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September 22, 2014

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Welcome to fabulous Jerkyville

A gas-station staple takes a star turn on the Strip

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Sarah Feldberg

Strip House’s beef jerky: a lowbrow snack turned scrumptious.

Strip House

  • Where: Inside Planet Hollywood, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
  • Contact: 737-5200

It started off as something of a joke — a swanky Strip steakhouse playing around with a decidedly lowbrow snack. But three or four months after Strip House executive chef John Schenk first whipped up a batch of beef jerky, the meaty chips have found their way onto the menu.

Of course, Schenk's jerky isn't what you imagine when you think of the bagged stuff available at the gas station. As Schenk puts it, it's not the "hard tack" that you might break a tooth on, not so "diner-lethal."

His incarnation — inspired by Lotus of Siam's Thai-style jerky — is fresh, tender even. Made from trimmings of the same prime steak that Strip House serves to diners off its regular menu, the beef jerky is pounded lightly and marinated for 24-36 hours in about a dozen ingredients, including soy sauce, coriander seeds, oyster sauce, curry powder, cilantro and thyme. It's baked briefly and deep-fried in goose fat to order, then served with grilled tomato, onion strings and Strip House's signature steak sauce for $11.

And it's dangerously good.

"This is probably the 16th version," said Schenk of the jerky recipe that eventually made it onto the Strip House menu and, after rolling out first at the Houston location, has been served in Las Vegas for about two weeks. It's selling well in New York, he added. "Jerky has a little more cachet there."

In Vegas, the recycled snack takes a little bit more of a sales pitch.

"It's not your iceberg salad," Schenk laughed.

Between the World of Concrete trade show in town and the Super Bowl crowds last weekend, it looked like a good moment for the steakhouse's new appetizer.

"Jerkyville," Schenk said, smiling.

— Originally published in Las Vegas Weekly

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