As my title states, I've been making jerky for a few years now, I figure it's time to check and make sure I'm not doing this the hard way, or throwing away good materials, using too much of any ingredients, stuff like that.
Anyway, my base recipe is as follows(Based on 1 lb. of meat, marinated for about 24 hours, and sliced about 1/4" thick):
2 cups soy sauce(As a cure)
1 cup Worcestershire sauce(Flavoring/cure)
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar(Counters the salt from the soy sauce, purely for flavor)
1 ea. finely diced and seeded jalapeno, habanero and serrano peppers(Flavor as well, just enough to be spicy, not enough to overwhelm)
2 tsp Liquid Smoke(Flavor as well)
So I add no extra salt, but seem to get plenty of cure. Is this enough or too much soy sauce? Obviously, I don't want to use more than I need here. Is 24 hours too much marination?
Also, best recommendation for meat I found is top round. We actually still have a local functioning butcher shop here, and I get that for roughly $5-$6 a pound. I've found mostly athing that is lean works pretty well, and a little bit of fat on the occasional piece is just bonus yumminess...
Next question: This one might not matter anymore now that I am upgrading dehydrators and can handle a much bigger batch(Moving from the standard Nesco round stackable to this one: http://www.amazon.com/Commercial-10-Tray-Dehydrator-Durable-Stainless/dp/B01A6CZK74 It's a DELLA 1200W unit with 10 trays, and all metal build.)
Anyway, if I marinate at 1lb. at a time, would the mixture up above work for a second go, or would it be cashed out at that point?
Like I said, I've had great luck with this recipe, I tend to take the meat off when bending it in half shows it dry all of the way through, with a few white threads of tissue starting to show up, but not so dry it's like paper. I'm just curious if I'm using excessive materials or anything like that. I put these ingredients in a gallon Ziploc and leave in the fridge, 'massaging' the mixture every few hours to evenly distribute the marinade. I also take off individual pieces as they cure, as opposed to waiting until the whole mess is done. It also seems to work best if I have the thing set at about 155 degrees, as opposed to lower. Is there any benefit to a lower temp setting and a longer cure?
I think that's all my questions. Just figured it was time to see if I have been doing things the hard way all of this time. Thanks!