How did I become acquainted with the glorious dried meat that is SlantShack Beef Jerky? I was speaking with the good folks at Open Sky, a site that pulls together entrepreneurs and those who like to purchase thoughtfully selected goods, about a collaboration. One problem. They don’t sell wine.
But, thankfully, they do sell food. So Open Sky was kind enough to send me a foodstuff of my choosing. I gravitated towards beef jerky. Why? Some of my fondest food memories revolve around it. No, not Slim Jim. (Though, RIP Randy “Macho Man” Savage. “Art Thou Bored?” forever.) While attending Grinnell College in the early 90’s, I used to hang around a house named Paul’s Boutique. (If you don’t get the the name of the house, you need to go buy this album now and listen to it 1000 times. Then you will be able to drop science like, say, Galileo dropped the orange.) One of the guys who lived there, Chris, would get a package from his Grandma on occasion that contained homemade venison jerky. Now, only familiar with WWF-approved jerky tubes, I was first shocked that it actually resembled meat. And eating it provided a workout that made your jaw sore. And you were thankful for it, as it was so incredibly delicious.
At the time it was washed down with many a Milwaukee’s Best Light. But, with apologies to Beast Light, although my appreciation of fine jerky has not waned, my choice of beverage has evolved. Enter Lambrusco. Just like beef jerky, our minds and palates have been swayed by the omnipresent and unsatisfying. No more! Very lightly sweet, fizzy, purple Lambrusco is fantastic with a variety of meat, from grilled to cured to dried. (Note: bone-dry Lambrusco is also available.) But we’re focusing on the latter, which has a great concentration of meaty flavor in a highly seasoned form. This became evident as I tore into each Lambrusco-loving flavor of SlantShack beef jerky at my disposal:
- Original with Vermont Maple Glaze
- Hot and Smoky with Garlic Powder Rub
- Hot and Smoky with Spicy Pepper Glaze and Redrub
My Lambrusco of choice for this jerky jaunt, provided as a sample, was the Opera 02 Amabile. And let me stress again that the sweetness here is a simple, subtle suggestion. Imagine the lightest of breezes propelling you along a jerky-paved country road. That sweetness really works wonderfully with the latter two SlantShack flavors, as it tames the garlic and washes away a bit of that Redrub heat to get you ready for one thing: More. Jerky.
I could see spending many a Sunday afternoon enjoying the perfect match of jerky and wine. And hey, no fancy wine glass needed. Drink it out of a tumbler. It makes for a safer environment when it comes to long, emotional hours of NFL or whatever gridiron or sports action you prefer. More of an outdoors-y, picnic person? Much easier to pack an old jelly jar into a basket than your crystal stemware.
So that’s my story about jerky involving a small liberal arts college in Iowa, the Beastie Boys, and a benevolent grandmother from Minnesota.
Note: OpenSky provided me with free jerky as well as the above affiliate link. I do think the jerky is most excellent, and Lambrusco only intensifies the fabulous factor. It’s like 1+1=3.