Which Bourbons Should You Drink With Beef Jerky?

It’s difficult to imagine a more American pairing than bourbon and jerky. The former is our native spirit, born of bluegrass. The latter conjures images of rugged cowboys roaming the open prairie. On the palate, they make perfect stablemates. The oak-imbued sweetness and spice of an aged whiskey meets its match in a dried meat with hefty overtures of pepper and lingering umami.

When it comes to both bourbon and jerky pairings, there is a dizzying array of options. Bourbon shelves are crammed with wheated, high rye and wine barrel–finished expressions, to name a few. The jerky market is perhaps even more dense, with nearly every kind of seasoning and meat imaginable. Certain combinations seem destined for one another.

So in honor of our country’s upcoming birthday, we’ve sourced the best local jerky and sussed out their most suitable, oak-aged sipping companions.

Jimmy’s Sticky Jerky Sweet Beef and Blanton’s Single-Barrel Bourbon

Made in the South Bay, Jimmy’s Sticky Jerky immerses its beef in inventive marinades prior to drying, with offbeat results. The Sweet Beef, a solid example, delivers hints of maple syrup, brown sugar and fresh ginger in every tender bite. It’s an exotic sweetness that finds its match in Blanton’s Single-Barrel Bourbon. The high concentration of corn in the whiskey merges with notes of vanilla and cinnamon from the barrel in which it sits for nearly half a decade. It finishes smooth as butterscotch. You’ll actually want to bite into the jerky first, introducing the maple and ginger, to prep the palate for the easygoing spirit to follow.

Which Bourbons Should You Drink With Beef Jerky?

Long Beach Jerky Company

Long Beach Jerky Company Buffalo Wing and Hooker’s House Sonoma-Style Bourbon

Long Beach Jerky Company‘s Alex Naticchioni has a lifelong obsession with buffalo wings. So it was only natural for him to incorporate the familiar flavor into his dried beef, which is available at dive bars and breweries throughout the L.A. area. Although the Long Beach Jerky co-founder recommends pairing his buffalo-wing-sauce-topped jerky with beer and football, it’s even better with a respectable bourbon. Made in Northern California, Hooker’s House is putting out one of the best wine barrel–finished bourbons on the market today. Its Sonoma-style spirit is 6-year-old Kentucky juice girded by an additional few months up north, resting in vintage pinot noir casks. Bold and curiously tangy, it unites two great flavors into one beautiful whole — much like the merger of beef jerky and buffalo wings.

Krave Jerky Basil Citrus Turkey Jerky and Maker’s 46

Juicier than normal jerky and lighter in mouthfeel, Krave’s Basil Citrus Turkey Jerky is clearly an outlier in the realm of dried beef (mainly since it’s not beef at all). It’s only fair, then, that its ideal sipping companion is a bourbon-world outlier: Maker’s 46. Part of the Maker’s Mark portfolio, Maker’s 46 is a wheated whiskey finished with seared French oak staves. The tweaking adds a layer of earthiness to the caramel-like qualities for which traditional Maker’s is known. Crisp, marginally herbaceous properties of the basil and citrus provide a sensible parallel. They bring out the best in each other.

Peppered beef jerky

Dried and True Peppered Beef Jerky and Buffalo Trace Bourbon

Venice’s own Dried and True Beef Jerky is notable for its thick, chewy consistency. Produced without nitrites and sourced from California cattle, the beef hardly needs enhancement. The peppered variety lets the meat take centerstage, adding only a subtle layer of spice to tickle the tongue. These same notes are echoed in a proper dram of Buffalo Trace, a Kentucky bourbon renowned for the gentle rye notes it imparts in its lingering finish. A hearty chunk of the peppered beef plays as perfect chaser.

 

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The perfect gifts for the whiskey lover

There’s nothing cozier than enjoying dark spirits like whiskey around the holidays.

When the time comes to buy gifts for the whiskey lover in your life, you’ll have a wide variety of stocking stuffers and bottles to choose from.

We’ve put together a collection of gifts that are sure to please whiskey drinkers, from the best go-to bottles out there to treats that have been infused with the rich drink.

Just sit back, pour, and enjoy:

 

Add to their bucket list.

Whiskey expert Ian Buxton reveals the whiskeys that enthusiasts should seek out around the world, from America and Sweden to Japan and Scotland.

“Awesome sauce for even the slightest of whiskey nerds … completely worth picking up,” LiquorSnob.com raved in their review of the book

Price: $9.99 (ebook), $10.33 (paperback), $17.29 (hardcover)

Keep their whiskey perfectly chilled.

Keep their whiskey perfectly chilled.

Amazon

While some whiskey drinkers like their cup chilled, no one likes it watered down. Avoid the mishap altogether with these Vermont-milled stones made by the oldest soapstone workshop in the US.

Just add in three stones, let them stand for five minutes, and enjoy your perfectly chilled drink.

Price: $19.99

Help them count down the days to Christmas in a more adult way.

Help them count down the days to Christmas in a more adult way.

Master of Malt

This adults-only Advent calendar brings some holiday fun back into the picture, with 24 windows each housing a different whisky variety.

Highlights from this year’s calendar include a rare 50-year-old Scotch, an award-winning Japanese whisky, and the drink that was named the World’s Best Blended Whisky at the World Whiskies Awards last year.

Price: $193

Make their cocktails portable.

Make their cocktails portable.

Facebook/Carry On Cocktail Kit

Ideal for the whiskey drinker who’s also a frequent traveler, this compact cocktail kit comes with everything needed to craft two Old Fashioned cocktails mid-flight.

The kit comes with a recipe card, spoon and muddler, linen coaster, aromatic bitters, cane sugar, and a carry-on tin. The only thing you’ll need to get is the alcohol itself. 

Price: $20.95

Inspire them to get to work in the kitchen.

Southern chef and James Beard Award winner John Currence delivers 130 recipes that pair well with whiskey.

Whether the recipe calls for boiling, pickling, muddling, or baking, Currence’s book will inspire the reader to cook up a storm.

Price: $9.99 (ebook), $29.69 (hardcover)

Stock their home bar.

Stock their home bar.

Amazon

Having the perfect cocktail recipe doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have all the tools to mix them with.

This Cuisine Prefere Stainless Steel Barware Tool Set comes with everything you need to whip up top-notch cocktails, including a shaker, double jigger, strainer, stirrer, ice tongs, and a set of nine whisky stones.

Price: $25

Keep their belongings safe and clean.

Keep their belongings safe and clean.

Etsy

These coasters, which were made out of retired bourbon barrels, will protect valuable furniture from liquor marks.

They come in sets of four, and users say the condensation from glasses often combines with the wood to release a sweet smell of whiskey.

Price: $39.99

Get them a tasting glass so they can sip like the pros.

Glencairn tasting glasses are used by master blenders around the world.

They have a tapering mouth (which allows for easy drinking while maintaining essential aromas), a wide bowl (which allows for an elegant display of the liquor’s color), and a solid base (which makes them easy to hold).

Price: $16.40 (set of two)

Make spilled drinks a thing of the past.

Make spilled drinks a thing of the past.

Home Wet Bar

These double old-fashioned glasses have a base that allows them to roll without tipping or spilling.

They can even be engraved.

Price$29.95 (set of six)

Add some natural spices to their drinks.

These bitters are excellent in Old Fashioneds, as well as other cocktails made with whiskey.

They have been aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels to pack a ton of flavor, including the bitterness of natural gentian root, the sweetness of cherries, and subtle notes of spice.

Price: $15.41

Splurge on a limited-edition bottle.

The Glenrothes’ hallmarks are quality and purity, and this 1979 vintage whisky with delicate peaty undertones is sure to please the pickiest of drinkers.

Approved on September 17, 1994 and bottled in 1995, the matured whisky includes flavors that range from fruity to spicy.

Price: $461.79

Take their liquor cabinet up a notch.

Decanters are a great option for displaying liquors elegantly. Those made with high-quality materials will last well throughout the years, and there’s a wide variety of shapes to choose from.

We recommend this decanter for a classic piece that holds around 26 ounces.

Price: $195

Get them their new favorite bottle of whisky.

If you’re looking for a go-to bottle of whisky that won’t break the bank, Johnnie Walker Blue Label is a good choice. The blend of rare malts from hand-selected casks across Scotland has an elegant smoky finish.

The whiskies used to compose Blue Label are specially selected from Johnnie Walker reserves, and only one in about 10,000 casks is typically deemed adequate.

Price: $219

Get everything they need in one box.

Get everything they need in one box.

Man Crates

Give them a box that has all of the essentials, including two personalized, heavy-bottom rock glasses, two Tovolo ice sphere molds, two slate coasters, and a “33 Drams Of Whiskey” drinking journal.

Packed in a sealed wooden crate with a laser-etched crowbar, the box also comes with snacks like spiced peppercorn peanuts, salted pistachios, and cranberry pecans.

Price: $99.99

 

 

Homemade Harissa (Spicy Red Pepper Sauce) Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 whole roasted red peppers seeds removed*
  • 2 dried ancho chilies*
  • 1 dried chile de arbol*
  • 2 in chipotle chiles adobo*
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 clove garlic peeled + smashed
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Place the dried chiles in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over top the chiles. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes until the chiles are softened. Reserve chile water.
  2. Once chiles are softened, cut top off the chiles and remove the seeds from inside. Add to the bowl of a food processor or blender, along with the chipotle chiles in adobo, garlic and lemon juice.
  3. Purée, slowly pouring in the olive oil to thicken the sauce. If desired add 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved chile water to thin the sauce a bit (I did not do this). Season to taste with salt and extra lemon juice.
  4. The Harissa will keep refrigerated for a few weeks.

Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium sized saucepan combine all ingredients well. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a heat safe container (mason jars work well for this).

Tabasco Releases Scorpion Sauce, It’s Hottest Sauce Yet

Renowned brand of hot sauce Tabasco, debuts its hottest sauce yet, which they’re simply calling Scorpion Sauce — nearly 20 times hotter than their popular Original Red Sauce.

With a lineup now totaling eight varieties, that also includes Green Jalapeno Sauce, Chipotle Sauce, Buffalo-Style Sauce, Habañero Pepper Sauce, Garlic Pepper Sauce, Sweet & Spicy Sauce and Sriracha Sauce — this latest addition is a limited edition condiment boasting red-hot ingredients that combines scorpion peppers with guava, pineapple, and a dash of original Tabasco. According to the company, the result is “a tangy sauce with untamed heat and a touch of Caribbean sweetness.”

For those of you willing to burn your mouth away, Tabasco’s Scorpion Sauce is available starting today at the brand’s online shop, and at the company’s headquarters in Avery Island, Louisiana.

Salsa Verde Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound fresh tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 serrano pepper (or 2 jalapeño peppers), stem removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup diced white onion
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Rinse and dry the tomatillos.  Then spread the tomatillos out evenly on a baking sheet (I recommend lining it with foil for easy cleanup), along with the serrano pepper.  Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the tomatillos start to brown on top and are cooked through.
  3. Remove from the oven, and transfer the tomatillos and serrano pepper to a blender or food processor.  Add the garlic, cilantro, onion, lime juice, salt, and cumin (if using) to the blender or food processor, and pulse the mixture until it reaches your desired consistency.  (Always be careful when blending hot mixtures, as they expand while blending.)  Taste and season with extra salt and/or cilantro if needed.
  4. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 5 days.

 

Here Are A Dozen Awesome Hot Dog Toppings To Make Your 4th Pop

Summer is here. It’s time to do what men do: grill meat. That often includes some hot dogs, which is good because the hot dog is almost universally liked, generally fits anywhere on the grill, and is idiot proof. C’mon, has anyone ever messed up a hot dog on the grill? Here’s the best part though, people: there are way more ways to make a hot dog awesome than just squeezable condiments. Just ketchup or mustard? You’re better than that. We fired up the grill to share with you 12 outrageous (and delicious) hot dog toppings:

The Breakfast Hot Dog

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Tater tots
  • Salt/Pepper

The (Almost) Reuben

  • Sauerkraut
  • Brown mustard (or Thousand Island dressing)
  • Corned beef
  • Swiss cheese

Chicago Style

  • Pickles
  • Tomato slices
  • Sport peppers
  • Yellow mustard
  • Celery salt
  • Atomic relish (regular relish is fine too)

Philadelphia #1

  • Pepper hash
  • Brown mustard

Hot Dog Parmesan

  • Marinara sauce
  • Provolone cheese

Michigan Style

  • Chili sauce (or chili without beans)
  • Whiz
  • Diced onions
  • Brown mustard

Greek Style

  • Sliced cucumber
  • Sliced grape tomatoes
  • Diced onions
  • Black olives
  • Feta cheese
  • Tzatziki

Peanut Butter Hot Dog

  • Peanut butter

Asian Style

  • Sriracha mayo
  • Pickled cucumber slices
  • Sesame seeds

Mac & Cheese

  • Kraft mac & cheese (or homemade, some other brand, etc.)

Chili Dog

  • Chili
  • Crushed Fritos corn chips
  • Jalapeno slices
  • Grated cheddar cheese

Philadelphia #2

  • Fish cakes
  • Diced onions
  • Brown mustard

Cocoa-Coffee Steak Marinade for Grilling Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup (235ml) hot, strong brewed coffee
  • 1/2 ounce (15g) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) kosher salt
  • Pinch chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • About 2 to 3 pounds (900g to 1.4kg) steak of your choice

INSTRUCTIONS1.

  1. Stir together coffee, chocolate, sugar, salt, and chili powder or cayenne, until chocolate is fully melted and sugar and salt are fully dissolved. Let cool.
  2. Transfer marinade to a large zipper-lock bag, add steak, press out air from bag, and seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. When ready to cook, remove steak from marinade, blot dry with paper towels, and grill as desired.

Upstate New York’s Special Barbecue Sauce

IN 1950, ROBERT C. BAKER, a professor at Cornell University, published Cornell Cooperative Extension Information Bulletin 862, which changed summer in upstate New York forever. Entitled “Barbecued Chicken and Other Meats,” the bulletin describes a simple vinegar-based sauce that can be used to turn broilers—chickens raised for their meat rather than their eggs—into juicy, delicious barbecue heaven.

At the time, this was an innovation. When Americans ate meat, they preferred beef and pork, and the poultry industry was just beginning to increase production. As an agricultural extension specialist, part of Baker’s job was to convince Americans to eat chicken. Before he passed away in 2006, he invented chicken bologna, chicken hot dogs, chicken salami, and, most famously, a prototype chicken nugget.

Cornell Chicken Barbecue Sauce, though, was his first great triumph, and what he is best known for in upstate New York. All summer, every summer, Cornell Barbecue Chicken features at backyard parties and family get-togethers. Younger generations of Finger Lake residents don’t even recognize this as a regional specialty so much as the default way to cook chicken outdoors. “Every fund-raising event, every fire department cookout, every little league barbecue, must serve this recipe or nobody would come,” writes barbecue expert Meathead Goldwyn.

Baker’s recipe is simple enough—oil, cider vinegar, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, and egg—and delicious. Goldwyn “fell in love with this recipe in a hurry,” and Saveur called the result “one of the juiciest, most complex barbecued chickens we’ve ever tasted.” Gary Jacobson, of the Texas BBQ Posse, writes that “the sauce has been a barbecue mainstay for me” for 40 years.

The egg is a key ingredient. It helps the sauce stick to the chicken, as the albumin denatures and binds to the chicken skin, and it keeps the oil and vinegar emulsified together. The version of the recipe Cornell keeps online adds a caution about egg safety and suggests that anyone making a large batch of sauce “can use pasteurized eggs for an extra margin of safety.”

In the 1950s, this wasn’t a concern. The original bulletin notes that leftover sauce can be stored, refrigerated, for several weeks. But locals took that even further. A family friend of mine, Julie Carpenter, recalls her first encounter with the chicken, as a senior at Cornell, with a boyfriend who grew up in the area. “It was the best chicken I ever had,” she writes. When she heard about the recipe from her boyfriend’s dad, she worried about the raw egg but figured the vinegar would kill off any microbes. “I then watched him strain the used marinade, boil it, put it into a jar, add a bit more vinegar and seasoning, and put it back into the fridge,” she writes. “I almost puked. When I mentioned my concern, he said, ‘Oh no. That’s the beauty of this marinade—the vinegar kills everything.’ This didn’t stop me from eating it again in the future. And I met many other folks who did the same thing.”

The way Baker told the story, he first came up with the idea of the chicken barbecue when he worked at Penn State and the governor came to visit. When he went to Cornell a short while later, he started putting on barbecues regularly, enlisting his family and the young men who worked with him at Cornell as basters and turners. “My father was quite a promoter,” says Dale Baker, the eldest of Baker’s six children. “He would have me and others go out in high school and cook for groups.” Roy Curtiss, who worked with Baker as a Cornell undergraduate, remembers killing and butchering chickens the basement of Rice Hall, on campus, freezing them, and using them all summer long to create barbecues for 50 to 100 people.

“We’d charge them a buck and half, for a roll, and ear of corn and half a chicken,” Curtiss says. All summer, they set up for church groups and farm bureaus, toting collapsible grates in the back of a pickup truck, all around the Ithaca area. “It was very popular,” he says. “People would hear about this, and think it was a great alternative to hamburgers and hot dogs.”

One of the key features of Baker’s published strategy was that it scaled. These big barbecues required batches of sauce held in 12-quart pans, and the helpers used wallpaper brushes to baste the chicken. “We had these arrangements—a person on either side. You had grates that you could put one on top of the other and flip them all at one time,” says Curtiss. “It was a real production. You would have people going down the line basting, and you would have guys turning, and you would repeat the process. The pits were sometimes 50, 60 feet long.” Curtiss once worked a barbecue for 5,000 people. He also helped create the chart in Bulletin 862 that shows how to scale up an entire chicken dinner, including suggested sides of coleslaw, scalloped potatoes, coffee, and ice cream from 5 to 300 people.

Perhaps the most ambitious use of the sauce, though, has been at Baker’s Chicken Coop, the barbecue stand Baker started in the 1950s at the New York State Fair. (His daughter still operates it today.) “We would cook, when I was younger, 22, 23,000 half-chickens in 10 or 11 days. It was a pretty big thing,” says Dale Baker. When he finished college, he and his dad estimated how many half-chickens they had cooked up until that point in time. It was more than a million.

Later in his career, Baker created products that were mass-produced and sold at grocery stores around the country. Cornell Chicken Barbecue Sauce never made it that big, though. “At one point in life, he put it in aerosol spray cans and tried to sell the spray cans,” says Dale. “They had to do a fair amount of research to get it so it wouldn’t clog up …. That was not a money maker.” Still, for Baker, creating the sauce and the chicken barbecue tradition of upstate New York was one of his greatest accomplishments. “I think for him this was the thing he probably took the greatest pride in,” says Dale. “It went way back to the start of his career. For whatever reason—if you asked him, I think chicken barbecue would have been top of his list.”

Pickle Juice Mop Sauce Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 1 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Use sauce as a barbecue baste. Baste on pork or chicken during last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve extra sauce warm on the side.