What is DRIED BEEF?
Dried beef is also known as chipped beef. It’s a type of beef that has been salt-cured, partially dried, and thinly sliced. This cured meat can be enjoyed as an appetizer, snack, or main dish. Although dried beef is an ancient product, it remains a very obscure meat product in many parts of the country. You’re in for a treat if you have never tried dried beef!
Smoked dried beef can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is the ultimate comfort food and something you should try for the first or second time.
What is DRIED BEEF MADE OF?
To make dried beef, any lean beef can easily be cured. Because fat compromises preservation, meat makers will remove any excess fat from the cut. Some dried beef is made from cut-up beef, which is then pressed together and sliced. Others are made from whole cuts of meat. S. Clyde Weaver’s famed dried beef is made from high-quality beef knuckles. This is a lean cut of the round primal cut.
Dried beef is not seasoned like sausages or other types of cured meats. It contains only healing agents that give it a salty taste. Dried beef can be smoked to enhance its flavor. It is a beautiful addition to many dishes because of its full-bodied, smoky, salty, and meaty taste. It can also be enjoyed straight out of the packaging.
HOW IS DRIED BEEF MADE
Although dried beef undergoes a drying process, it will not be as dry as jerky. Chipped meat can also be preserved by salting. Each maker has a different approach, and it has changed over time. You can also press dried beef before it is cut. This results in thin, flexible cuts of meat with a full-bodied, pungent taste. It is presliced and packaged in plastic bags, jars, or cans.
S. Clyde Weaver used large quantities of salt to cure his beef knuckles for several weeks. The knuckles were soaked in salt to reduce the salt content and then smoked to enhance the flavor. Other makers today are more inclined to use liquid cures that instantly penetrate beef and cure it.
Some dried beef products can be smoked. However, smoking is a popular way of adding flavor to the product. Although many manufacturers may artificially add a smoke flavor to the product, some artisanal businesses like S. Clyde Weaver still use traditional smoking as the meat dries.
DRIED BEEF: THE HISTORY
Since ancient times, people have preserved meat using drying. Over the years, salting has been a popular method of preservation. The salting core removes moisture so that bacteria, fungi, and autolytic enzymes cannot react with it. Curing meat was vital to ensure it lasted and prevent any waste. Even though fresh meat was not readily available, people had easy access to meat products.
Although we have more access to freezers and refrigerators, preserved meats are still very popular. The popularity of dried beef is less well-known than other dried and preserved products, especially for those living outside of Pennsylvania, where the product is believed to have originated. You can still find chipped beef meals in some Pennsylvania homes and restaurants.
Although it is not clear when Pennsylvanians began making dried beef, we know that it was popularized in the United States military in the 20th Century. Even though the meat was served in the Navy, many people still associate it with the Army. Dried beef was used in military cooking because it was inexpensive, flavorful, and high in protein. The 1910 edition was the first of two World War I military-issued cookbooks. It featured recipes for creamed chips and beef on toast.
Similar recipes were available for creamed sliced beef. Chipped beef on toast was a popular choice. It was often called S.O.S. by soldiers, which stood to represent several phrases such as “save our stomachs,” the “same old thing,” and “stew on a shingle,” or a cruder term of endearment. Many soldiers considered S.O.S. to be an essential part of their military experience.
S.O.S. S.O.S. was often served as breakfast. Soldiers away from home loved the hot, salty, and flavorful meal. This dish is still a favorite among many today, especially veterans and others who love the comforting feeling of creamed chipped beef. There are many ways to serve chipped beef, but this creamy recipe is the most popular.