Spent the last few days preparing, seasoning, and smoking a nice batch of venison whole muscle jerky. In total we trimmed up a healthy 6 lbs. of Jerky and seasoned it with two varieties of High Mtn Jerky Seasoning. Half with cracked pepper and half with Hunter's blend.
My original intent was to use a home grown recipe but my order of Cure #1 was delayed by Amazon so we proceeded with the High Mtn. premixed solutions.
This was my first attempt at hanging the jerky on skewers through the racks. I was able to get two racks hung with about 3 lbs on each rack.
The little MasterForge was pretty full.
I opted to used my AMPS tube smoker, and set it up on the left side above the smoke box.
I get plenty of oxygen this way from the left side vent.
As has been my favorite lately, I used Myron Mixon's Peach pellets.
Great mild smoke.
I started out with the temps pretty low for the first couple of hrs to just allow some good smoke penetration and initial drying.
Temps on both racks hung in there around 120 for the first 1+ hours, then up to 140 for an hour. After a total of 3 1/2 hours I bumped it up to 170 to get down to business.
The AMPS performed AMAZENingly, providing a perfect TBS for almost 6 hrs. before fading out.
Couldn't be happier with how it continues to perform.
I just had to include this shot as it illustrates how I protect my Maverick ET-733 when I'm smoking in SubZero temps.
The radiant heat from the smoker keeps the electronics warm enough to do their job for the duration of the smoke no matter how cold it gets.
It was getting pretty late so I set my alarm for 1:30 AM so I could check on done-ness (is that a word) and make a decision on whether I'd let them go longer, pull them, or move them to my dehydrator for the finish. At 1:30 AM I checked in on them and decided the smartest thing to do would be to move them inside and finish them up at 145 degrees to firm up the thickest sections. Honestly this mostly meant I didn't have to babysit as much for the rest of the night. Temps were climbing higher than I liked in the smoker as the drying process continued and I have a lot more control inside the house with the dehydrator. Also, I didn't need smoke anymore anyway.
At 6 AM I pulled everything and was extremely happy with the results.
I got a perfect combination of smokey flavor and good snap without being too dry.
After some breakfast jerky taste testing I bagged up the rest for storage and distribution to family.
Finish weight on the jerky was 2 lbs 8oz.
That adds up to a 58% dry down ratio, with the final product weighing 42% of the original weight.
All in all I'm happy with the outcome. Anxious to do the next batch.
As far as taste. I much prefer the pepper over the Hunter's Blend. I lean toward spicy in my taste preferences though.
My wife and kids love the other too though so it turned out to be a great compromise.