After breakfast, the cook handed out dried meat along with corn fitters or biscuits to the working cowboys to eat while on the trail. The cattle drives where long and hard hours in the saddle. Jerky was an easy item to make preserving the food so it could last weeks. The cook would move forward in the cattle drive looking for the next water hole and camp site. They didn’t stop for lunch as this meal was eaten from the seat of your work saddle.

On the camp trail, strips of beef could be hung to air dry or placed near the camp fire over night. The cook getting up early could check the process. However, the cook had many responsibilities other than just feeding the crew, so taking extra time away to make special treats, desserts and even jerky was not a daily task.


• 2 lbs. beef; eye of round, top round, or flank steak
• 1⁄ 2 cup Worcestershire
• 1⁄ 2 cup soy sauce
• 1 T. sorghum (or brown sugar or molasses)
• 1 t. onion powder
• 1⁄ 2 t. garlic powder
• 1⁄ 2 t. ground coriander
• 1⁄ 2 t. ancho or jalapeño powder
• 1⁄ 4 t. ground cumin
• 1 t. Liquid Smoke (optional; Sullivan prefers smoking naturally)


1. Trim meat of excess fat and sinew, and place meat in freezer for 1 to 2 hours, or until firm. Thinly slice meat against the grain, in long strips 1/8- to 1/16-inches-thick. Place in a one-gallon Ziploc bag.

2. Mix the remaining ingredients together, pour into bag, and seal. Move meat around to evenly distribute all of the ingredients and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours.

3. Remove meat and pat dry. Spray dehydrator mats or oven racks with non-stick spray. Evenly lay meat directly on racks without overlapping and leaving space between each slice. Put racks in dehydrator, and follow manufacturer’s directions.

4. If using an oven, preheat to 160 F to 180 F degrees, and position racks in middle of oven. Place a baking sheet underneath to catch drippings. Crack the oven door open with a fork, or else the meat will steam. The meat should be turned periodically for even drying. The jerky should be done after 5 to 6 hours, depending upon thickness of the slices. It should look leathery and tear with ease, and will become brittle if over dried. Cool completely before placing in bags or jars.

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