Almost ready to attempt jerky

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by cathy l, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. I have broken my Traeger in with fatties, chickens, brisket and even smoked eggs.  I have been asked by the "better" half to try making him some jerky.  After reading and reading and some more reading, I am getting more and more confused.  I realize that I will have to figure out what works the best taste-wise for us, but I don't want to kill us with rancid meat in the meantime.  I ordered some cure #1 but have found multiple ways and amounts for use of it.  I plan on using london broil cut across the grain for a softer chew per posts I've read.  I'm waiting on my jerky rack that I ordered.  More research needed.
     
  2. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I would suggest to start out with some premixed seasonings, they are all good and make it easy. That way you can concentrate on the smoking/drying part.
    You should use 1 level teaspoon of Cure#1 per 5 pounds of meat.
     
  3. Ok now, I'm ready.  I purchased an LEM Backwoods variety pack of jerky seasonings.  I read the posts about jerky making.  I got myself a nice london broil and am ready to stick it in the freezer for 90 minutes.  The meat cutter is sitting on the counter waiting to be dialed in to the suggested 1/8 to 1/4 inch cutting thickness.  Today will be all about preparation and tomorrow will be all about the smoke.  The husband is getting giddy about having an "unlimited" supply of jerky available to him...I think he needs to wait and try the first batch before...just in case.  Q-views to follow! :)
     
  4. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    So tell us about the process you are going to do to smoke it.
     
  5. I've never used LEM jerky seasonings, but that's a good place to start. I use Hi Country Jerky Seasonings and upon using them for the first time, I followed the suggested amounts to get a baseline of what the flavor would be like. Then with each batch after that I would increase or decrease the amount of seasonings until I hit on what we liked for flavor. 

    Remember you are essentially "drying" the jerky as opposed to cooking it. The time and temps all differ with each person - I use my MES40 and smoke low and slow, increasing my temp approx 10° every hour. 

    This is how I make mine:

    "I'm smoking in an MES40 and it generally takes me 7 hours to smoke it. I "thread" it on non stick skewers and then hang those horizontal on each end with small S hooks from the first and third racks from the top of the smoker. 

    I start at 110*-120* with no smoke to dry the jerky for about an 1-1.5 hrs, bump temp to 130*-140* for 2.5-3 hrs with smoke, bump temp to 150*-160* (I also continue with smoke until it runs out) to finish it off (usually another 2-3 hrs), but no higher than 170*. I start checking it using the bend test (you should be able to bend it without breaking and have white fibers showing) after about 5 hrs on the smaller/thinner pieces and periodically check the remainder until it's done."

    Here's some threads of jerky that I have made (and I make a lot of different types of meats)

    This thread has a pic of how to tell when the jerky is done.

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/123611/elk-jerky-again

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/117191/sweet-and-spicy-elk-jerky-in-the-mes
     
  6. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I've used quite a few of the Lem for jerky and sticks and they were all pretty good (had to bump it up with cayenne though but that's just me)!
    ike Alesia said, stick close with their recipe and make sure all the meat is covered very good before giving it at least 12 hours in the fridge. Flip it around every few hours too to make sure the marinade keeps getting redistributed well!

    Be careful though, it's gets very addictive! You might find yourself building a smokehouse and buying a vacuum tumbler....ask me how I know!
     
  7. Thanks for the encouragement!  I'm using my Traeger Junior elite and I'm figuring on about a 5 hour smoke on this.  I will up the temps and do my bend tests starting at about that timeframe.  I am already regretting getting my Junior Elite and thinking I should have gone larger to start with.  I suppose it's live and learn.  Besides, there isn't a problem having more than one smoker/grills is there?  :)
     
  8. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    How low of temp will that Traeger go?
     
  9. The smoke setting is the first click and that is the one that flames the pellets.  The first heat setting is 180*. 
     
  10. The best laid plans...  I have decided to move the smoke from my Traeger to the regular BBQ set up with a couple of smoke boxes.  The Junior Elite has proven too small for my tray, frame and skewers for the jerky.  I think as long as I am able to regulate the increase of the temps as we go it may actually work out better.  It's a good thing I made a dry run before having 5 lbs of wet, seasoned, sliced meat ready to go in.  Back to the drawing board...AGAIN
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  11. I forgot to add "Take lots of notes on how much meat, type of meat, flavor, smoke flavor, etc" and then only change one thing at a time when you do the next batch if you need to make changes. 
     
  12. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I don't think the increase of temp is as important as keeping the temp low. 180* on the Traeger is kind of high. Above 170* and you start cooking the meat instead of drying it. It's best if you can keep it at 150*-160* and no more than 170*.
     
  13. Ok got it...take lots of detailed notes and keep the heat down.  That is as low as the traeger goes on heat but I'm going to go crank it on to smoke only and see what it heats up too.  I'm also waiting for my A-Maze-N to get here in 2 days to see how hot the old grill gets with it burning in there.  I'll keep notes and let you guys know when it's going in.  I guess it's a good thing It's not going to have to marinate for days on end. 
     
  14. Dave is correct about the temps in the Traeger being too high.
    I don't think the AMAZEN will increase your temp enough to actually dry the jerky without any other type of heat source. 
     
  15. I'm going to run some tests and see if having one burner barely on will heat the big cavity up too high.  I feel like I'm back in school doing labs again.  It's making my brain hurt...LOL
     
  16. fuzzyfishin

    fuzzyfishin Fire Starter

    Good luck with the jerky.

      Putting in #14 of venny myself at noon.
     
  17. I, over the past two days, made Jerky, doing it in a smoker is no fun. Do understand, about 15 years for two years or so, I processed about 80 pounds of meat a week into jerky for people who purchased it off of me. Made a decent income, spend $30 on meat and get $70 back.  Made it all with Soy Sauce, Brown Sugar, Liquid Smoke and depending who wanted it, a good load of Crushed Chili Peppers, put in my Dehydrator and folks loved it.  It was easy to do.   That was in the off time I had working in excess of 60 a week.  In that that period, it not unusual for me to put 75 plus hours in at work each week, with weekends off.

    Threading almost 10 pounds of meat on skewers is one big pain in butt, especially when you’re doing it for someone else’s Jerky.  My neighbour shows up Friday night with 2 Pkgs, about 10 of meat and asks me to make Jerky for him.  Two hour later, his G/F shows up with 9 heads of garlic she wants smoked also.  Needles to say, putting in 7 hours last night and about 12 today, was not at all fun.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013
  18. I am STILL having temp issues and have not been able to do the Jerky.  My Traeger doesn't go below about 230*.  I thought I could use the propane grill with one burner on it's lowest setting, but my temp test showed that it is up at the 215*-220* range in the cool of morning.  Since the recipe I'm using says the first 2-2.5 hours are supposed to be at 150* mainly for drying I may just have to put it in the oven in the house and start it that way.  I'm also thinking I should go purchase another smoker.  I can cold smoke in my old grill with my AMNPS (which I really like).  I can do smaller things in my Traeger Junior Elite.  I want to be able to do jerky and bacon.  What smokers should I check out in your opinions?  I really have to stop at 3 per the better half until he learns they are "tools" and and every tool has it's own purpose.  :)
     
  19. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Cathy a good smoker for the buck,(have seen as low as $120.) that turns out great jerky and fish is the Big Chief smoker. You don't really have much control over the heat output, but it is really made for making jerky and smoked fish. And if you save the box that it comes in (open carefully) you can use it as a cold smoker for cheese, etc. Just my two cents. I use my gas smoker for jerky but I have to baby sit the thing the whole time to keep the temps low. I wished that I never sold my Big Chief.  Front load version is the best

     
  20. An option for jerky in a Traeger is to use stackable jerky racks such as those from Cabelas and such. Set on smoke mode and put racks on the cooler side of your Traeger, one end is usually a cooler smoking temp than the other. Check for done pieces around the 3 hour mark and go from there. 180 temps are a bit high but a Traeger does make good jerky, just don't over do the time so you end up with over done meat. Small batches are best to start out, and are usually eaten within a week or so anyway. Just do a few test runs and use them to compare to other techniques and different styles of jerky. Most of all have fun!
     

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