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Tried making jerky and failed

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
So, I rubbed down my sliced and trimmed top round jerky and let it marinate overnight. I smoked it for 6 hours, the first 3 were with smoke. I pulled it from the smoker and tried a piece. Boy oh Boy was it horrid. It takes a lot for me to say I messed up, but I reallly messed this one up. I added too much pepper first of all, second of all I think i had smoke on it too long and finally, Since I didnt use any morton's tenderquick or any cure for that matter. I think it was all just totally wrong.
post #2 of 27
Did you smoke it as a roast, or, slice it up thin before the smoke? You can do a jerky without cure, it's just a bit touchier to make it safely, and still have a good jerky. The main thing with jerky is (my thoughts) get a good cure, and then you can dry the meat to your liking. Without a cure, it should be cooked before drying, and that's just not right! LOL!!!

As for seasonings, I love black peppered jerky...the more the better...I like peppered bacon, too. Black pepper may be the death of me some day!!!

Anyway, I've done teriaki jerky, with (of course) added black pepper...WOW...that's good stuff. I didn't use a cure for the teri/pepper, just marinade overnight after slicing, then smoked for about 6 hours, started low (130-ish), finished @ 160 (I think), maybe 170 tops. Kept the ziploc baggies of the goods in the freezer 'til snack-time. That was several months ago...I might have slept since then!!! I need more jerky!

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
sliced first
post #4 of 27
With any meat that you can put a therm into, you only smoke to about 140 internal, so not long with jerky (about 20-25 minutes at 155-160 chamber temp). The pepper thing can be worked out...if it's heavy, you can rub it off when you eat it, no biggy.

Don't give up! Like anything worthwhile, it will take some experimenting. Not every meat or every smoker will react the same way...play with it a while and it will get better. The first of everything I've done is a hit/miss...either I hit a home run, or I've swung out. Happens to everybody.

Keep trying, maybe not jerky for a little while, until you have some time to re-think it. Ribs next? Maybe a butt?

Grab that Louisville Slugger, and get ready for the next pitch!!!

post #5 of 27
My guess would be, not the cure, though you should use it at that low of a temp IMHO, and not the pepper, but too much smoke will absolutely kill jerky.

You gotta preburn everything with that beef jerky.
post #6 of 27
Well, I'm going to give you points for trying . . . and posting your own harsh review.biggrin.gif Takes a lot to post it up when things don't go as planned.

I haven't done a lot -- only two batches -- but in my SnP, I used the propane Afterburner and smoked it for 3 hours at about 150ish and then took out the wood and had just heat for about 3 more hours. But the SnP is pretty leaky and so 3 hours in it probably wouldn't give jerky as much of a smokey flavor as 3 hours in a trash can smoker. By the looks of the picture in your profile it looks like a pretty small and fairly efficient smoking space.

So I would agree with the other posters -- probably too much smoke this time around.

But like Eric said .. .

If you want to try a cure and marinade next time, check out this post by Richtee.


post #7 of 27
Your on the right track! your closer than you think!! Temp, time and method are spot on!!!
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
I was kinda thinking the smoke too, I'll try it again with a wet marinade and less pepper (although I still like it with a lil kick) Thanks for all your help!
post #9 of 27
What kind of wood and was it well seasoned?
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
hickory, and yea I think it was well seasoned. I used a rub I have and added pepper
post #11 of 27
Here is the marinade/cure that I have been using for years. You will love it!! Let me know if you give it a try.

post #12 of 27
You might wanna try the HI Mountain cure. I have been using it for years & it makes great jerky every time. OR go with a "proven" method from this forum for starters, then modify it to be your own as you get the hang of it. Also, IMO too much smoke can ruin jerky. I typically run 1 pan of chips through the MES and that's it. It gets all the smoke flavor we like and is not overpowering.

Did your post say "too much pepper".....I did'nt think that was possible on jerky!biggrin.gif
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
well, my pepper cracker has the tendency to not really crack pepper, more just throw chunks around. Now, I love spicy food, but a chunk of black pepper isnt a good kind of spicy.
post #14 of 27
I'm leanin with Fishawn. Get yourself a jerky kit from Hi Mountain for about 7 bucks and follow directions. I really like the Hickory and the Cajun. I've not had a bad batch. I've started experimenting now with adding some flavors and creating my own marinades. Using the jerky kits when first starting out heads you in the right direction. Learn first... experiment later. Do as I say.... not as I do.... o..... and sounds like too much smoke.
post #15 of 27
Well thats the fun of this hobby, learning what works and what does not. I have made jerky that quite honestly, was like biting into tree bark. Here is a recipe from Ryteks book, I think you may like it. Hot pepper jerky.
This is for 3 pound of beef or venison.
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp Insta Cure
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup cayenne pepper sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp black pepper (I like more)
1 tsp chile pepper
1 cup water

Trim as much fat as possible.
Cut strips 1/4" to 1/2" thcik and 1/2" to 3/4" wide.
Mix everything and let marinade in fridge for 24 hours. Mix everything up again at least once during this time

I use a big chief so its easy for me to smoke at a lower temp. I did my last one I think it was at 130 degrees. After a few hours, I removed a piece to check to see if it was done by tearing it open and seeing if it was raw looking. After it looked ok, I stuck it back in the smoker for an additional 30 minutes. Should come out and be able to bend it without snapping it but close to it, if that makes sense. Now Im not the master at making jerky so if any of my info here is wrong, please feel free to correct me. Good luck and post some pics of your next batch.
post #16 of 27
okay let's put this thing to rest :-)
Smoked jerky does not need added cure - why ?
Because the 'smoke ring' is actually a layer of meat CURED by the nitrous oxide in the smoke.
Soooooooo Any meat as thin as jerk is going to have a smoke ring all the way through and hence be cured regardless of rub or marinade.

I mean there are numerous other reasons why you don't need cure, but I figure that's the one you lot might take on board ;-)

Sounds like your marinade was dodgy, and maybe too much smoke judging by your comments.
post #17 of 27
My understanding is you need the cure for the drying process. If you smoke/dry your jerky for more than 4 hours without reaching 140 degrees, then you need cure. Better safe than sorry.
post #18 of 27
An excerpt from http://www.birdflumanual.com/resourc...keNCureFAQ.pdf

"[What other factors affect the growth of bacteria?]
When meat is smoked, the environment is robbed of most if its oxygen. If this is combined with temperatures in the danger zone, the growth of the bacteria that causes botulism is increased. "

Another excerpt from Smoke Ring in Barbeque Meats
How to Get That Coveted Pink Ring With Your Cooking
by Joe Cordray

taken from


"Wood contains large amounts of nitrogen (N). During burning the nitrogen in the logs combines with oxygen (O) in the air to form nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Nitrogen dioxide is highly water-soluble. The pink ring is created when NO2 is absorbed into the moist meat surface and reacts to form nitrous acid. The nitrous acid then diffuses inward creating a pink ring via the classic meat curing reaction of sodium nitrite. The end result is a "smoke ring" that has the pink color of cured meat. Smoke ring also frequently develops in smokehouses and cookers that are gas-fired because NO2 is a combustion by-product when natural gas or propane is burned."

From what information I can find and have read, the smoke ring "appears" to have the color of cured meat but it is not "cured" the same way that sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate cures meat.

There are folks here who never cure their jerky and their statement is usually along the lines of "No one ever got sick". That does not necessarily mean that it is safe. I would be willing to bet that the jerky did not sit around at room temperature long enough for anything to happen. I know around my house, jerky doesn't last long but I cure it just the same.biggrin.gif

Lots of people don't wear seatbelts and nothing happens to them. Doesn't mean it is the safest practice either.


post #19 of 27
"The nitrous acid then diffuses inward creating a pink ring via the classic meat curing reaction of sodium nitrite."

I would think this sentence above, the one just prior to the one you pointed out, would support what CA was saying. Kinda implies a sodium nitrite cure in the area of the smoke ring. The reason for the pink color...no?

Some of us on sodium restrictive diets would be very interested in this. I'd like to see more discussion on the subject. In this case I'd really like to do some jerky, but the safer alternative of tenderquick could be sorry for me :).
post #20 of 27
So don't use TQ. Use Prague #1. .04 oz per lb is all it takes, and it has 0 effect on saltiness.

Didn't we have to discussion somewhere else?
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