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Preparing for my first jerky... question

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

 

Hi folks!  I've been reading like crazy but am still short on a few concepts.  I am not new to smoking but I am new to jerky.

 

I am going to use a GOSM cabinet to smoke.  I recently modded it with a needle valve so I can easily run it as low as 100 if I want.  Yesterday I ran it empty at a perfect 125 for an hour.  If anyone out there has a GOSM I highly recommend this mod.  biggrin.gif

 

I have a consumer level meat slicer so I can get consistent cuts.  I will be trimming fat on the pieces rather than the whole.

 

I have LEM Cure.  Frankly, the instructions suck.  It doesn't say how long to cure.  Can I mix the cure in with the marinade or do I need to do that separately?  

 

With this setup what is the recommended temp to go with?  I have no preference for dehydrating vs smoking.  I just want the best jerky I can produce.

 

I will be using a 4lb bottom round as a test run.  It was on a pretty good sale.  :)

 

Thanks for any clarifications here.  I've been reading quite a bit but am somehow missing a couple of the relationships between steps and methods.

 

 

post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadtower View Post

 

Hi folks!  I've been reading like crazy but am still short on a few concepts.  I am not new to smoking but I am new to jerky.

 

I am going to use a GOSM cabinet to smoke.  I recently modded it with a needle valve so I can easily run it as low as 100 if I want.  Yesterday I ran it empty at a perfect 125 for an hour.  If anyone out there has a GOSM I highly recommend this mod.  biggrin.gif

 

I have a consumer level meat slicer so I can get consistent cuts.  I will be trimming fat on the pieces rather than the whole.

 

I have LEM Cure.  Frankly, the instructions suck.  It doesn't say how long to cure.  Can I mix the cure in with the marinade or do I need to do that separately?  

 

Is this a jerky spice blend with cure in separate packets? I don't use kits anymore, so I'm out of the loop on that part...icon_redface.gif That's how the jerky kits were typically packaged a few years back, just so the cure gets properly mixed immediately prior to use. Anyway, yes to mixing the cure into the marinade spices, with water...should be around 3-4oz of water per pound of meat, plus a cure packet and spice packet. Put prepped meat in a clean, non-reactive container, pour marinade mix over meat and gently toss to coat all pieces well. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or lid, or put in ziploc bag, and refrigerate. I like to allow at least 24 hours for cure time, 36-48 if thicker slices.

 

If curing in a bowl, I uncover and toss around to redistribute the marinade about every 8-12 hours. If in a bag, you can gently toss/tumble the bag to do the same. The liquids from the marinade mix should absorb into the meat within the first 12-18 hours, usually sooner. The reason for adding water is to aid in getting even coverage of the spices and cure throughout the batch. Without water, some pieces of meat may not cure evenly, if at all. When the pieces are removed and placed on dehydrator trays or smoker grates, hung, etc. they should all have a red color...any that are slightly grey are not completely cured...these can be considered suspect for bacterial issues if you cold smoke and do low temp drying, so watch for them. If you watch for this when you remove the pieces from the curing container you can catch them right away.

 

With this setup what is the recommended temp to go with?  I have no preference for dehydrating vs smoking.  I just want the best jerky I can produce.

 

Smoking gives a great additional flavor to the overall jerky experience, so I recommend it. Hickory is good, even with these smaller pieces of beef, as the flavor of the meat intensifies when dried, so the stronger smoke will go well with that. I've used cherry as well, and it is a bit milder, but has a slightly sweet aroma and flavor, with a bit heavier background than other fruit woods I've smoked with...good choice for beef jerky as well. Mesquite is a very heavy, earthy flavor and aroma, so if you have some you could try it sometime and see what you think, but you may want to use it a bit more sparingly than hickory or cherry (less time with smoke before drying, or lighter smoke from wood).

 

With cured meat, I smoke my jerky @ anywhere below 100* up to about 120* for 15-20 if thin sliced (<1/8 - 3/16") and 20-30 minutes if thick (1/4 - 3/8"), then remove smoke wood and dry at 120* for a few hours. check texture and increase to around 135-140 for a few more hours and check again. If you have low relative humidity (R/H) and especially if thin sliced, it may start drying faster than you might expect, so you need to be around to keep an eye on things. I generally bump to around 160* after the jerky has begun showing shrinkage and hasn't gotten very leathery to the touch yet. The higher temps will finish it up, but drying with too high of temps at the start can cause texture issues...some crumbly spots, some not as dry. If drying in a smoker, you need good ventilation to keep exhausting the water vapor from the drying meat out of the chamber. More ventilation = less humidity = a bit faster drying.

 

If you prefer to dry in a dehydrator, you could use approx the same drying temps and times as for a smoker (either smoke first, or no smoke and straight to drying), but you really need to be able to look at and touch the jerky to determine how the drying process is progressing. It can get too dry...crumbly and brittle pieces are over-dried.

 

I will be using a 4lb bottom round as a test run.  It was on a pretty good sale.  :)

 

Bottom round works pretty well for jerky...fairly lean interior...just knock off the fat cap if it has one before you slice and it will save you additional trimming time if doing final trimming piece by piece.

 

Thanks for any clarifications here.  I've been reading quite a bit but am somehow missing a couple of the relationships between steps and methods.

 

 


I think that should cover the basics and answer your questions. Let us know if something else comes up along your jerky adventure that you may need help with.

 

Have fun on that jerky ride!!!

 

 

Eric

 

 


Edited by forluvofsmoke - 4/15/12 at 7:53pm
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

 

Thanks, that clears most of what I need to try.  The cure I bought is just straight LEM Cure.

 

I will probably use hickory.  I just hope I can actually get some smoke at 125f!  

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadtower 

I am going to use a GOSM cabinet to smoke.  I recently modded it with a needle valve so I can easily run it as low as 100 if I want.  Yesterday I ran it empty at a perfect 125 for an hour.  If anyone out there has a GOSM I highly recommend this mod.  biggrin.gif

 


 

OK I may need a link to this upgrade ... Please

post #5 of 10

Sounds like your pretty close to having everything ready to go.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chadtower View Post

 

Thanks, that clears most of what I need to try.  The cure I bought is just straight LEM Cure.

 

Just checked that page...6,25% Sodium Nitrite, or what's called Cure #1, so that will do just fine on your jerky meats. Check the label for application rate, but it's probably 1 Tbsp per pound of meat like Tender Quick...lots of salt there, so don't add any in your marinade recipe.

 

I will probably use hickory.  I just hope I can actually get some smoke at 125f!  

 

My Smoke Vault 24 has built-in "warm" settings on the burner control dial which allows a near infinite flame adjustment like a needle valve will, but I find it much easier to just add a couple of hot charcoal briquettes to the cast iron smoke pan and toss my chips or chunks on top for shorter cold smokes like jerky. If you did a mod to lower your smoke box/tray closer to the burner just for cold smokes, or fab a small enough smoke box to set right down on the burner and be able to support it at different heights above the burner to control the heat getting to the smoke wood, you'd be able to run without briquettes pretty nicely. Something hung by a wire hanger would work if you got in a pinch for time and materials...just don't let the wire get into the flame or it would likely melt-down and drop your smoke can onto the burner...icon_eek.gif


Eric

 

 

post #6 of 10

I think the cure rate is much smaller than that .. .for some reason I believe for cure #1 its a 1/2 tsp per 5bls of meat .. Let me go check my stuff real fast

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitaMcD View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by chadtower 

I am going to use a GOSM cabinet to smoke.  I recently modded it with a needle valve so I can easily run it as low as 100 if I want.  Yesterday I ran it empty at a perfect 125 for an hour.  If anyone out there has a GOSM I highly recommend this mod.  biggrin.gif

 


 

OK I may need a link to this upgrade ... Please



Here are several related threads you can browse for info and discussions:

 

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/68156/gosm-needle-valve-mod

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/85324/does-anyone-have-a-picture-of-a-needle-valve-installed

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/109469/wow-needle-valve-install-modification-w-pics-thanks-smf

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/87680/needle-valve-parts-list

 

 

Search for "needle valve mod":

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/search.php?advanced=1&search=needle+valve+mod&titleonly=1&byuser=&output=all&containingforum[]=109&replycompare=gt&numupdates=&sdate=0&newer=1&sort=relevance&order=descending&Search=SEARCH

 

Have fun, Rita!

 

 

Eric

post #8 of 10

1 Level TBSP per 5lbs of Ground meat

20 level TBSP = 4oz.

To make brine / marinade add 3oz. of cure#1 to one gallon water

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

 

I could probably just put a coffee can right on the burner to get the chunk closer.  That would be possible.  

 

 

As for the mod, if you search the forum for "GOSM needle valve" there are tons of posts on various ways to do it.  I used this regulator/valve setup and 3 adapters from the hardware store to connect it to the 1/8" fitting for the GOSM.

 

 

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadtower View Post

 

I could probably just put a coffee can right on the burner to get the chunk closer.  That would be possible.  

 

 

As for the mod, if you search the forum for "GOSM needle valve" there are tons of posts on various ways to do it.  I used this regulator/valve setup and 3 adapters from the hardware store to connect it to the 1/8" fitting for the GOSM.

 

 


Just be sure to do a dry run with it and burn out the can really well before you actually smoke with it in the smoker. Also, when you do a dry run, watch the flame so it doesn't get high enough to get that thin tin can glowing red hot, or your mod is kaput.

 

 

Eric

 

 

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