Hey everyone, I've been making a traditional jerky a while now, with a heavy soy (1/4 cup/1 lb) and worcestershire (1/4 cup/1.5lb) recipe, but I wanted to pose some questions for you, more experienced jerky makers :)
1 - Slicing - Do you slice at home, or do you have the butcher slice? If the former, what slicer do you use, and if the latter, what butcher/grocery chain does your slicing? I use this cheapo Cuisinart thing but it's not very consistent on the thickness, even when pre-freezing. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IW22Z6E
2 - Curing - Do you guys normally cure? I never have and have never had a problem...is curing only necessary when you're not using so much salt in the recipe? I'd like to avoid it if possible.
3 - Dehydrator vs Smoker - I've always used a dehydrator and have liquid smoke in the recipe (1 tsp/1 lb, and people really seem to love it once I got my recipe honed in. Honestly, how much better is the smoked jerky? I like some smoke (think smoked pork butts and brisket) but don't like an overwhelming amount of smoke. Do I need to invest in a smoker to make better jerky than I do now? If so please suggest models.
4 - Marinating time - I usually do 24 hours or a bit under...I can't imagine it needs more than that when making jerky of regular thickness. Have you all actually noticed a difference by marinating for more than 1 day? Would I have to tone down the amounts of spices etc if I wanted to go longer than 24?
General food safety questions - So after my jerky is done, I cool, then seal in food saver vacuumed bags, usually with a desicant packet, and store at room temperature up to a month. Is that enough? I've seen talk of doing a post drying bake at 275 for 10 minutes to kill pathogens, the curing stuff above etc, am I missing any best practices I'mm not currently following? I'm thinking the curing is to keep the jerky shelf stable for a year+ on end or whatever, which I have no interest in. My jerky us usually consumer within weeks.
Lastly are there any forums etc for beginning a jerky sales business? Not really interested in doing that, but would love to read about the experiences of others that have.