Just for my clarification, please correct me if I am wrong.
Cure #2 for items dry cured for an extended period of time or kept without refrigeration for an extended period of time. That's the reason I didn't make the distinction. I would not keep items cured with Cure #1 without refrigeration while I would keep very lean jerky cured with Cure #2 without refrigeration for an extended length of time. Nitrate breaks down into Nitrite which breaks down to NO nitric oxide. They all act together to prevent the formation of Botulism and to preserve the color and texture of meat. Cure #2 has a higher proportion of Nitrate thus having more "starter" for the conversion so it has a longer protective effect.
If I am making jerky to be eaten within a week or two I will use only soy sauce, salt and spices but my method may not be considered safe so I recommend using either of the two cures depending on how long you will keep the jerky without refrigeration. And how long you will cure the jerky before drying Edited for clarification Al
I only use very lean whole muscle meat (top or bottom round) sliced about 1/4 inch thick or less, against the grain. Trim all visible fat. If the jerky is not lean the fat will get rancid before anything else. Marinate the slices of meat in Soy Sauce, salt and spices (select your own but I like granulated onion, granulated garlic, cayenne, ginger, Italian seasoning) for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Remove from the marinade, dry till tacky on racks in the refrigerator and lightly sprinkle with additional spices, especially the cayenne. If you like sugar as a seasoning instead of as a curative this is when I would add it.
Move the racks to an oven set on it's lowest heat. Dry with the oven door ajar to allow a low gentle heat and improve air flow. The jerky is ready when stiff but still pliable. I have a decent dehydrator now so I will use it instead of the oven but it takes a bit longer.
I have always thought of jerky as trail / emergency food, hence no refrigeration. This is how I have made jerky for 35 years and it is always a "please bring your" request when I go camping with friends.
I haven't gotten anyone sick yet, but the night is still young.
Edited by alblancher - 7/18/10 at 3:28pm