This is definitely a tough one and many have different opinions.
My 2 cents,
I have used the old method for near 30 years as have everyone else I know and they still do, this was Worcestershire, soy and various spices and, the jerky was then dried, not cooked.
I have never gotten sick or heard of any of my friends getting sick... this does not mean its 100% safe.
Sometimes we worry too much about what has become the, "Safe" way to prepare something and the end result is unsatisfactory.
Sure you can cook everything to 180 degrees and be safe eating shoe leather.
I am not telling anyone to not follow the USDA Guidelines for jerky making. (double negative)
The advice I would give on this forum would be to play it safe and follow the Safety Guidelines, but I don't always practice what I preach.
In my recent years and since I have been a bit more cautious I have been using TQ with satisfactory results, will I go back to the old way, probably, but I would not tell any folks on this forum to do so.
BIG QUESTIONS! (I'm assuming that this is based on not using a cure?)
1. Short of buying an infrared surface thermometer..., what temp and how long would I have to have jerky in dry heat to reach 165* surface temp, and how long? I would never ever bring jerky up to 165 internal or external.
a) While still wet in beginning?
b) At the end of drying?
I see you use a cure so its a moot point
so continue to use a cure if you are unsure
Here is an Alton Brown recipe
(is this unsafe????)
1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak
2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Special Equipment: 1 box fan, 4 paper air-conditioning filters, and 2 bungee cords
Trim the flank steak of any excess fat, place in a zip-top bag, and place it in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours in order to firm up.
Remove the steak from the freezer and thinly slice the meat with the grain, into long strips.
Place the strips of meat along with all of the remaining ingredients into a large, 1-gallon plastic zip-top bag and move around to evenly distribute all of the ingredients. Place the bag into the refrigerator for 3 to 6 hours.
Remove the meat from the brine and pat dry. Evenly distribute the strips of meat onto 3 of the air filters, laying them in the grooves and then stacking the filters on top of one another. Top these with 1 empty filter. Next, lay the box fan on its side and lay the filters on top of it. Strap the filters to the fan with 2 bungee cords. Stand the fan upright, plug in and set to medium. Allow the meat dry for 8 to 12 hours. If using a commercial dehydrator, follow the manufacturer's directions.
Once dry, store in a cool dry place, in an airtight container for 2 to 3 months.
I have also had success with biltong.
Here is how I made my biltong.
- 3lbs London Broil
- ½ c Balsamic Vinegar
- ¼ c Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire
- 4 teaspoons: Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
- 2 heaping teaspoons: Coarse Black Pepper
- 4 teaspoons brown sugar
- 7 teaspoons coriander seeds or 4 teaspoons ground (Roast seeds)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
1) Roast coriander seeds and mince in processor, in a bowl combine salt, pepper, sugar, paprika and garlic powder, partition spice as follows; Put the spice in a salt shaker, set aside.
2) Cut long strips of meat approx 1/2 to 1 inch thick with the grain, any length is ok.
3) Place Balsamic vinegar and cider vinegar in a Glass bowl then add the meat, coat meat liberally place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
4) Remove meat and coat liberally with the spice, place meat in a plastic (no metal) colander in fridge up to 3 hours, pouring off any excess liquid.
5) Hang in Biltong box for 3-5 days.
I still use the TQ in my Jerky making and results are just as good as the old way... just watch the salt content.
I feel comfortable with this method