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First shot at jerky

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
OK, so I know if there are no pics it never happened, so...

Once upon a time, a handsome young prince named Chopper sliced up a moose roast, and a beef roast to make some jerky.

He marinaded it overnight in a concoction he assembled from numerous recipes he found on a website he likes to frequent...Smokingbabes.ca

He put it on his GOSM at about 1600 hrs, at about 150 - 200 with a gorgeous little pan of hickory, toasting away beneath it.

Temps were watched all evening, and after supper (about 1830 hrs) he opened the door to find the jerky to be perfectly done. Not too crisp, not too moist. Perfect.

2 and a half hours?!?!?! Thats it!?!?!

Did I have the temps too high?

I added the recommended amount of prague powder (in the gospel according to Rytek Kutas).

I expected to be up into the wee hours waiting for this stuff to finish up, and here it is already done?!?! And I must say, it is fantastic...half is eaten already icon_lol.gif
post #2 of 17
chopper -

i would say that your temps were much too high, but i would probably be in the minority.

i would recommend cooking temps no highrer than 140....somethng less than a hundred would probably be even better. keep in mind the emat is cured, so it is already cooked - all you want to do is dry it out.

the best part about it is that as long as it tastes good, it's all good! keep experimenting until you find what works best, btu i definitely recommend much lower cooking temps.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Alright...I thought it was too good to be true :o) That actually explains a lot as well. Instead of the normal dry glaze I get, it was a toasty bark almost.

I'm going to make a mess of jerky this weekend, so I will have to give the lower temp a try.

Thanks TW!
post #4 of 17


I run my smoker around 145. Your temp was low enough it didn't cook at best it may be a little dry if so put it in a plastic bag partially open in the fridge this should let some moisture back into it.
post #5 of 17
I gotta add my opinion in on this. There is a lot of difference in 150 to 200 degrees. I would guess that you were more at the 200 mark than not for the jerky to be dried out to the degree your describing in 2.5 hours. And the thing is..... if you like it that way... that's the way for you to do it. I dry mine longer at a lower temp.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say that the meat is cured so it is already cooked. Cured meat isn't cooked... it's cured. If you cure a meat such as pork and don't get it above 160 degrees it still needs to be cooked before you eat it. From my understanding the curing process eliminates the possibility of bacteria multiplying to a dangerous level if your going to be smoking the meat for more than four hours...... such as bacon or jerky.... along with changing the texture and flavor of the meat. I'm no expert at this but I have studied the jerky thing quite a bit and using TQ or insta cure 1 the meat still needs to be cooked or dried to a certain degree. Obviously beef doesn't have to be taken to the same temp as pork.... like eating a steak rare.... Beef is the safest to eat at lower internal temps. I think reaching a safe temp is much more of an issue with ground jerky and wild meat.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
You are right on the money. I was battling a bit of a cold wind, and once I got the rig set up to accommodate, I went inside and the wind changed. I intended on 150, but it was definitely sitting at 200 for quite a bit.
post #7 of 17
You are right on with cured not being cooked. Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are used to slow the C. botulinum (botulism) spores from developing toxins. But they will not destroy it. The only thing that will destroy C. botulinum is for the temperature to be held at (250 °F) for 3 minutes.

Temperatures of 160 are needed to destroy the Trichinosis parasite.
USDA Title 9 section 318.10 recommends
Cooking meat products to an internal temperature of 165 ° F (74 °C) for a minimum of 15 seconds.
Cooking pork to a uniform internal temperature of at least 144 °F (62.2 °C), per.
Beef jerky generally dries fast enough if the product is handled properly it's not a problem. I have made jerky using plain table salt not as a cure but as a flavoring. Pemmican made by native americans was simply buffalo or deer meat dried in the sun or over a fire then pounded together with dried buffalo berries and mixed with fat. Ive made this many times witout and ill effects.
post #8 of 17
I am with Dave on this.

You didn't say how thick the cuts were. So far as drying it out, you could dry it out in the sun. Would that be safe?

I am no expert on jerky, done a few times in a dehydrater years ago, and now question that.

Good luck and keep learning and be careful.
post #9 of 17
The USDA requirement for commercially sold jerky is to parboil the meat to 160 before it is dehydrated. I know they go to excess to cover themselves but if you do a little reading... you are taking a chance making jerky without curing... especially with wild game or ground jerky. Hi Mountain Cure states in their instructions to take the jerky to 160 degrees. You can get away with a lot of stuff... I've eatin my share of uncured dehydrated jerkey.... but not anymore.
post #10 of 17


It was not my intention to recommend making jerky without cure only giving my own experience's. I have not dealt with USDA but I did work for the Burlingame Locker Company Burlingame Kansas a few years ago. We were under Kansas Dept of Agriculture inspection.We made approximately 100 lb batches of jerky a couple times each month ran our smokehouse at 155' F.

In 2008 due to the outbreaks of e coli. Kansas State University to prevent any possible problems that might occur from contaminated jerky being made in the many small town meat locker plants. Conducted a very intense research project to see if anything could be done to assure the prevention of e coli without putting any undue burden on the processors. They tried different temperatures and drying times and what they came up with was that jerky could be continued to be dried at 68'C 154 F but the drying time need to be increased.

[A commercial processor provided samples of the batter used to make chopped and formed beef jerky. The researchers then inoculated the raw batter with either E. coli O157:H7 or Salmonella and extruded it into strips measuring 2.54 long by 0.64 centimeters wide. The strips were then thermally processed in K-State's own pathogen dedicated commercial smokehouse for nearly seven hours, using varying rates of relative humidity and temperature.
Researchers determined that the worst-case scenario for a commercial jerky process does not adequately reduce the pathogens as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. In order to ensure that both pathogens were destroyed, researchers found that an additional hour and a half of drying at 68 degrees C, 154.4 F was needed.
"Though the worst-case scenario for a commercial jerky process did reduce the presence of Salmonella to the required level, it didn't have the desired effect on E. coli O157:H7," Getty said. "Additional drying was needed to kill off both pathogens at the levels required by the Food Safety and Inspection Service."
post #11 of 17
I agree whole heartily with both your posts. My comment wasn't directed at you personally.

This should have said " anyone who makes jerky without curing and doesn't reach an internal temp of 140 + in less than four hours is increasing the risk of forming bacteria that can make you sick.

Sorry for the miscomunication.
post #12 of 17
Cured meat is any meat that contains sodium nitrate or nitrite. If it is uncooked it is called sweet pickled but both are cured regardless of whether it is cooked.

In the litterature i recieved in my schooling (the canadian proffessional meatcutter's handbook) the required temperature to kill trichinosis is 131 F for at least 6min however that will not kill all harmfull bacteria just the trichinosis worm. If you're not using pork or bear it's a non issue. Best is to freeze the meat for a month at -18C

When i commercially made jerky we cooked at 145 F for 1.5 hours and 165F for 1 hour then checked the product. This was done in a convection smoker and with whole muscle beef not ground product.

Also I would like to add that curing salts change the texture and flavour of the meat, in a good way. without nitrate ham would be salt pork basically. Use the cure it's safer and better.

The danger with smokers and botulism comes from lack of oxygen. Botulism is an anaerobic microbe so if you have good ventilation it is much safer but the 4 hours to 140F has more to do with e coli and other such bacteria.
post #13 of 17
yep - COOKED was a poor choice of words on my part.

as for wild game vs. beef etc., i'll have to say that i trust my wild game a lot more than i do anything coming from a commerical packing plant.

in any case, you want to DRY jerky, not cook it - if it is dried to 140 or 160, that is of little consequence.
post #14 of 17
If you are skinning a prepping your own wild game or trust the person that is doing it your likely hood of contamination is greatly diminished. That being said..... illness from contamination is much more prevelant in wild game than domestic meat in making homemade jerky. (According to the studies.) Preparation is the key to keeping from getting sick with all this cookin goin on. I'm a fanatic about cleanliness.
post #15 of 17
i agree with you there, pig! sloppy butchering/processing of your game will lead to numerous problems. careful work will yield the best stuff man can eat!PDT_Armataz_01_01.gif
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Tried another batch yesterday, and couldn't get my GOSM below 200. Also, I think my slices are a little thin, so they dried out, and turned into meat crunchies in no time.

I am now officially obsessed. Questions:

1. What cuts do you all use for jerky?

2. Slice "with" the grain right?

3. temp control - anyone else have this issue? I had the bottom vents closed (as far as the tabs let me) and the top vent wide open.
post #17 of 17
chopper -

my experiences with deer, prongorn, elk and buffalo and beef jerky are:

1 - any cut will be fine, but the prime" cuts (loin, tenderloin etc) are much better suited for steaks or roasts.

2 - slicing with the grain is most common and produces a "chewier," more durable product, but slicing against the grain will not ruin it.

3 - temp control is touchy. i tried a few strips in my SnP for the heck of it and it didn't take long for them to over-cook AND dry way too much. this is even after i thought i set them at the "cool" end of the smoking chamber. i did have good results using a little chief smoker for a few hours (rotating the racks every hour for even distribution of heat) while they smoked and then finishing in the oven at the absolute lowest setting (probably 160 or 170 - not sure, but the reading on the dial was marked "warm" and it was on just enough to turn the oven on, no more). i have also finished in a dehydrator rather than an oven. the results are find and certainly dry, but to me, an oven provides a little extra depth of flavor, possibly from carmelization of the sugars in the brine? not sure.

in any case, if you can find a way to hold at 200 and then set them in a "drafty" spot and keep an eye on them, pulling pieces individually as they get to your desired point of "doneness," you should do just fine. i wish i could help more with specific answers for temp control.
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