This is my first post and contribution to this site - and my third attempt at Beef Jerky.
I have read through countless forms and there is a lot of awesome information on this site.
Not sure if this should be posted here or in the recipe section, Jerky section, or a section on propane upright smokers, but looking for feed back regardless.
So a little bit about me to put this all in context: I am a Canadian in Port Moody, a suburb of Vancouver in the Pacific North West, and love going down to tailgate at the Seahawk games with my American cousins, but unfortunately, no meat can cross the border. The experience of smoked ribs from my fellow Seahawk fans got me hooked, and I bought a Propane "Smoke Vault" made by Camp Chef. I thought I was buying a Caddy, but then I found this site!
So I am open to any help or tips on using this unit which I'm thinking might be more like a Corvair.
This third attempt starts with two Baron of Beef roasts out of my freezer probably 8 - 10 lbs total. This is free range organic beef from my Brothers farm up the vally, from a steer that was actually chased by Jedi for good muscle tone and conditioning, prior to the slaughterhouse. ( Jedi is my poorly named black Lab guarding the smoker - really more like a Sith lord as his mantra is"Kill Somthin' n' eat it" )
As best I could, I cut this into 1/4 inch thick slices while still partly frozen, or thawed just enough to cut.
I then Marinaded this for 3 days in the following recipe:
1 cup of soy sauce
1 cup of Jamican Rum
1 can of Molson Canadian - any old lager beer will do.
1/2 cup of Maple Syrup ( the real McCoy is expensive & hopefully worth it and not a waste here )
3 Tbsp of Seasoning salt - the orangy looking stuff made popular here by Hy's steakhouse.
3 Tbsp of Worsheshire
3Tbsp of pepercorns coarsely ground up in a pestol & morter
Then it is time for the smoker. the first attempt I could not balance the smoke production with the heat - so I read more forums and now I will try for a third time to keep the heat at 140 farenhiet for 4 - 6 hours is my goal.
The problem I am having is this thing is running too hot and my fist batch was basically tree bark, Jedi was the only one who would eat it, and good thing I started with a small batch. That time I stuck with the time recommended of 10 hours instead of using common sense knowing the temperature was close to 250 f for most of the time. I was too focused on keeping the smoke production up.
Today I have hickory chips that are shredded to a fine grain with lots of surface area, and it seems to keep the smoke production up even 3 hours later at 140 f . I have the smoke vault dialed down to the lowest setting. The first two batches I used Mesquite for smoke and they were 2 inch square blocks of wood so that may have been a factor.
Here is a shot of the current experiment at hour 2 maintaining 140 f and an outdoor temperature of 3.6 degrees Celsius - I'm guessing that would be 37 - 40 f .
This smoker came with the three trays and the bottom one has a finer mesh over the grill bars an was labeled as the Jerky tray. The bulk of the Beef is hanging off the other two grill bars included with the unit.
The unit also came with a water tray that I leave in when doing my ribs with water of course, but left it out for this smoke job.
So I am looking for pointers on a few things:
What grain of wood chips are best? this shredded batch I have now seems ok but most of what I have used previously would be like what you would get from choping with an axe - do you call that medium grade? The other "blocks" look like the odd ends from a mill just left in big chunks 2" square or as big as 3" square.
Should I be using the water tray with water?
How about leaving it in empty as a shield should some of the chips"ignite" I could get direct flame on the meat ?
I have not seen any of the chips ignite so far even on high.
One final note, the above recipe does not have a brine or cure as I have 19 year old twin boys, and a 15 year old hockey player, so even this won't last more than 3 days.
At that, would it be safe in a jar on the counter?
Have any of you ever used a desiccant to keep out an lingering moisture?
Thanks all in advance for the help