Tried my 1st attempt at making Jerky in my MES 40 today, I had mixed results.
I used 5lb eye of round sliced on a meat slicer to about 3/16" thick.
I had some jerky mix that I had gotten from the Sausage Maker. It was Uncle Abe's seasoning.
Mixed this packet of season with a cup of water and then added 1 tsp of cure#1. I then poured this over the sliced eye of round and tossed it all together until there was almost no liquid left.
I then covered the bowl and put in Frig over night, It ended up being about 24 hrs.
I was going off the directions on the box that the seasoning came in, it stated that I needed to smoke/dry the meat at 115 degrees for 4-8 hours.
So I set the smoker temp to 120 and once the smoker was up to temp, about 15 minutes, it was 14 degrees out today. I then placed the racks of jerky in. I tried the skewer method of hanging the jerky from the racks.
I left the jerky in the smoker for about 1 hr without any wood chips.
At the 1 hr mark I put a loader full of wood chips in. I kept an eye on things and seeing steam/smoke coming out the fully open vent and temp holding steady at 120 everything was ok.
After the 2hr mark I went to check on the wood chips and found that basically it was just the way I had loaded them. I did the checking by peering thru the chip loader hole.
I left it go for another hr and checked once more, still same unburnt wood chips. I decided at that point that what I was seeing coming out the vent was steam and not smoke. I figured that the set temp was just too low for the wood chips to get going. So I bumped up the temp to 150. After an hour I checked things and the wood chips were now burnt and need more added.
I kept doing this every hour, without opening the front door.
Around the 6 hour mark I did open the door to do a quick check on how the meat was drying. The jerky hanging above the chip loader side was looking good and I should have removed them at the point. The lower rack was no where near done.
At things go till the 8 hr mark. Top rack of jerky was all but done, there was a few that had a very center strip that was not as dry as I wished. The bottom rack was still not done.
Let things go for 1 more hour. Pulled the top rack out. Everything looked good except 2 pieces that had folded in half while hanging and did not dry very good.
I pulled the bottom rack and maybe half still need to be dried a little longer, so I removed them from the skewers and just placed them on a rack and placed them in the top location in the smoker and let them go for another hour.
I let them cool on the kitchen counter for awhile and then tried an few.
I personally like a dry chewy jerky, most are like this but there are a few that are a little too soft for my liking. they were the larger of the pieces. I would not wanted to let them in any longer cause the edges would of been rock hard, so not sure how I will correct that.
What would I do differently?
I would make my pieces not as wide. Long slender strips. May not use skewers either, there was no way to remove any jerky that was done before the others.
I think I would also start out at a higher temp. maybe 140-150. I like the idea of low and slow but I also want to add smoke flavor and that was just not happening at 120.
Any tips and tricks would be great. If you see that I did anything wrong let me know.
Jerky hanging in the smoker