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How long in the smoker?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Im going to do some ground beef jerky this weekend, my 2nd attempt. I got a jerky cannon last month and did my first batch in the dehydrator, and it came out pretty good. But I want to add smoke smoke flavor this time. I got a hot plate to keep the temps down in my Masterbuilt XL and a home made sawdust smoker (shamelessly copied the A-maz-n-smoker). In my experiments with the hot plate, I can control the smoker temps from 80-200 degrees easily.


So my questions are;

1. how long in the smoker?

2.Assuming about 125 degrees?

3. and what flavor wood do you all like - mild or stronger? Hickory or mesquite or a milder fruit wood?


I have 2 batches curing in the fridge now. One with a teryaki recipe, and one with a cracked pepper & garlic recipe.


post #2 of 9

I just made my first batch in the smoker this past Monday night so I think I can help you a bit and let you know what I plan on doing different next time for me. First things first do you have cure in your seasoning/meat mix? If not you really should get some cure because when smoking at these low temps for an extended period of time you are asking for trouble without any cure in there.

I sliced my meat nice  and thin so with yours in the jerky gun I would say they are roughly the same thickness so they will take roughly the same amount of time at least for a rough idea. After marinading mine for 24 hours I put mine in the smoker and I was running at around 175-190 (more so on that higher end) and they were done in 3 hours which was way faster then I expected or wanted. They have a very subtle smoke flavor and next time I want more for sure. (Don't get me wrong they still taste awesome) I will be lowering the temps to around 125 like you said and run it there  for a  few hours then if it goes past the 3-4 hour mark I will kick up the temps to around 150-175 to finish them off. I will also be using a stronger flavored wood such as hickory or mesquite so there is a more pronounced smoke flavor. I am hoping with the longer smoke time at lower temps and with a stronger wood I will achieve the smokiness I am looking for. Best of luck to you and  make sure you take some pictures. That jerky is going to  be  good!

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tips Ross,

   I have a buddy thats been making ground beef jerky for a while now and recommended that I start out by using Nesco cures & seasoning. So I picked up a variety pack on Amazon that has 5 different flavors. The first batch was original & teryaki & I made some snack sticks out of some ground elk meat a friend gave me. The Nesco mixes come with a packet of cure which looks like straight salt, and a seasoning packet to be mixed equally for 1lb of ground. The first batch of original recipe was a little too salty, so I cut the cure in half on the teryaki & elk sticks with better results. To be safe since I used 1/2 the recommended cure, I stored them in the fridge after they were done.


Everyone who tried them liked them, with the teryaki recipe preferred. I thought they were good, but given the condition we all suffer from, I thought it could be better. I have some mesquite dust I bought from Todd at A-maze-n products, so I'll try that wood.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Here's the Q view. The final results turned out better than the last try, and improving well for only my 2nd attempt at Ground beef Jerky. I only did 1 lb of each recipe to get it down before I waste a lot of meat and make some high priced dog food. 


This batch was the Nesco Garlic & Pepper seasoning. I tried their recipes straight up before I get into doctoring them or better yet, moving on to my own recipe (whatever that may be).


Nov 2011 Pepper & Garlic.JPG


This was the Teryaki recipe. I did add some "The Ojai Cook" tangy teryaki sauce to the mix to give it a little more zip, which really added some good flavor.


Nov 2011Teryaki.JPG


I gave it a 3 hr smoke @ 125 degrees in the Masterbuilt XL. The heat plate and my cheap A-Mazin smoker copy cat with Hickory dust worked great.


In the smoker.JPG


The final results. I dont expect them to last long. I notice a few less pieces than when I started, how'd that happen???? Mrs Otis & I could hardly keep from over sampling it to determine how much it had dried.


Nov Jerky Final results.JPG


The Hickory smoke gave them a more subtle smoke flavor than I thought it would. Maybe I'll go a little higher on the smoke temp, say 150 degrees for a longer time. Even tho the grocery store where I bought the ground beef said it was 93/7, I had to do more blotting with paper towels than the last time to get the excess grease off. But overall, this is a good 2nd effort for me and its getting better each time. Thanks for looking and input is always appreciated.

post #5 of 9

looks great !!!!icon14.gif

post #6 of 9

They sure look good from here!

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks Jrod & Al,

   They came out very tasty and its hard for me to keep my hands out of it. But I think we all try to improve on our last smoke, its what we do. Other people have commented on ground vs sliced whole muscle jerky, and I actually prefer ground. I find you can get the same flavors as whole muscle jerky and you don't rip your teeth loose eating it. Mrs Otis has caps on her front teeth from a childhood bike accident, so whole muscle jerky isn't on the top of her list. Thats why Im learning on the job to make the best ground jerky that I can.

Cuz you know what they say - Happy wife, happy life.

post #8 of 9

Looks good and you can get a REAL AMAZN smoker for a real good price from TODD on here...

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

I know, and I thought about it. Not that the price is too high either, Its a great price. But thats about all that I have left that's useful out of my P.O.S. 56" Mitsubishi DLP tv set. Long story, but when Mitsubishi wouldn't stand behind a 4 year old DLP set that died because of a bad circuit board ($900 part), or even acknowledge a problem. I even tried to trade it in to a tv repair shop for a discount on a new set. They pointed me to about 6 in the back just like it!!! So I tore it down for salvage parts. There was this vented Stainless box that guarded the electronics from heat. I saved it for use someday, and then I saw Todd's A-Mazin smoker. All I did was add some metal dividers to make a maze and it works great. The irony here is that my $3000 tv is reduced to performing the duties of a $50 cold smoker. But I did buy the Hickory dust from him.


The moral of the story - Buy The A-Mazin smoker - it works great.

Dont buy a Mitsubishi DLP tv -  it's a waste of money from a JAPANESE company that wont stand behind their products

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