So here we are still distancing, wearing masks, and wondering when life will return to something resembling “normal.” To shake things up, I decided to make a batch of beef jerky.

I took some to White Stallion Ranch. That’s where we record the Cowboy Up Podcast and I thought I’d see what the production team thought of the finished product. I get a kick out of watching people’s reactions. They take a bite, and pretty soon a curious look crosses their face. That’s about the time the mind is trying to sort out the sweet and the hot. “Well, that’s different,” they might say. Hopefully they’ll end with an “oh boy, is that tasty.”

I’ve been making beef jerky for way too long to admit. Somewhere back in middle school, a cowboy at the Lazy B taught me his rudimentary process. Slice some beef with a sharp knife. Season it with salt and pepper. Loop the long, thin slices over a clothesline to dry in the Arizona sun for three or four days. The flies would find the meat, so when the strips came off the line, you were never sure if you were eating pepper or flyspecks, but no one much cared. The finished product ended up in a pillowcase propped up on a chair in the bunkhouse. The salty, leathery beef tasted especially good on horseback while out on the range driving cattle. If you’re supposed to chew your food thirty times, you had to chew that jerky at least three times longer.

Russell True, my podcast co-host and owner of White Stallion, decided that they better figure out how to make jerky so they can share it with their guests. They made their first batch and we taste-tested it the other day. The results? A resounding, “Oh boy, is that tasty.”

And when you get tired of turkey leftovers, stop on by for some jerky. It might become my version of sourdough. I’ll just keep making it.

Hang in there and Happy Thanksgiving!