What kind of beef to use?

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by gabriel, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. gabriel

    gabriel Smoke Blower

    I thought I'd find this here in the handful of posts, but after reading them I don't think it's really been mentioned. My guess is cause it doesn't really matter but I don't want to get something terrible and waste all the money on wasted jerky that's super tough.

    So, I want to make some beef jerky. It's my first at this, and what most people are suggesting is Top Round. Is there a reason for this? The only thing I can think of is cause it's leaner, which I think is what you want. And you cut it 1/4" thick WITH the grain.

    Am I right so far? Can I use rump roast? It's on sale now for $1.99 and I'm thinkin' about going for it.
  2. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Any good lean beef should make good jerky. If it's too tough to chew, consider cutting across the grain or making ground meat jerky. I have made mountains of jerky from ground elk and venison and it's excellent.
  3. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    round is a very good choice rump roast should also be fine. to be honest, any meat you can get, the cheaper the better, would be fine as long as whatever you get, you trim off all fat.
  4. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Yeah, what they said. Any cut of meat will do, but the leaner cheaper cuts are best. I've done both way as far as cutting, with and against the grain. How are you making it? Dehydrator? In the smoker? Are you using a cure?
  5. linescum

    linescum Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    i always use a top round and slice with the grain for that extra chewy consistancy. jerky isn't meant to be melt in your mouth.
  6. gabriel

    gabriel Smoke Blower

    I was just going to smoke it the whole way but I've been looking for a dehydrator cause I see some of you smoke it and then finish it off in the dehydrator. As for the TQ, I'm not sure but I think I'm spose to use that aren't I? Will it make it too tough if I don't? Thanks for all the help guys!
  7. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    you can go either way, with TQ or without - whether it is tough or not will depend more on your drying time. i prefer TQ for the color and curing properties, but i and millions of others have been making jerky for tens of thousands of years with no cure.
  8. gabriel

    gabriel Smoke Blower

    Would it still work if I smoked it for a couple hours to get some flavor in there and then dehydrate the rest of the way or does it really not take too much time to just do the whole thing in the smoker?
  9. trapper

    trapper Smoke Blower

    My first choice is eye of round but top or bottom work fine. I would not put any meat in a cold smoke with out cure. 40*-140* and no oxygen (like in a smoker) is the perfect environment for botulism. It doesn't just give you a tummy ache, it kills you.
  10. gabriel

    gabriel Smoke Blower

    oh wait, I was going to smoke it hot...is that not right? Maybe around 200-250 like when smoking most other meats.
  11. tntxajun

    tntxajun Smoke Blower

    My rule of thumb is to use TQ if in the smoker and I usually go 4-5 hrs at 135-140. In a dehydrator I usually dont use TQ but ya can.
    225-250 is cooking it rather than drying it. Like said above, the leaner the better and trim away any and all fat. Hope this helps..

  12. bigtrain74

    bigtrain74 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    As long as the beef is not fatty... I like to use top round... It is a little bit more money but it is worth it... London broil steaks work well too! good luck!
  13. tntxajun

    tntxajun Smoke Blower

    Got a phone call before finishing my previous post. I usually try to find a lean flank steak or bottom round. But you can be quite creative when ya get the hang of it. I use a variety of marinades. The bologna one will surprise ya big time. I use terriyaki, worcestershire, ginger, garlic and cayenne marinade for it. Try it sometime.

  14. gabriel

    gabriel Smoke Blower

    Well I smoked last weekend. Went with the following recipe:
    4.5 pounds rump roast
    1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
    1/3 cup soy sauce
    1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
    1 tablespoon honey
    1 tablespoon TQ
    2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
    2 teaspoons onion powder
    1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

    I cut them probably closer to 1/4 in thick with the grain and smoked them for 2 hours on mostly maple (cause that's my fuel) and some hickory. I planned to just dry them for another 3 hours thereafter but most of the pieces required more time so I probably ended up drying them for closer to 4-5 hours. I think this is becuase I cut them too thick. Next time I'm definately going thinner.

    My problem is, the marinade recipe should have been for half as much meat but still I really didn't taste any of the specific flavors. Nothing really stuck out at me. I don't know what to leave out, cause I need the filler, but something definately needs to change. Mostly the only flavor was smoke, which is unfortunate. I love smoke flavor, but at some point it's just too much.

    I think next time I'll cut them thinner, smoke for just an hour and dry until they're done. As for the marinade, I'm probably going to leave out the soy and cut back on the worchestershire but I don't know what liquid to add as filler but not to overpower or add to the already salty flavor or really take me in a different direction. I think I'm probably shooting for a teriyaki/pepper flavor so I'll probably just increase my teriyaki and cut back on some of the other sugars while quadrupling the amount of pepper. Overall it was edible, but not great. I'm anxious to give it another shot, need to wait for more meat to go on sale. I'll add some Q-view hopefully tonight or tomorrow.

    Thanks for all the tips everyone!
  15. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    keep trying, gabriel - when it hits dead-on, you will love what happens. remember that the goal is to dry the stuff, not cook it.
  16. mnola917

    mnola917 Smoke Blower

    i use pretty much the same recipe, except i have cut out the tenderquick cuz after testing it, its way too salty and overpowers everything. Also, I added a tablespoon of brown sugar and smoke it for about 45 minutes, dry them for an additional 5 or 6 hours, until done. I run at 135 the whole time.
  17. trapper

    trapper Smoke Blower

    I started with a similar recipe but after a few tries at tweaking it I decided I wanted to go a completely new direction, away from the soy/worcester../teriyaki based marinade that so many people use. It was decent but I wanted something else.
    I don't have the recipe here but I started with lime juice and water for the liquid. The spices I started with were annotto (available from Penzy's), salt, pepper, cumin (little goes a long way), garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne. I mix everything except the water and add just enough water to give me the amount of marinade I need. By volume the biggest spice is the annotto. It isn't overpowering and I use it a lot, including most of my rubs.
    A tip on slicing, first start with partially frozen meat. After it is sliced you can make it thinner by flattening out the pieces with the side of your chef's knife. Just hold them down on the cutting board and push down and away from one end to the other end of the strip of meat.
  18. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    >>>A tip on slicing, first start with partially frozen meat. After it is sliced you can make it thinner by flattening out the pieces with the side of your chef's knife. Just hold them down on the cutting board and push down and away from one end to the other end of the strip of meat.<<<

    to trapper you should listen; wise in the ways of cutting jerky he is.
  19. gabriel

    gabriel Smoke Blower

    Thanks guys, I have some annato seeds. If you find the exactly recipe, please post it up here. I'll have to give that a shot next time!
  20. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you use the TQ make sure and rinse the jerkey off really good before you smoke it. I made this mistake when I used TQ and it was way salty. If you don't want the salt try using the LEM product. That's what I use when I want to stay away from the saltiness. There is also a product made by morton called Sugar Cure. It is great when you want a sweet product instead of salty. Important thing is to cure if dehydrating or smoking.

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