In May my wife and I purchased a Big Green Egg and we've had fun making a lot of different types of food on it from pulled pork to pizza. Last week we marinaded and cold smoked our first batch of jerky with a recipe noted as a Jack Links copy cat. The jerky turned out great and we devoured it.
I cut up 2 lbs of eye of round, marinaded it for 24 hours, then smoked it for 3 hours on the egg. To give a synopsis of the smoking process I had a small fire going in the egg with apple chunks for smoke and maintained a temperature from 180-210 degrees. Afterwards I sliced the meat up into strips (I've since learned I should have done that before smoking) and put it in the refrigerator. Since this turned out so good we decided we would like to make more and I started reading about making jerky for long term, non-refrigerated storage. That's when the panic kicked in! We didn't use any cure in our marinade!! I have two kids 5 and 8 and the last thing I want to do is give them food poisoning. I thought "hey I'll buy some cure, throw it in there and problem solved." Well needless to say there is a lot more to curing than that. I've read forums, recipes, etc and eventually landed here where I see a plethora of educated folks on this subject. Here are my questions.
Tender Quick or Cure #1? I am asking because I read Tender Quick can leave a "ham" taste to the meat from the curing process. I don't want that taste in my jerky.
This is the recipe for the marinade I used:
With this recipe, how does the cure factor into this? Do I mix cure with water and soak the meat in it for 24 hours then rinse the meat and put it in the marinade or do you add the cure to the marinade? Will the cure make the marinade and/or meat extremely salty? The all important question, how much cure should I use (I know this differs by TQ or Cure #1.) Let's say I go with Cure #1: I see it recommends 1tsp for 5 lbs of meat. Do I just mix that in with the marinade or do I need to weigh out the marinade to equal the weight of the meat?
If you kind folks could offer me some insight I would appreciate it. Our goal is to make jerky, vacuum seal it, and store it in our pantry. We are going on vacation in a few weeks and I would love to be able to take some jerky with us that we don't have to worry about storing in a refrigerator.
Thanks in advance to any of you kind enough to help us out!