled thing”) are usually assemblages of radishes and root vegetables, pickled in some variety of rice bran, salt, soy sauce, and miso. Interestingly, these don’t require any vinegar. The microorganisms in the miso produce their acidic flavor naturally.
Just be warned: conventional Aussie pickles might clash with beef because of the dill they contain. Chilli, ginger and soy are all great jerky options, though.
And, finally, we inevitably come to cheese, perhaps the most epic beef jerky snack table pairing in existence (besides beer, of course). This cow udder-extracted product comes in practically every variety you can imagine, making it one of the most interesting foods to add to anything. You can just keep experimenting until you find something that you love. Add a few crackers, and you’re laughing.
If you like your beef jerky tender and soft, try pairing it with hard cheeses to contrast the texture. Good options include European gruyere, manchego, Emmental and cheddar. Eat these cheeses at room temperature for maximum effect.
On the other hand, if you like your jerky super dry, then go for soft cheeses. Garlic-roasted camembert, Brie, ricotta, cream cheese, and gorgonzola are all options. Soft cheeses add a creaminess that takes your jerky to a whole new level.
You can also try adjusting the strength of the cheese, or how long makers leave it to mature. Stronger cheeses provide a more intense experience and shift jerky flavours to the background. Milder cheeses make it easier to taste the beef. It’s all to do with personal preference.
So, which of these snacks will you be pairing with your next beef jerky table spread?