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Long time jerky maker, but still have some questions - Slicing, curing, marinating time, food safety etc

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

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.  

 

Thanks guys!!

post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by synapse88 View Post
 

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  I prefer to slice my own, just using a knife and a partial frozen top or bottom round roast.  Often though, the store where I buy meat has bottom round roasts already sliced.  They are generally in the 1/4" range, but can be as thin as 1/8" and as thick as a half inch.  I sort them according to thickness and take them off the smoker sooner or later, depending on thickness. 

 

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.  I use cure.  Just prefer the safety factor.  I also don't like straight soy sauce.  I use teriyaki sauce instead. 

 

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.  I learned to make jerky in the oven.  Didn't care for the taste of liquid smoke, so made jerky without it.  Once I started using a smoker, wow, what a difference.  The recipe I use is enhanced by the smoke.   

 

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?  I've done 8 hours.  I've done 5 days.  My schedule dictates the amount of time the meat marinates.  I like 24-48 hours.  The marinade flavor is a little more intense, but not noticeably so.  Unexpected longer marinade times is also a reason I use cure. 

 

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.  I defer on this point.  I keep mine in the refrigerator. 

 

 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.  Can't help you here.    

 

Thanks guys!!  You're welcome.  Ray

 

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks Ray!

 

Anyone else care to weigh in?

post #4 of 10

I

Quote:
Originally Posted by synapse88 View Post
 

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

 

I slice my own. Usually eye round cut in half along the long center and then into slices.  I recently dug up an old Rival stainless steel slicer I bought back in the 1970's and it worked great on some 70% frozen eye round.  Made nice uniform slices.  Of course there is more cleaning involved as compared to a knife and cutting board/panel.

 

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.

 

Yes, always.  I use cure #1 by weight to the amount of meat and have a scale with 1/100th a gram resolution for small batches.

 

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.

 

I've done both and I've used liquid smoke in both.  The smoker jerky has a different smoke profile and is not overwelming, but I guess it would be easy to over do it with liquid smoke added.  Lately I've been doing all my sliced jerky in the smoker and the pressed ground beef jerky rounds in the dehydrator.  I use cure for both.

 

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?

 

I usually vacuum tumble for 20 minutes, bleeding in the air and resetting the vacuum about half way through.  Then I just sit the tumbler in the fridge overnight and give it a shake every time I walk by the fridge that evening.  By morning 90% or more of the marinade is totally absorbed by the meat (and I use cure in my marinades).

 

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.  

 

I usually make a 2 to 5 pound batch and it does not last more than 2 weeks at the most.  I just pop them in a lock & lock container and keep them at room temp on the counter. Never had any go bad.  So basically I'm making jerky every 2nd or 3rd weekend lately.

 

I took 2.5 pounds (meat start weight) to work and it was gone in about 15 minutes.  I can open a container of jerky and it's like ringing the dinner bell at the office :biggrin:

 

 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.  

 

Getting in to the business is a whole 'nother thing!!!  Insurance, licenses, inspections, rules & regulations.  Unofficial sales to close friends at the office for "cost plus time" are one thing, but when you start thinking about a business it will not be fun for long and can get real expensive.

 

Thanks guys!!

post #5 of 10

1.  Slicing - I slice by hand.  My batches are normally in the 3 to 5 pound range pre-dehydration.  Even if the batches were 10 or 15 pounds, I would probably slice by hand.  Of course, my knives are very sharp.

 

2. Curing - I use Kikkoman soy sauce based marinate - so it is salted for sure - and I have never used cure either.  I shrink wrap and store my to-be-eaten-at-a-later-date in the fridge or the freezer.

 

3.  I use a dehydrator and have for decades.  It is a personal preference for me and I do not care for the smoked jerky as much - BUT - if I was fishing with you and you brought a batch of smoked jerky, I would eat all you could spare 

:drool

 

4.  Marinating time - at least overnight - but I prefer 24 hours.  I marinate it in the fridge.

 

Food Safety - Any jerky I plan to eat in the next week or two can stay in the air.  Any jerky planned to be eaten at a later date is either shrink-wrapped and put in the fridge (to be comsumed in the next 4 weeks or so).  Anything that will be consumed a month or more after making is frozen.

 

Forum - No idea there - but on Shark Tank a guy came in with his premium steak jerky and got more than 1 shark to invest.  

 

Cheers!

 

Ed


Edited by Uncle Eddie - 8/14/17 at 6:36pm
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by synapse88 View Post
 

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

I use a cabelas' jerky slicer for even cuts

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.

Cure will keep you and yours safe !

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.

I do both and sometimes smoke for an hour and then stick the jerky in the dehydrator

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?

I usually do 7-8 pounds at a time and leave in the marinade for 2 days w/the occasional stir or shake

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.  

I air dry then vacseal and leave in the fridge until eaten,sometimes I find packs of jerky in the back of my goodie fridge that are a year old and they are still delicious!

 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.  

Seems like the health inspector would be involved and you would need all the trappings of a commercial restaurant with water temps and drain traps etc. NO THANKS! :)

Thanks guys!!

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by synapse88 View Post
 

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

 

I use my chef knife or my slicing knife.

 

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.

 

I use cure #1 at a rate of 120 PPM just for good measure (pun intended).

 

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.

 

Vertical propane smoker, GOSM to be exact.

 

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?

 

I try to get my stuff in the marinade by Thursday evening for a Sat morning smoke. If I'm off on Friday, I'll make it that morning for a 24 or just shy soak.

 

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.  

Never had it last that long.

 

 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.  

 

Thanks guys!!

post #8 of 10
I slice my jerky by hand, haven't found a slicer that I quite like. I'd prefer the slicer that attaches to the counter, slices about 1/4 thick. Anyone have one? If so do you like it? I prefer using London broil for the beef jerky since its thicker, that way when it's done it doesn't look like shoestrings! I also just started using liquid smoke in my recipe again, and it's great as long as you don't use too much.
post #9 of 10
About the jeky sales business.. I would live to do something like that, or at least start out with a vendor cart and go from there. Right now I just sell batches here and there to friends, but have a lot of orders so with my full time job it's like I have 2 jobs lol! Love it though..
post #10 of 10

Im making Jerky this weekend which I make 2-3 times a year

 

 

1 - Slicing - I slice mine by hand. HOWEVER I am really thinking about buying Cabalas 12in slicer which is on sale .. But currently I slice by hand

 

2 - Curing - Soy Sauce based marinade 

 

3 - Dehydrator vs Smoker - I have 2 dehydrators with the round plastic trays

 

4 - Marinating time - 8-12 hours. I have found that there is minimal difference between overnight-12 hours and going 24 hours. I slice meat middle afternoon, put in marinade, let sit overnight then start early the next morning

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