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  #1  
Old 05-02-2017, 03:05 PM
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Default Jerky Question

So I love whole meat Jerky and usually have venison made into some each year by a local venison butcher. But I like doing things myself so I had a lot of venison this past hunting season cut into jerky meat so I can make my own.

Got my propane smoker in December and the first thing I tried in it was making jerky. Boy what a fail that was. Live and learn though right?

Tried two batches.

First was a Con Yeager jerky kit. Followed the instructions and marinated over night.

Second was a homemade marinade from a friend. Soy sauce, Worcestershire, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Notice his recipe did not use a cure salt. So i went to a local butcher shop and purchased a pack of cure (it was Con Yeager) and added a teaspoon I believe. I now know that was wrong and it needs to be added based on weight. Marinated over night.

Onto the part where I smoked both of these batches of meat. Remember I just got my smoker and was new to this.....tried regulating temp using the thermometer in the door and an oven thermometer. Up until now my experience with making jerky was using a dehydrator and making burger jerky (if you can call that jerky) when I'd find some burger that needed used up in the back of the freezer. Dehydrator was always set to 160 F for making jerky. So i tried to maintain 160 F which was nearly impossible using the thermometers I had to use at the time (now have wireless probes). Burnt all of the jerky and it was pretty inedible from a texture standpoint.

The Con Yeager kit turned out a little better but not much. Both had decent flavor besides the burnt pieces. BUT here is what I saw....... The homemade marinade broke down the meat something fierce. It was breaking apart as I was pulling it out of the bowl it was marinating in. It was a really odd texture. Almost much that was still somehow held together a little bit.

Did I use too much cure? Too much salt? Thoughts?

I don't want to waste more meat experimenting leaving ingredients out to see what the cause was.

I see some people don't use a cure and others say a heavy salt recipe is all you need to act as a cure. I like the idea of adding cure because I'd rather not end up dead.

I see some threads here were people smoke the jerky for long times (up to 12 hours) at low temps, 140 F or less. Is it possible to make good jerky at temps of 160 or higher to ensure the meat comes to temp? Only reason I ask is because the wife is pregnant and not supposed to eat meat that doesn't come up to temp and she'd like to eat some jerky.

Sorry for the long post but I appreciate any feedback.
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  #2  
Old 05-02-2017, 06:46 PM
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You might have had too much cure, or salt in that one batch. I would recommend using a proven store bought kit, and try to keep it about 170 or under. That might be hard to do with a propane smoker as I have her temperatures can be hard to regulate on them. If you find a little chief or big chief electric smoker on craigslist near you, they are excellent for making jerky. And a dehydrator works well also, as you already know.

Good luck!
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Old 05-02-2017, 07:11 PM
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Well, I'm no expert here by any stretch.

However, I do like to keep it simple. I have always used "Hi Mountain Jerky" kits and it's always worked out very well. I do add additional spices depending on the flavor. I add Smitty's to the Inferno for example.....

Amazon, Bass Pro, Cabelas, etc. carry it.

Just a thought but I know Rich has all the cure stuff down to a science so he'll be along shortly if I had to bet.
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Old 05-02-2017, 08:09 PM
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My recipe is 1/4 teaspoon cure #1 "sodium nitrite" per pound of meat, no more no less wet or dry cure application. My el cheapo dehydrator I rotate the racks about every 15 minutes and turn it off here and there to let it breathe.
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Old 05-02-2017, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a207769s View Post
So I love whole meat Jerky and usually have venison made into some each year by a local venison butcher. But I like doing things myself so I had a lot of venison this past hunting season cut into jerky meat so I can make my own.

OOK.. here we gooo... first..venison is one of the best jerky meats there is. Trim it clean..it’s easy..it’s rarely marbled at all. Besides the fat is NOT anything you want in your food anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a207769s View Post
Got my propane smoker in December and the first thing I tried in it was making jerky. Boy what a fail that was. Live and learn though right?

Heat regulation IS problematic with those units. And sometimes airflow. As you not only need the heat..you need to move the moisture out efficiently. Keep that in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a207769s View Post
First was a Con Yeager jerky kit. Followed the instructions and marinated over night.

Second was a homemade marinade from a friend. Soy sauce, Worcestershire, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Notice his recipe did not use a cure salt. So i went to a local butcher shop and purchased a pack of cure (it was Con Yeager) and added a teaspoon I believe. I now know that was wrong and it needs to be added based on weight. Marinated over night.

I have no idea here... but you SHOULD use cure. I have a jerky mix available if you’d like to try it. Postage only... matter of fact.

Deleted part covered... the temp regulation and air/heat flow are the issue here. Fish mentioned the Little Chief... excellent unit for jerky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a207769s View Post
BUT here is what I saw....... The homemade marinade broke down the meat something fierce. It was breaking apart as I was pulling it out of the bowl it was marinating in. It was a really odd texture. Almost much that was still somehow held together a little bit.

Did I use too much cure? Too much salt? Thoughts?
No..likely an acidic marinade destroyed your meat structure. Most “homebrew” jerky recipes are pretty lousy..to downright dangerous. Caveat Emptor.

Keep hanging out and reading this thread and http://www.smoked-meat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=28

http://www.smoked-meat.com/forum/sho...51733#poststop
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:01 PM
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I have tried a lot of jerky using the UBL (UGLY BROWN LIQUID) mixture of soy, worchy, teriyaki, etc. They were nothing but a giant salt bomb...do yourself a favor, don't do that...from a lot of experience it doesn't produce a good result compared to other options.

I seriously upped my jerky game when I had Rich send me some jerky mix and cure...along with it came some of the most useful advice I have ever gotten...

Don't use the UGLY BROWN LIQUID, Use a cup of red wine as a liquid carrier and dissolve the jerky mix and cure in that...then put in the meat and mix it around to coat everything. refrigerate overnight and smoke it up. this is the best advice I could offer you, because it works. I have several threads on this method, but here are a couple...

http://www.smoked-meat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18445

http://www.smoked-meat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12972
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:33 PM
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Thanks for the input everyone. Going to try a pre packaged jerky mix instead of the home brew stuff.

I will experiment with holding 170 F in my smoker without meat in it. If it's not feasible I'll go to the dehydrator.

Has anyone ever put jerky in the smoker to hit it with some smoke and then finished in the dehydrator?

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Old 05-02-2017, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a207769s View Post

Has anyone ever put jerky in the smoker to hit it with some smoke and then finished in the dehydrator?
That is an excellent way to do it...that way you can sneak up on the moisture level that you are after.

The only issue I run into is Mrs. Engineer usually complains that It makes the house smell smokey...
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a207769s View Post
Has anyone ever put jerky in the smoker to hit it with some smoke and then finished in the dehydrator?

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Yes
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:42 PM
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Regardless of how ya season it the key to good jerky is this...You are trying to dry the meat...Not cook it...Reaching 160 or higher is not a concern...Once the meat is dried to the right level, harmful bacteria struggle to survive...Adding cure to your mix gives you the protection you need to slowly dry the meat to the safe moisture level...Hope this makes sense...
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ Engineer View Post
That is an excellent way to do it...that way you can sneak up on the moisture level that you are after.

The only issue I run into is Mrs. Engineer usually complains that It makes the house smell smokey...
X2 on the smoke smell. Garage works also, butt same thing. Pick your poison
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMOKE FREAK View Post
Regardless of how ya season it the key to good jerky is this...You are trying to dry the meat...Not cook it...Reaching 160 or higher is not a concern...Once the meat is dried to the right level, harmful bacteria struggle to survive...Adding cure to your mix gives you the protection you need to slowly dry the meat to the safe moisture level...Hope this makes sense...
/\ this too

I always monitor jerky, switch racks, pull them when they are a bit before the texture you are shooting for and they will dry a little more after that. If not dried enough, an overnight rest in a vac bag with paper towels in the fridge works for me. Same thing with smoked Salmon/Steelhead.

I just made some with Flank last week, was great. Only used the dehydrator on this batch.

Here's a link http://www.smoked-meat.com/forum/sho...=Fishawn+jerky
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a207769s View Post
Thanks for the input everyone. Going to try a pre packaged jerky mix instead of the home brew stuff.

I will experiment with holding 170 F in my smoker without meat in it. If it's not feasible I'll go to the dehydrator.

Has anyone ever put jerky in the smoker to hit it with some smoke and then finished in the dehydrator?


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I like to smoke it for 3-4 hours and finish in the oven with the door cracked open to release the moisture...

My wife loves the smoky smell in the house
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Old 05-03-2017, 06:34 AM
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If you want a cheap way to practice until you get it right instead of using your venison, try pork loin. It makes some very tasty jerky.
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Old 05-03-2017, 07:30 AM
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Hmm, unless you left a bunch of stuff out, that marinade you posted should not have broken down the Meat.

However it does depend how much and what brand of 'worcestershire' sauce you used.
Basically if it wasn't Lea & Perrins - it isn't worcerstershire sauce.
Hell I've even seen some crap that claimed to be worcester sauce and didn't even have fermented anchovies in it !
Do not buy cheap worcestershire sauce ! Remember the only one that is genuine is lea & Perrins :-)

Ignore rich - I only use home brew for jerky :-)
That said - I've never had enough venison to purpose any for jerky. So I usually end up with fairly tough cuts of beef and a 1-3 day marinade doesn't do them any harm at all.

For venison, I'd be more inclined to go the dry rub route.
Also I'd recommend a dehydrator for the actual jerky process followed by a 4 or 5 hours cold smoke.
You can either make your own smoke generator or buy one of tods.
But it's a much more certain process.

As bear said, cooking to 160 is definitely not necessary.
Jerky, traditionally wasn't even cooked - just salted and dried.
What you are actually doing is reducing the Active Water content. ie: the amount of water available for bacteria to grow. The addition of curing salts takes out the anerobic bacteria as well as adding colour and taste.
One thing to remember is that sugar is as good an antibacterial as salt is.
These days I run my jerky for about 8 hours at around 130f

Rich does make good jerky - no question there.
Certainly wouldn't hurt to try his mix.

Another apparoach you can use is the biltong method.

basically the meat gets a vinegar bath for an hour or so, drain that and then mix a dry rub thoroughly with the meat and dry.
Biltong is traditionally cbp, garlic, brown sugar, salt and coriander. But any blend will work.
I don't usually cure biltong - but cure NEVER HURTS, particularly if you're making it for a pregnant women.

So if I were you I would not make cure free jerky.

The vinegar wash sterilises the outside of the meat and the rub flavours it while it's being dried. Biltong is traditionally dried at a low heat for several days.
I did the last batch in the dehydrator overnight and it was just as good.
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Last edited by curious aardvark; 05-04-2017 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 05-03-2017, 08:46 PM
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Ignore rich - I only use home brew for jerky :-)
Hmm. My comment was directed at the typical crap Google searches give you. YOU may ignore me. Some newbs prolly should not.
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Old 05-03-2017, 08:47 PM
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I used the Heinz Worcestershire because it is easy to find here in Western PA (imagine that, everyone seems Heinz here). It does have the fish. Whether it is "real" or not I don't know but it is delicious.

I tested the smoker tonight and it held 160-170 for the 40 min​utes i had it on. But..... No smoke with a few hickory chips in the pan. Not that I thought it would at that temp.

I wanted to make some jerky this weekend. Might have to make some sort of smoke generator for now.

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Old 05-03-2017, 09:06 PM
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I say don't get hung up on smoke when making jerky...I mean it's a great addition to jerky but not necessary...Jerky is great with or without smoke...
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Old 05-04-2017, 11:25 AM
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I say don't get hung up on smoke when making jerky...I mean it's a great addition to jerky but not necessary...Jerky is great with or without smoke...
x2 on this I enjoy a nice hint of smoke but have tasted some over-smoked jerky as well.
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