Help with Beef Jerky in my MES 30

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by kryinggame, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    My latest to do is a pepper beef jerky. I'm looking for a chewy and flavorful recipe. Only problem is, while searching, I've found tons of information on this site; however, much contradicts other posted information.

    I'm looking for authentic, step-by-step instructions from those who have made jerky, using an MES smoker. No offense but I've read postings where people have given instructions using a dehydrator. Since I don't own a dehydrator, I prefer to hear from folks who have the MES.

    Here are my questions/confusion regarding jerky. I hope someone can chime in to clarify this for me. 
    1. I've read postings from some who have made their own rubs and some recommend using Hi-Country Kits. Is there a significant difference, other than flavor?
    2. Some recommend using a cure. Isn't the cure, salt; thus, which ever rub I use, it should be made with salt?
    3. I plan on using a top round beef (I chose this because quite a few folks here have picked this cut of meat). Is there 1 cut of beef superior to others for jerky?
    4. I've noticed that some folks hang their meats in the smoker, while others lay the meat flat.  Is there a difference?
    5. I've seen a lot of temperature ranges. Some say to smoke at 120 - 130 degrees to dry out the meat. I've seen others who smoke at 220 degrees.  What is the correct temperature to smoke jerky.
    6. When is the jerky done. Based upon the temperature, how long should I smoke the jerky?
    7. Can I use my AMNPS for jerky? Generally, I use Pitmaster pellets as my all around pellet. For jerky, is this a good flavor pellet or should I purchase Hickory.
    If there's anything else that I'm not asking, please fill me in.

    Thanks gang!
     
  2. da maxx

    da maxx Fire Starter

    I have the MES30 and AMNPS. I've made about 8 batches of jerky. The family loves them. Seem to be making jerky at least once a week.
    1. I've read postings from some who have made their own rubs and some recommend using Hi-Country Kits. Is there a significant difference, other than flavor? Have only used homemade marinade. Some teriyaki style, some Soy Sauce based. I don't use a curing mix. So I refrigerate my jerky (when cooled). Not a big deal, It all gets eaten within a week. btw. if you want a little hotter spice taste, I found that the oriental Sriracha Chili sauce is great for jerky. Great heat but not overwhelming.
    2. Some recommend using a cure. Isn't the cure, salt; thus, which ever rub I use, it should be made with salt? See above. It doesn't have to be salt based. Just frig.
    3. I plan on using a top round beef (I chose this because quite a few folks here have picked this cut of meat). Is there 1 cut of beef superior to others for jerky? I've used london broil and bottom round. Both excellent.
    4. I've noticed that some folks hang their meats in the smoker, while others lay the meat flat.  Is there a difference? I lay mine flat. I think you get more meat inside the smoker by hanging them.
    5. I've seen a lot of temperature ranges. Some say to smoke at 120 - 130 degrees to dry out the meat. I've seen others who smoke at 220 degrees.  What is the correct temperature to smoke jerky. I smoke the entire batch at 150. Takes about 3 hrs depending on thickness and how dry you prepped the jerky. I normally lay them out on paper towels and racks for a few hours, in the fridge, before smoking.
    6. When is the jerky done. Based upon the temperature, how long should I smoke the jerky? I don't have an instant temp probe. Pieces are too small to get a good reading. I smoke them to look\stiffness. Remember they'll dry out more after you take them out. Go for good jerky color.
    7. Can I use my AMNPS for jerky? Generally, I use Pitmaster pellets as my all around pellet. For jerky, is this a good flavor pellet or should I purchase Hickory. I also use the AMNPS with the Pitmaster Choice. I apply smoke for the entire 3-4 hr period. Great flavor. Everyone loves the smoke taste.
    Good Luck and please post your results. Always willing to try new ideas.
     
    thatcho and dwsmith43 like this.
  3. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
     
  4. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you sir,

    You've made this a lot easier to comphrend. My smoker, Miss Lucy is down right now but she's about to be replaced. First thing I'm gonna do is some jerky, based upon your suggestion.
     
  5. You are certainly welcome! Just a side note - I am a female, but it's all good! Have you decided on what you are going to replace her with? I'm researching to add another smoker, either charcoal or propane, not sure yet.
     
  6. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Your getting lots of great tips and advice here.

    I just want to mention SH post on cure's.

    Cure #1 is basic meat cure. AKA insta cure or prague powder, contains salt and sodium nitrite (6.25%).

    MTQ mix contains salt, the main preserving agent, sugar, both sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, curing agents that also contribute to development of color and flavor.

    Cure #2 contains salt, sodium nitrite (6.25%) and sodium nitrate (1%) I would stay clear of cure #2 in the use of jerky making.
     
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Here is some more info on Jerky Safety. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/jerky_and_food_safety/index.asp  It refers to using a Dehydrator and adds a margin of safety covering Cheapo Dehydrators that do not get very hot. The benefit of using a Smoker is the higher temps preclude getting the meat to 160*F before smoking...JJ
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  8. Thanks Rick for the info and I've copied it for future reference. I've only used Cure #1 and MTQ (which turned out to be too salty tasting for us) and I haven't even thought of trying Cure #2!

    I use cure in my jerky because I'm smoking low and slow and it's better to be safe than sorry to prevent anyone from getting sick.
     
  9. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    Well ma'ame, thank you for the advice and forgive my ignorance.

    There's a lot of information out there but for whatever reason, some folks like to complicate the information. You have made the information, clear and easy to understand. And for that, I thank you.

    But, given the link posted by Chef JimmyJ, is there anything different that I should do, based upon your earlier instructions?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012
  10. Thank you and I'm sure you aren't ignorant and I'm certainly not offended. The avatar is misleading and while there are some of us lady smokers here, it's fairly unusual. 

    You are most welcome, I believe in simple, concise and easy. I keep notes of everything I smoke, that way if something goes wonky, I can always review and compare my notes. Might be overkill but it works for me and getting the products to turn out the best that I can make them.

    I read the info from the link Chef Jimmy posted. I'm not an expert by any means, the article refers to steaming or roasting meat to 160*F prior to dehydrating. Most of the kits recommend this as well. Personally I've never done it that way and can't give an opinion on how the jerky would turn out, just as I don't know if using Cure would make a difference in omitting this procedure.

    I use Cure #1 and I know for certain it comes in the Hi Country kits, but Hi Country states a heaping 1/8 tsp per pound of meat that is not the appropriate amount, it should be adjusted to 1 tsp per 5 lbs of meat. Here's a link to a post of how to apply cure and amounts for various meat types http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/118474/ryteks-recipe-and-cure-1#post_779117

    I hope this helps and I hope Chef Jimmy or someone else with more experience can answer your questions better than I did.
     
  11. jsdspif

    jsdspif Meat Mopper

    I use hi MOUNTAIN jerky seasoning kits . I don't know if I've heard of the hi country kits before now . With the hi mountain kit there is a bag of seasoning and a bag of cure , and it's something like 2 teaspoons of cure and a teaspoon of seasoning per pound of meat . Those amounts are just examples , I don't have the directions in front of me , but I'm just trying to get a message across that it's pretty much foolproof as far as the amounts to use . The only thing I don't like about making it in my mes is that there isn't much airflow . I have a countertop convection toaster oven (?) (has a fan in it ) and I like my jerky better made in that . Sometimes I smoke it a little first and then transferit to the toaster oven . I think I've read posts on here with people talking about mounting a computer fan or something to their mes but I don't recall anyone ever doing it . I've thought of it myself and have a fan I could use but I never bother to do it . I guess I'm just in favor of a little more air circulation than what I get from my mes . Maybe some one else will post to second my opinion on the hi mountain kits .
     
  12. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    Hey all, thank you for all of the information and education. Man, I spend so many hours on this site. My girlfriend says that I'm turning into a boring old man (I'm 38) but heck, she doesn't complain while enjoying the results.

    Anyway, thanks again for everything!
     
    thatcho likes this.
  13. kumatae

    kumatae Fire Starter

    A quick question from a newbie.  I'm going to inaugurate my MES 30 smoker with some jerky.  I've done plenty of smoking with WSM but never jerky.  About how much meat can one fit in a 30 MES?  Assume that this cut of meat has hardly any fat, cut in to strips about 1in by 5in?  I'd hate to over buy and have marinated meat just waiting for first batch to be done.  My AMNPS is in the mail along with some pellets!
     
  14. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    Are you asking how much meat for jerky can fit into your smoker? A hell of a lot. I cut up more than 4.5lbs of beef (and it was not thin strips but thick, long strips. I filled them up on two trays. I reserved the third tray for an aluminum pan to catch any drippings. Unless you're feeding an army, I don't think you have to worry, the 30 is pretty large.  I've smoked 3 racks of ribs (w/o cutting them) in my 30 inch. I've done a 9lbs boston butt and a rack of ribs.  I've done a few yard birds at one time.

    You have to be creative when spacing out your meat. But remember, if you have an AMNPS, you don't want any drippings from your meat to hit it or it'll go burn out. Don't ask how I know that.
     
  15. I can't help you with the amount of meat you can fit in the MES 30 (I have MES 40). You can lay the strips on the racks, hang from toothpicks through the racks or as I do, I thread the meat strips on non stick skewers, slide the ends through s hooks hanging from the racks. Just don't let the pieces of meat touch if you can help it.
     
  16. kumatae

    kumatae Fire Starter

    Thanks for the replies!  It gives me a good idea how much meat to buy. 

    I saw one of those alumninum turkey pans flipped upside down on AMNPS with an opening and could see how that could come in to use to make sure that the meat marinade doesn't blow out the smoke.  Can't wait to give it a try!!  Actually, there's a change in plans, I have a 5lbs chicken that's been in the freezer and will just do a beer chicken as my first official smoke while I start gathering my supplies for jerky.
     
  17. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    You just make sure you post some dang pics of that 5lbs yard bird, buddy. If you're gonna go chicken, smoke at 275 degrees. Otherwise, it'll be all chewy (which I think is gross). I'll rub some olive oil on it and smoke at 275 for a few hours. It's the best dang chicken ever. I gotta keep my Ruger 10/22 loaded, to keep the neighbors dog from sneaking over for a taste. lol
     
  18. atomic dog

    atomic dog Fire Starter

    I do a similar process.  But I start it at about 200 for maybe 10 minutes to get the chips going (on my unmodified MES).  Turn down when the thermometer hits 170 to about 140 -the temp slowly drifts down.  I let it sit there for hours until the meat is more than half way done.  Then up it to 160 for the last hour or two.  I only smoke at the start.  I prefer a mild smoke flavor.

    The meat does cook at the start, and being so thin I am reasonably assured it is hot enough to kill yeasty beasties. Finishing off at 160 again helps assure me it is well heated.  I have not died yet.  Would FedGovCo approve?  Probably not, but I'm a rebel.
     
  19. big lew bbq

    big lew bbq Meat Mopper

    I use this Jerky Recipe.  Hope this helps.

    I used a couple of sirloin roasts for my jerky. 


    Here you see a pile of meat that I couldn't slice. It's just chunks. Once I trim the fat from it, I'll cure it with the rest and smoke it on a cookie sheet.


    You can use a prepackaged jerky seasoning/cure mix, or use your own. Probably the most used ingredients in a jerky seasoning are, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, pepper, and some type of cure. I'll use Prague powder (cure #1) here, because I can use any recipe I want and additional sodium is not an issue. Add .04 oz of pink cure per pound of meat or 1 level teaspoon for every 5 lbs of meat.

    Marinade recipe for 10 lbs of meat.
    1/2 C soy sauce
    2 C water
    1 tsp ground ginger
    6 Tbs brown sugar
    2 cloves minced garlic
    .40 oz pink cure or 2 level teaspoons
    Yes, that is corn starch in the picture. Just ignore it.

    Mix all ingredients, except cure. Heat just to dissolve the brown sugar, remove from heat and cool. Once cooled, add cure and mix well.


    I like these tall containers for marinading/curing jerky, because it doesn't take a lot of liquid to cover all the meat. Once you add the meat, take your hand and mix this some to get the marinade all over through the mass of meat. This is 10 lbs of meat. I'll put the lid on this and leave it in the fridge for 24 hours. You should always use a non-reactive vessel (i.e. plastic, glass, or stainless steel) to handle marinading and or curing. Ceramic coated metal is OK too as long as it's not chipped. Never use aluminum.




    24 hours later, drain the meat into a strainer, then decide if you want black pepper or not. If you do, I sprinkle coarse black pepper on a cookie sheet, then lay the meat on the top and sprinkle the meat.


    Now it's into the smoker. I use paper clips like tiny meat hooks to hang each strip from the grate wire. This way I can arrange them so they aren't touching. I boil the paper clips when I buy them, because I have no idea what booger eating person handled them during manufacture.


    There are about 300 strips of meat in there. And the pans have the small chunks that won't hang.


    I see some thin veins of sinew that I missed.


    I am drying at 100° with small sticks of apple. With a stick burner, it's a pain to keep temps this low, but it's possible. Sometimes, you can dry meat without even starting a fire. When it's sunny out, check your smoker temp sometime and see what I mean.

    Here it is. It went on this morning at 7 and came off this evening at 7. So 12 hours with temps ranging from 90° to 125°. I like mine a little moist, so I take it off before it's at the cracking stage. You can do this if you cure it. Otherwise, it's done when you can bend it and it cracks but doesn't break.
    This started out at 10 lbs and ended up being about 2.5 lbs. 
    I'm sure I probably forgot something. If I did, remind me and I'll edit this.
    Thanks for looking at my jerk thread.
     
    thatcho and dwsmith43 like this.
  20. tangfj

    tangfj Newbie

    I used this same recipe but of course I didn't pay full attention and just thought I could use the same recipe for any amount of meat.  I used the above recipe for roughly 3.5 lbs of meat.  Am I going to be ok with using 2 teaspoons of cure #1? Or should I throw away the jerky?
     

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