Most people already know how beef jerky is made due to the hard fact that it’s a pretty straightforward process. For those that don’t know or are still curious – keep reading because Juan Velasquez, proprietor of GTO Beef Jerky, has allowed me to document his way of producing his high quality product step-by-step.
Juan starts out strong with 16-18 pounds of inside round, USDA Grade Choice or higher beef raised in the USA. Most jerky is made with lower quality Standard or Commercial grade beef which is from older stock where tenderness and marbling is lacking – but not this stuff as the proof is in the final product.
First, the inside round is trimmed of any excess fat throughout and is consistently sliced to ~6 mm where the beef can become thin and [auth] crispy but not too thick to prevent prolonging the dehydration process.
After the inside round is sliced, the “slabs” of thinly portioned beef are carefully laid out flat and evenly spaced onto wire racks so that the end product remains consistent and there are no issues within the process of dehydration.
The meat is then seasoned with only 2 or 3 ingredients depending on which kind is being prepared. No artificial preservatives, sweeteners or ingredients on this jerky. For the original flavored jerky, a good dash of garlic salt and a light spritz of liquid smoke is all that’s needed to let the true star of the end product shine – the quality beef. The garlic salt is there for 2 reasons: to flavor the meat but to also aid in preservation. The liquid smoke to add flavor, but not too much is used as this can counter the dessication process. For the hot variety, a generous amount of red chile flake is thrown on to make sure you’re awake during consumption.
When the meat is fully cured, we’re able to officially call it beef jerky. It is then taken off the racks and placed in their respective bins for retail at his shop on 109 E McGaffey St. Every day of the week, GTO Beef Jerky processes over 30 pounds of inside round to yield more than 10 pounds of jerky. GTO will accommodate any amount, big or small, but just know that it’s better to go big because if not, you’ll be making another trip very soon.
GTO also prepares carne machaca or “meat floss”, which is essentially shredded beef jerky which resembles snuff or dip. It’s used in flautas, tacos, burritos and the most traditional: eggs, onions and peppers. It can also be added to micheladas to add a rich, beefy flavor. They also sell Mexican confections of sorts as well as bottled drinks to wash the salted goods down.
GTO Beef Jerky
109 E McGaffey St
Mon – Fri 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sat 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
FREE Mexican Coca-Cola (real cane sugar) with purchase of 1/2 lb. beef jerky when you mention this ad.