Jerky Tasting

This summer’s trip is going to be different. Of the six or seven weeks we’ll be gone, we’ll be camping 17 of the nights​. I have never pretended that this is a plan I am ok with. I have camped something like 8 nights in my life and I’m not really looking to add to that number. Last year we camped 4 nights. We had planned on doing 5 nights, but I threw a big enough temper tantrum that we booked a last minute hotel one of the nights. Of the 4 nights last year, we were able to enjoy a delicious, hot dinner at nearby restaurants​ prior to settling in for the night. The one night at Hovenweep National Monument was too remote for a juicy burger, so we bought fine cheeses, a variety of meats, crackers, a nice bottle of wine and ate it our car. It worked.

This year is different. I’m not sure what family Zak thought​ he was traveling with when he planned the trip, but we are looking at 17 nights of camping. The trickier part is that a handful of them are part of a string of two or three camping nights in a row. (I’ve never been away from a porcelain toilet that long.) We’ll be doing a lot of hiking on the days surrounding the camping, so we’ll be responsible for bringing in all our own food and making dinner. The snaffu, you ask? We won’t have a camp stove. We’ve decided we don’t want the extra weight. And even if we were ok with it, there is no way that I am eating dehydrated chicken fettuccine alfredo. Not going to happen.

The question I’ve been asking for months is what are we going to eat for dinners on these nights. Ideally, I’d want a juicy burger and a cold beer. My boss/the girls’ principal/our camping guru introduced us to Pat’s Backcountry Beverages, a system to rehydrate beer tablets and add carbonation. So we’ve got that covered, but the burger. We’ve come up with nothing. There isn’t a substitute for a family that makes this intense of a burger just because it is National Pretzel Day:

We just simply aren’t going to be able to replicate that in the middle of nature with no heat source. We hemmed and hawed and all agreed that we like beef jerky enough. It has the protein we’ll need and can travel well. Will it be enough to fill me up and keep me happy? Unlikely. But the rest of the family seems to think it will work well enough.

If you’ve read any of this blog, you probably know that we wouldn’t go out and buy beef jerky without a more thorough investigation. That led us to today. We bought four brands of beef jerky and put them through the rigor of an intense tasting.

Molly’s judge notes
Zak’s judge notes
Ellie’s judge notes
Zoe’s judge notes

Although all brands had their positives and negatives, it was fairly clear that Chef’s Cut will be the official beef jerky of RTXVII.

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