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How much liquid smoke for Jerky in a Dehydrator

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I tend to overdo seasonings when I cook.


I just bought a Nesco dehydrator (model FD-61) and I'm trying to get some whole muscle jerky recipe's down.


My first attempt with a prepackaged, wet teryacki marinade (doctored up with some liquid smoke and vinegar) was ...eh.  Okay to eat but not what I want to do going forward.


I've been trying to collect some basic Jerky recipe's but most of the one's I've got so far don't include smoke, and I like smoke flavor.


My next batch is going to be 3 lbs of beef. I'm going to use a home brew mix of dry cure #1, dry cure meat tenderizer then pickling in Soy sauce (Hoshin), Worchester Sauce (Lea and Perins) with some salt, garlic powder, Oregeno powder, onion powder, dark corn syrup, and maybe some paprika.  (all flavors I like in other things)


Any comments on the mix and proportions would be appreciated.


More specifically, how much Liquid Smoke should I use per Pound? 

Some recipes I've seen say use the whole bottle. Is that reasonable given you're experience?


I know it's a matter of personal taste; but I'd like the benefit of your experience.





post #2 of 15

I've made this "Doc's Best Beef Jerky" recipe, http://allrecipes.com/recipe/142948/docs-best-beef-jerky/ in the oven several times, and enjoy it very much. Only tweak I've made is to add 1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne to "heat it up" a bit. 




2 pounds beef round steak, cut into thin strips

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons liquid smoke

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon meat tenderizer

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon paprika

post #3 of 15

Personally I like the flavor of the beef.....    Salt, pepper, sugar and a dash of liquid smoke.....  too much liquid smoke tastes REALLY bad...  taste the brine solution....

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies, and your recipes. I thought large amounts of liquid smoke would overpower the beef and spices.


My friends were making jerky in 5 lb lots, more as survival food for campaigning (he does a lot of pioneering missionary construction in hostile environments). Would liquid smoke or smoke in general be an additional preservative?


Appreciate your insights.





post #5 of 15

Nope just a Flavoring. The presevatives in smoke, Nitrogen Gasses and other stuff is lost when the smoke it percolated through the water. So Liquid smoke has the particulate flavor ingredients of smoke but little else...JJ

post #6 of 15

To preserve jerky you need to use salt, erthorbate, metabisulphites, lactates, acetates, ascorbates etc.... 

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

Many thanks to Arkage82 and DaveOmak;


I started processing my batch of Jerky this morning. I used a slight mod to "Doc's Best Beef Jerky" recipe that arkage82 recomended; augmented by DaveO's advice to taste my marinade and go easy on the Liquid Smoke.


My wife says to try new recipes as written first, then mod them after you try it; but I've never been able to do that.

(of course she never does any recipe the same, every avatar of her cooking is a whole new adventure)


The main mod I made was to scale up the quantities for 3 lbs of meat instead of the 2 lbs that arkage82 used. After I read the technical info on curing salts on the Articles tab, I determined to use them with all my jerky.


I divided the ingredients into Wet and Dry and made the pre-heat processing into two steps.


I bought what my wife called "sandwich steaks" from the local market. These are presliced, sandwich sized, 1/4 inch thick cutlets.  I was able to get three typical jerky strips from each cutlet. 




First, I blanched each cutlet with hot water to wash off the colorant that the store added and sliced them up, then put the stack of strips into the freezer to cool.


Next I mixed up the meat strips with the Dry ingredients and put 'em in the refrigerator to cure overnight. That's supposed to  be necessary for the curing salts have time to work their way all the way into the meat. (that's based on the reference on curing salts in Article section and some video's I've found).


Tomorrow I plan to add the Wet ingredients and marinate the meat in them for about 4 hours for flavor before I load my dehydrator. Since I'm using curing salts, I plan to try the "Slow Start" plan that some others on the forum have recommended for Jerky. I think I'll start at 120 deg for two hours then step it up to 155 deg for the remainder of the time, til the Jerky is fully dehydrated.




This is the modified Recipe I'm using:


3 Lbs sandwich steaks cut into @ 1" wide strips


Dry Ingredients:


3/8 Tsp #1 pink curing salts (Hi-Country brand)

2   Tsp Salt (ordinary table salt)

1 1/2 Tsp ground black pepper (store brand)

1 1/2 tsp meat tenderizer (Adolphs)

1 1/2 tsp Ground Oregano (store brand) - I just like oregano. It's also the best broad spectrum natural anti-biotic in the Paharmcopea reference.

1 1/2 tsp ground onion powder (Store brand)

1 1/2 tsp Paprika (McCormic)

1 1/2 tsp ground Ginger (store brand) - I just like Ginger too. Got that from my Mom.




Wet Ingredients:


3/8 c soy sauce (Kikoman's Tamare)

4 Tbsp (Lea & Perrins) Worcsetershire sauce

3 Tbsp Liquid Smoke (Colgin, Natural Hicory)

3 Tbsp Dark Karo corn syrup (didn't have any brown sugar and one reference said corn sugar is better for curing)

3 Tbsp Cider Vinegar (I tasted the mixed up wet marinade and decided it needed more bite; + acetic acid is something that reduces bacteria growth marginally in dried meats according to the references)




DaveO's admonition to taste the marinade gave me the courage to make these mods. Not sayin' I just flew blind before; buuut..... thanks Dave, I liked the result in the Wet mix.


(No, I'm not stupid enough to taste the curing mix with the #1 curing salts in it, even though I did need someone to tell me to taste it to see if I liked the flavor before marinating the meat :(  oh well, never claimed to be the sharpest knife in the drawer).




I'll let you know how it turns out, assuming I don't turn it into charcoal.   ;)


Thanks for the help guys.

Good providence.



post #8 of 15
Originally Posted by Newburydave View Post


My wife says to try new recipes as written first, then mod them after you try it; but I've never been able to do that.

(of course she never does any recipe the same, every avatar of her cooking is a whole new adventure)



:33: My wife told me that I was the only one that didn't follow the rules, but always had to do my own thing!! ;-)


Hope it all works out. Best of luck!

post #9 of 15

Haha!  You're not the only one who doesn't follow rules.  This is gauranteed!

post #10 of 15

General rule is 1 tbsp per lb.  If you like bold flavor, you will definitely need more but yes, like you said, it is a matter of your preference

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Okay, I had an unintentional schedule change. The meat is still in the brine/marinade, it'll be marinating for @18 hours before I can load it into the dehydrator. Glad I didn't overdo the spices and flavorings.


So after breakfast I'll be loading the meat into the dehydrator. This is probably better timing because now I can check on the meat every couple of hours instead of sleeping through the drying cycle.


I should have a report on this recipe and dehydration cycle result by tonite.



post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 



I couldn't have done it without you guys and your advice.


I pulled the smaller, thinner pieces out about 35 minutes ago. They were done according to the bend test.


I have to say that they were the best tasting Jerky I've ever made. (Okay, Okay...1 out of 2); But it passed the acid test, My wife liked it.


I want you all to know that that doesn't happen when I cook, this is a first.


I'll take it as a win.




(30 minutes later. It's all unloaded and cooling.)


Lessons Learned:


1. Combining spices that tast good together (by a taste test; add the curing salt last after seasoning to taste), but in small quantities, works really well. The Liquid Smoke at 1 tbsp per lb was just right. Thank you DaveOmak for your advice about seasoning quantities.


2. Sprinkle the crushed pepper on after you're done marinating, after you pat the jerky strips dry. The meat tenderizer makes it easier to eat. Thanks for including it in the recipe Arkage82


3. Mix it all the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients and just marinate the whole mess in a freezer bag. It's easier to do and handle. (and the cure is automatically applied evenly to all the meat)


4. Keep the marinade thinner, not thick or sticky. I don't really like sweet meat (except short ribs); usually it just covers up the flavor of the beef instead of enhancing it. (this also makes the jerky dry more quickly in the Heat treating appliance)

--Also, the lack of thicker, sweet marinade is going to make clean up a lot easier. I bought a nylon brush to scrub out the stickies and baked on marinade from the plastic ribs on the dehydrator trays based on my first batch. I won't need it. Cleanup should be a breeze.


5. Ramp up the temperature (don't remember whose post I got that from, but thanks) from 1.5 hrs at 120, to 1.5 hrs at 140-145 to 1 hr at 160. (actually I had to pull out the thinner/smaller pieces after the 140 deg step at three hours. They were done, dried and chewy not brittle or soft and they were ready to eat (Yeah I did save some, didn't eat them all for "extensive testing") The step method really does work and improves the the "Eatablity". I think this batch is better than what my Son-in-law makes and anything I've ever bought in a store. 


6. My little Nesco FD-61 can do 3 lbs but not much more. It came with 4 round trays, so I should figure on two trays for 1.5 lbs of meat strips. I need to get a few more sets of trays (2 per set)

And, their new blower system does eliminate hot spots and circulation problems. All of the Jerky at all levels were at the same state of dryness regardless of where they were in the baskets except for the size difffernces.


7. I learned not to use Iodized salt in the curing brine (too late for this batch, but oh well).


8. I had to add @ 1/2 cup of water to the Marinade to completely cover the meat in the freezer bag. (pay for the better quality bags so they don't leak.) Double the bags up so when the inner one leaks it won't make a mess in the Fridge.


9. It only took four hours to dehydrate 3 pounds of meat. I need to adjust my step up times accordingly.




The process I ended up using:


Had to add an extra 1/2 cup of water to make the marinade to cover the meat.


Dry cured in the fridge for @ 9 hours. (won't need that step)


Marinated overnight 13:00 on the 17th til 10:30 on the 18th. @ 21 hours.


Once again thank you all for your advice. I feel like I've got a collection of Smokin' Experts to consult. Glad I found SMF.


I feel like I was wandering around in ignorance before I joined.


Thanks all



post #13 of 15

Atta Boy!!!! Glad to hear it all worked out, and that you not only made a great product, but you had fun  and learned along the way.


Thanks also for taking the time and effort to post your procedure so all the rest of us can learn as well.


Enjoy the fruits of your labor!!

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

As I said, couldn't have done it without your help.



post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

More from lessons learned.

I enjoy intense flavors; but after eating about half of this batch I'm thinking that this recipe is on the intense side of the scale. As in "eat this to stay awake driving home at night" intense. Which is about he only time in the past I'd justify the expense for commercial ($4 / oz.) jerky in the truck stops.

I'm of a mind to try a "plain vanilla" jerky, a-la DaveOmak's suggestion above in this thread. I guess this is turning into a "newbie-learning-the-ropes" sort of journal. I've had zero (0) experience with smoking/drying anything up till now [except for the beans I left on the heat too long once,...but my wife finally forgot about it and I'm not bringin' it up again ;)) ]

I think I'll start a new thread titled,... oh "Plain Vanilla beef Jerky".

If any of you would be willing to suggest seme really simple (as in minimal spices an 'hot'stuff) basic jerky recipes I'd appreciate it.

DaveO, if you'd care to expand your suggestion into a recipe that would help.

Good providence and excellent smoking to all of you.
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