Tampa, Florida, might not be the first place you'd look to find khlii, Moroccan-style air-dried beef and lamb.
But Casablanca-born Hicham Tadlaoui, who works as webmaster for a car dealership, has been making and selling batches of the jerky-like meat for the past year.
After marinating beef top round and lamb leg for 24 to 36 hours in a mixture of cumin, garlic, coriander, salt and white vinegar, Tadaoui departs from tradition by drying the meat in a dehydrator rather than in the open air and sun, as is the custom in North Africa.
Seventy-two hours later, the air-dried meat emerges from the dehydrator and is then cooked until supple in a mixture of tallow, olive oil and water.
About six months into his khlii experimentation, Tadlaoui learned that his grandfather, who died when Tadlaoui was two, produced the trademark meat for Morocco's royal family. "I inherited a family legacy I didn't know existed," he says.
When asked how to cook with the meat, Tadlaoui first suggests Moroccan recipes, mostly soups and stews. But then, in a nod to his relocation to America, he suggests serving it alongside eggs, for breakfast, in place of bacon.
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