Jerky Safety

Discussion in 'Drying/Dehydrating' started by swaggercat, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. I’m either confused or overthinking this whole Jerky making process.
    Maybe someone can help.
    The USDA food safety guidelines says……..

    “Illnesses due to Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 from homemade jerky raise questions about the safety of traditional drying methods for making beef and venison jerky. The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline's current recommendation for making jerky safely is to heat meat to 160 °F and poultry to 165 °F before the dehydrating process. This step assures that any bacteria present will be destroyed by wet heat. But most dehydrator instructions do not include this step, and a dehydrator may not reach temperatures high enough to heat meat to 160 °F. “

    I want to try making Jerky for the first time in my GOSM, but I’m not seeing people on the forum going to 160 degrees with their meat and then backing down to dehydrate. Maybe someone can help set me straight.
  2. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think most folks use a cure such as Morton's Tenderquick or one of the Hi Mountain mix/kits.

  3. txbigred

    txbigred Meat Mopper

    As DDave said, most people use a cure, which kills any bacteria present. I use the #1 cure for mine (pink salt), the same stuff I use in my sausage and I only cook my sausage to 152F and it is fully cooked and safe. I dry my jerky at 140F. The cure prevents the bacteria from growing while you dry the meat. Once the meat is dry, the lack of moisture prevents bacteria from growing which is why it is shelf stable and requires no refrigeration. Hope this helps.

  4. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I use 1T of Morton's Tenderquick per pound of meat in my marinades and have never had a problem when using the dehydrator. My dehydrator runs at 155˚ and does a great job.

    If I use my smoker: same amount of Tenderquick...........meat in the smoker for 2 hours of constant smoke and then finish in the dehydrator. Hope this helps.

    Take care, John
  5. Thanks for the replies and advice.
    I picked up some Curing salt from the local Butcher shop. They said it was the same as Morton's, only a different brand.
    It seems most recipes call for 1 tsp to 1 Tbls per pound of meat. I went with 2 tsp per pound.
    It's funny how there seems to be a debate over to cure or not to cure.
    I will error on the side of caution and go with it.

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