165* before or after for jerky?

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by fpmich, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I see most of the government and universities recommend boiling or steaming jerky for 5 minutes or so, to 165* IT before drying.

    This seems just WRONG to me.

    Also, I read on askthemeatman site (I think it was) that only the "surface" has to reach 165* at some point in time.

    "We recommend smoking/drying your Beef or Deer Jerky until the surface temperature reads 165 degrees."

    The surface temp make more sense to me.  Otherwise, how could we have steak, or a long roasting time for beef roast, done rare at 120* - 130* IT?

    I'm talking about using whole muscle meat sliced.  Not ground meat. 

    If you took it to 165* in a dry heat for 5 minutes or so, in smoker or oven, and then quickly lowered temps to finish smoking/drying, would that satisfy the food police (be safe)?  Or could I just smoke and dry it at 140*-150* and just raise temp at end?


    1.  Short of buying an infrared surface thermometer...,   what temp and how long would I have to have jerky in dry heat to reach 165* surface temp, and how long? 

    a)  While still wet in beginning?

    b)  At the end of drying?

    I made jerky off and on for years in oven with no thermometers, no cure, and just went by texture and bend.  I even made it with just the pilot light (remember those?  LOL) over a long period of time to dry.   But I am all for safety.  And if I can insure my family and friends won't get sick from something I have done wrong, then I'm willing to change things.

    I now use cure #1, because I like the safety edge it gives me for longer drying time at low temps.

    I sure hope I've explained things okay, and asked the right questions, so as not to confuse people, as well as myself.

    I hate typing talk.  So much easier talking in person.  LOL

    Thanks for your input.
  2. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

  3. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is definitely a tough one and many have different opinions.

    My 2 cents,

    I have used the old method for near 30 years as have everyone else I know and they still do, this was Worcestershire, soy and various spices and, the jerky was then dried, not cooked.

    I have never gotten sick or heard of any of my friends getting sick... this does not mean its 100% safe.

    Sometimes we worry too much about what has become the, "Safe" way to prepare something and the end result is unsatisfactory.

    Sure you can cook everything to 180 degrees and be safe eating shoe leather.

    I am not telling anyone to not follow the USDA Guidelines for jerky making. (double negative)

    The advice I would give on this forum would be to play it safe and follow the Safety Guidelines, but I don't always practice what I preach.

    In my recent years and since I have been a bit more cautious I have been using TQ with satisfactory results, will I go back to the old way, probably, but I would not tell any folks on this forum to do so.

    BIG QUESTIONS! (I'm assuming that this is based on not using a cure?)

    1.  Short of buying an infrared surface thermometer...,   what temp and how long would I have to have jerky in dry heat to reach 165* surface temp, and how long? I would never ever bring jerky up to 165 internal or external.

    a)  While still wet in beginning?

    b)  At the end of drying?

    I see you use a cure so its a moot point

    so continue to use a cure if you are unsure

    Here is an Alton Brown recipe

    (is this unsafe????)


    1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak
    2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
    2/3 cup soy sauce
    1 tablespoon honey
    2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
    2 teaspoons onion powder
    1 teaspoon liquid smoke
    1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    Special Equipment: 1 box fan, 4 paper air-conditioning filters, and 2 bungee cords


    Trim the flank steak of any excess fat, place in a zip-top bag, and place it in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours in order to firm up.

    Remove the steak from the freezer and thinly slice the meat with the grain, into long strips.

    Place the strips of meat along with all of the remaining ingredients into a large, 1-gallon plastic zip-top bag and move around to evenly distribute all of the ingredients. Place the bag into the refrigerator for 3 to 6 hours.

    Remove the meat from the brine and pat dry. Evenly distribute the strips of meat onto 3 of the air filters, laying them in the grooves and then stacking the filters on top of one another. Top these with 1 empty filter. Next, lay the box fan on its side and lay the filters on top of it. Strap the filters to the fan with 2 bungee cords. Stand the fan upright, plug in and set to medium. Allow the meat dry for 8 to 12 hours. If using a commercial dehydrator, follow the manufacturer's directions.

    Once dry, store in a cool dry place, in an airtight container for 2 to 3 months.

    I have also had success with biltong.

    Here is how I made my biltong.

    • 3lbs London Broil
    • ½ c Balsamic Vinegar
    • ¼ c Apple Cider Vinegar
    • 1 tbsp Worcestershire
    Biltong Spice:
    • 4 teaspoons: Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
    • 2 heaping teaspoons: Coarse Black Pepper
    • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
    • 7 teaspoons coriander seeds or 4 teaspoons ground (Roast seeds)
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
    1) Roast coriander seeds and mince in processor, in a bowl combine salt, pepper, sugar, paprika and garlic powder, partition spice as follows; Put the spice in a salt shaker, set aside.

    2) Cut long strips of meat approx 1/2 to 1 inch thick with the grain, any length is ok.

    3) Place Balsamic vinegar and cider vinegar in a Glass bowl then add the meat, coat meat liberally place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

    4) Remove meat and coat liberally with the spice, place meat in a plastic (no metal) colander in fridge up to 3 hours, pouring off any excess liquid.

    5) Hang in Biltong box for 3-5 days.

    I still use the TQ in my Jerky making and results are just as good as the old way... just watch the salt content.

    I feel comfortable with this method
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014
  4. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

  5. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    See this is exacty What I am talking about. Snippet from AOL

    FDA ruling could alter cheese aging process

    MADISON - Wooden boards have been an integral part of aging a wide variety of cheeses by producers around the world for more than a century, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says they are unsanitary.

    Wisconsin allows cheese operations to use wooden boards if they follow protocol approved by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. DATCP spokesman Jim Dick says officials there are still seeking clarification on the FDA ruling before making any statements.

    "Until then, there will be no change in Wisconsin's inspection policy," Dick said.

    The Roelli Cheese Haus in Shullsburg uses wooden boards to age 85 percent of its cheeses.

    "It's a potential game-changer for the face of artisan cheeses in the United States," owner Chris Roelli told The FDA cited several New York operations despite state laws that permit wooden boards.

    But Metz's analysis, made public by the American Cheese Society, didn't include the entire findings of one of the reports. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Dairy Research analysis said that report concluded that while some wood can hide some bad bacteria, it can be eliminated as long as a thorough cleaning procedure is followed.

    Smukowski said she believes the FDA made its finding partly in response to the enactment of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, which shifts the focus from responding to contamination crises to preventing them, and that it can create overreactions from the FDA.

    "Without the boards, it will be the end of Limburger cheese made in the United States," he said.
  6. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I hear ya on that, and agree that some of the "safe" regulations, are just hooey.  Some are not.

    FDA is not out to protect consumers anymore, it seems.  It's a vehicle for big companies to impose restriction on small operation too costly to continue in business.  Who do you think started prompting FDA for "Food Safe Certifications" and the like?  It wasn't the mom & pops restaurants.  It was the chain restaurants, so they could drive small businesses out, and claim bigger market shares for themselves.  Shoot, just the revenue from the classes alone, amounts to millions each year for somebody.  And guess who does most of the food safe class teaching?

    Does it work?  A little bit sometimes.  I actually saw my waitress wash her hands with soap before picking up my dinner to bring, after she had coughed slightly on her way to the pick up window.  I was impressed!  I've see them rub their hair, nose, pick up something from floor, and still not wash their hands before getting near the food.  LOL

    We are warned over and over, that home process food is so very dangerous.  And yet, who is responsible for most of the poisonings and deaths from improperly handled or cooked food?  The same companies who urged the FDA to accept their findings as gospel and make restrictive regulations.   I've food poisoning several times in my life and it was never from any home made food.  Mine or anyone else's.  Give me a break Uncle Sam!

    I'd rather have a hamburger made by someone who patted the dog and then made my patty and cooked it, than from Jack-in-the-box's restaurant. 

    Besides,  as everyone knows...,  pet hair is a condiment.  [​IMG]

    Sheesh, you had to hit a tender spot with me didn't you?  LOL  Sorry for my rant.

    I'm not against good food safety, just some of the guidelines that are just plain over the top, and lack common sense.

    Oh Yeah,

    I won't worry about taking my jerky to 165*, before or after, any more.  Did some more reading and thin as it is, as long as it it is a 145* for several minutes you're fine.  Your also fine at even lower temps, as long as you dry it enough.  At least that is how I understand it.

    If I'm dead wrong, then someone correct me.

    I don't like leather, so I'll stick with the 145*-150* area.  And I will continue to use cure #1 when smoking it.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014

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