New Mexico Style Beef Jerkyhttp://www.bestbeefjerky.org.
When Sash and I got into New Mexico, we looked up a couple of the jerky brands based there and paid visits to them. Both Fatman's Jerky and Mike's Jerky are brands that have established themselves pretty well in the Land of Enchantment. Over the years, I've reviewed their products and established a professional relationship with them.
"Most people don't know this, but in New Mexico jerky is always sliced thin and dried crisp", says Mike Grier, owner of Mike's Jerky. "It's like eating potato chips."
Rick Robey, who owns Fatman's Jerky seems to agree, considering his jerky is also sliced thin and dried crisp. But he has another reason.
"You can't have any moisture remaining in the meat or else bacteria will grow", the former cattle rancher explained. "The USDA has strict guidelines on temperature and dehydration."
But there's a lot of jerky sold in stores that seems moist, soft, and tender. How do those other brands pass federal inspection?
"They're full of preservatives." Robey explained. "All that other stuff like Jack Links and Bridgford contains preservatives. That's why it chews like rubber and tastes like leather."
So to keep their jerky shelf-stable for several months, they dry it to a crisp.
"It's the way Indians made jerky in the old days", Grier said. "They sliced it thin so that it would dry in the sun more quickly, and it would keep for months. That same style continued from generation to generation and now that's the New Mexico style."
But both Grier and Robey don't rely on the sun to make jerky. They both use state of the art dehydrators in a clean, bug-free environment.
Eeah of them invited Sash and I into their stores, and gave us samples to taste. Robey gave us a tour of his facilities in Roswell and Hagerman, showing off his dehydrators, slicers, and tumblers.
There's a crunch to it when I bite into a piece from either brand, which seems to add to the overall snacking enjoyment. Once I start chewing, it seems to rehydrate and mesh into something that resembles eating a real piece of meat. Both do an excellent job of bringing out the flavors of green and red chiles, something that New Mexico is known for.
And isn't beef jerky the best road snack to keep in your motorcycle pack?
Both Fatman's Jerky and Mike's Jerky have stores where meat snackers can visit to replenish their supplies. Their jerky is also sold in stores all over New Mexico, as well as online.
1600 S Main St.
Roswell, NM 88203
Recommended flavors: Cowboy Style and Red Chile.
10900 Menaul Blvd NE, Suite H
Albuquerque, NM 87112
Recommended flavors: Green Chile and Bacon-flavored
|Mike Grier and Highway at Mike's Jerky in Albuquerque|
|Mike's Jerky has several different flavors, his most popular is Green Chile.|
|Mike's Jerky is sliced thin, dried crisp, and is light as a feather, yet very meaty. Fatman's Jerky is similar.|
|Rick Robey explains the complexities of USDA compliance.|
|These jerky dehydrators are about eight feet tall|
|Highway and Rick Robey, at his jerky facility in Hagerman, NM|
|Fatman's Jerky is located deep into cattle country, out in the middle of prairie.|