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Anyone have MES jerky suggestions? My plan, and a few questions.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My first batch of beef jerky turned out pretty terrible. It was the first thing I did in my 30" MES, and I kind of winged the marinade.

I just prepared my next batch using this recipe (minus MSG and liquid smoke):

I have a couple general questions..

1) What's the reason behind hanging the meat? I assume it's just to maximize surface area and get a little more smoke distributed. I think I have enough surface area, and my MES racks have a pretty fine grate that wouldn't allow hanging anyway (without string).

2) Recipes I see say to dry the meat after taking it out of the marinade. How liberal can I be with how much sauce I keep on it? I basically didn't dry it at all the first time, but I like the idea of a very flavorful outer layer.

3) Fat: I trimmed my sirloins pretty well, but there's obviously some fattier pieces. How long should I allow until the fat goes rancid, and does keeping it in the fridge help?

4) I have apple, hickory and mesquite woodchips to choose from, any recommendations on what (or what not) to use?

My plan:

Last time, after the first batch of wood chips, I didn't get any smoke from my MES when it was set to 150, so I was planning on smoking it for about 4 hours at 165 (about the minimum I can get smoke) and using non-soaked woodchips. Then finishing it at 150 without smoke. Does that sound reasonable?

Any other tips (especially MES related) would be appreciated!

post #2 of 7
While I am a newbie with the MES, I have learned a few things during my first Jerky attempt this past Feb. I made three batches of Jerky from a whole round.

My marinade was spot on and I marinated the meat overnight. My first batch was a problem. I cut the meat too thick (3/16 to 1/4). I adjusted to 1/8" on batch 2 & 3 and that was perfect.

On my first batch, I strung the jerky ends onto bamboo skewers and suspended from racks with wire to be space efficient. BAD IDEA. Smoke and dehydrate was uneven and meat curled terribly. On batch 2 & 3 I layed meat down on racks sprayed with Pam. Great results.

I smoked the jerky at 140 degrees (read on my Maverick and an independent themometer). The MES temp. on the digital readout reads 10 to 15 degrees cooler than real temp. I smoked with one and 1/2 doses of mesquite for 14 hours. My favorite marinade is: Yoshidas terriyaki sauce, water, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper.

I store in large plastic jars (bought at Walmart) with one 1/8" hole drilled in lid and I keep it in our pantry. I hope this helps.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks, great info, helps a lot!

Is that 1 1/2 cups of chips in two doses? Soaked?

Something like this?
1. Preheat to 140
2. Add 1 cup chips, wait for smoke
3. Put meat in
4. Wait until smoke stops, add 1/2 cup chips

How much of the 14 hours can I expect it to be smoking?
post #4 of 7
I take the large chunks of wood and split them into smaller pieces and ussually soak them for 1+ hours. The MES starts smoking in about 1-1 1/2 hours( I don't preheat because temp comes up pretty fast)

While I am new to this smoker, I have smoked salmon for 30 years and always like to use moist wood. I fill the slide tube up full at the beginning and then another half load after about three hours. All in all, it only smokes for part of the first 4 hours approx. Don't put too much smoke on it because the meat is so thin.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks again!

Any comments on drying off the marinade (prior to smoking)?

Wondering if I should pat them completely dry with paper towels, 'squeegee' the strips with my fingers, or if I can leave them somewhat wet.
post #6 of 7
I would say get some hi mountain jerky seasonings and use that . I used to make up my own spice mixtures but a few years ago I tried the hi mountain stuff and I've used it ever since . Most of the time I start it in my MES at 200 for about an hour (it seems like it takes about 30 minutes or so to get to temp) with the water pan empty , then I usually transfer it to a tabletop convection oven on about 175 or so . I know that people may chime in and say "above 140 and your cooking it " or something like that , but that's just the way I like it and it's done in about 3 hours or so . I have also just opened the door of the MES after an hour or so ( I leave the hook hooked to the door , I just don't fold the latch back to close the door completely ) and stop adding wood chips at that point also . It can get too smoky for my taste pretty easy , but on anything else I smoke I almost wish it was smokier , so I think the small pieces of meat don't need a whole lot of smoke to have a smoky flavor . I guess if I was making my own spice mixture I would probably measure stuff accurately and take note of what and how much I am using , how long in the smoker , times , temps etc . , but I just prefer to use the hi mountain stuff . I've had perfect results with their stuff except for the one or 2 times I've gave it too much smoke.
post #7 of 7
I did my first batch with 1/4" cuts and it was thicker than I like but turned out good.

I've done a few more batches since and have been really happy with the Hi Mtn spices. I also bought a slicer to cut 1/8". I've kept the temps around 120 and lit chips with a torch when needed.

I haven't tried any wet recipes yet but will soon.
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