I found this bottle of "Cheriyaki" glaze, a cherry flavored teriyaki sauce, from World Harbors. It sounded SO good to me, that I had to try it with a batch of beef jerky.
I put my finger into the bottle and tasted it, and WOW! It's a tart, sweet, cherry flavored sauce, that ought to be awesome on beef jerky.
It's not a marinade, but it sounded too irresistible to not try as a marinade.
I also picked up a pound of beef top round, except this time I purchased a package of pre-sliced meat from my grocer's meat aisle. Normally, I would buy a whole slabs of top round, and slice it myself.
Making the Jerky
I threw all the meat into Ziploc bag and poured in about half-bottle of this marinade, and I let it sit for 36 hours.
After 36 hours, I laid the strips of beef on my BBQ grill, on the upper rack. I turned the heat all the way down. In fact, I only lit one burner.
Then I sprinkled on some "Szechuan Pepper" seasoning from McCormick's.
I let the meat sit 7 1/2 hours. The heat from the BBQ was very slight, otherwise this jerky dehydrated mostly under the sun. Air temperature today hit a high of about 90 degrees, but this sat under direct sunlight.
So how did it turn out?
Good. I don't really taste much of the cherry as I did from the original marinade. I do pick up a light fruity and tangy flavor, but it doesn't resemble cherry. As for the teriyaki, this doesn't taste like teriyaki. There is a sweetness and a light saltiness, but not what I'd call teriyaki.
Perhaps I need to marinate this in straight teriyaki marinade, and let it dehydrate until done. Then baste this Cheriyaki sauce on to the jerky, and let dehydrate for another hour.
I love the Szechuan Pepper seasoning. I only sprinkled a little bit on each piece, using my fingers. This adds a nice spicy flavor, with a little bit of hot, that seems to compliment the Cheriyaki marinade quite well.
It's still very light on salt. It could use more. Perhaps I need to add more into the marinade.
The natural meat flavors are light. I still can't figure out how to cultivate that flavor from jerky the way other manufacturers have done.
The meat is definitely done all the way through, but not overdone. It's soft, easy to eat, and has a really nice chewing texture.
Using beef top round that was pre-sliced by the grocer is problematic. First, they don't trim off all the fat and tendon. Second, they don't slice this in uniform widths, meaning these pieces dehydrate more quickly than others. It would be better to buy slabs of top round, and slicing it myself to ensure uniform dehydration.
I think this jerky came out good, not great but good. It just needs two things, one is to retain more of the tart, fruity cherry flavor, and two is to add more salt. The bonus is to cultivate more natural meat flavor.
Otherwise, I'm happy with this, considering I'm still a newbie at making my own jerky.