Cuba Libre Beef Jerky

Rum and Cola Jerky

You know Cuba Libre, right?  It means “Free Cuba” and it’s a cocktail created at the beginning of last century on the occasion of the liberation of the Caribbean island from Spanish rule, thanks to the support of the United States. It combines two symbols of the two countries, Coca Cola and Rum, with a splash of lime in one glass. Do you then know jerky? You’ve definitely seen it in many movies or any store you’ve met in the States if you’ve got the chance to go there. It is basically dry meat, born for conservative purposes and then became one of the most popular snacks. If you have tasted it, you know how irresistible it is: you would never stop eating it.

Well, one day I came across a recipe in which the flesh for the jerky is marinated in the Coca Cola and casually, just a few days after, in one where rum is added to the brine. I immediately took the opportunity to make a version in which the two concepts came together, a bit like the creation of Cuba Libre.

Ok, pet’s do now a bit of brainstorming about a couple of focus points:

The Meat – The cut traditionally used by almost everyone who makes Jerky is the eye round, although I have seen sporadically even sirloin or even flank steak. The movie I made is that this attempt is aimed at exasperating the degree of marbling of a tendency lean cut like the eye round that probably in American standards represents the right balance for that. So I thought of using a US eye round, specifically a Black Omaha.

The Cut – I notice two currents of thought. The first one wants the Jerky to be Chewy, as I think it was the product originally. The second one wants it to be Easy Bite, which is more like a snack. The difference is how the eye round is cut: along fiber cut generates Chewy Jerky, a across cut generates Jerky’s easy bite. I also found a third way, less beaten and figured if I did not choose it: cut the meat diagonally over the fiber, trying to get a mixed effect between the two

The Taste – I have tasted in the States some very hot jerky, spicy or glutamate loads. On the contrary, I would like something very simple, which could almost eat children. I will not add rub but only to the brine, I will use a spicy and aromatic component like that of the chipotle and I will play it all on the umami factor of coca cola and rum. As only disgression I will proceed with a rum barrels chunks smoking, to stay in the theme.

Ingredients (for 6 people):

1 Black Omaha America Angus Eye Round
1 glass of Coke
1/3 glass of Soy Sauce
1/3 glass of Amber Rum
1/4 glass of Honey
25 gr. of Salt
1 adobe Chipotle
2 teaspoons of BPS Cukoo Racha rub
4 gr. Instacure #1

Ingredienti Jerky


  1. A very useful trick I’ve read in the net and then proceeding to make very regular slices by hand, nor thin neither thick, is to leave the eye round half an hour in a freezer before slicing. I then trimmed the membrane ring and excess fat (though I must say that the Black Omaha is already practically perfect) and then I put it to the frost. When shooting out is actually pretty hard and the cut is really simple. As said we’ll go with diagonal cutting than fibers. I then proceed to cut each slice in the middle for the long until almost divide it completely. You will understand why later.
    Taglio Jerky
    Taglio Jerky
  2. I crumble the Chipotle in Adobo and are ready to prepare the seasoning. I know it’s hard to find here, alternatively you can use chipotle sauce, chipotle barbecue sauce or even just a simple barbecue sauce. Emulsify everything, put the slices in a double frost bag and head it in. In the brine I also put a couple of teaspoons of a rub I adore, the Big Cukoo Racha by Big Poppa Smokers, with a present but not invasive kick, really nice. I close by removing the air, to let the seasoning come into contact with all the meat. With my hand I smooth the content to make sure it comes into contact with all the contents and then put in the refrigerator to rest for 24 h.
    Salamoia Jerky
    Salamoia Jerky
  3. The next day I drain the meat from the brine and let the slices dry between two sheets of Butcher Paper for the time to put one liter of water into my WSM47 water pan and heat just over half a chimney of briquettes. I’ve always read on the net that it is important not to suspend slices of jerky in contact with the meshes of the net because they transmit too much heat. The slices must then hang on long wooden skewers resting on the grill and that is why we divided them in that way. I stabilize the smoker at 80°C and throw two chunks of rum barrel on the coals. There is no a true cooking time and obviously I can not use probe thermometers. The jerky is ready when it’s dry but it’s still flexible. In our case it took 2 and a half hours.
    Asciugatura Jerky
    Asciugatura Jerky
    Asciugatura Jerky
  4. Took off by the smoker, the jerky has a slightly oily look. I placed it on a chopping board, let it dry for ten minutes and it reached an inviting and rich look.
    Cuba Libre Jerky
    Cuba Libre Jerky

Conclusione: The consistency was wonderful: it was chewing but never tiring, really fantastic. The delicate, very fragrant, delicious taste of those who would make you eat a pound without realizing it, maybe just not suitable for those who love of jerky the strong feelings. I wanted to bring an abundant dose of Cuba Libre Jerky to BardoQ, this weekend’s date of our competitive BBQ calendar, but it will not be possible: on two nights my girls have finished it all. So if you want to try it, then you have to replicate it. You do not feel a bit at Cuba?

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