1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Basic Jerky - Is it this simple?

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by illini40, Nov 25, 2018.

  1. illini40

    illini40 Smoking Fanatic

    I would like to try making beef jerky.

    Could I do basic beef jerky by using ground beef in a jerky gun and then smoking on my Traeger?

    5GRILLZNTN Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    You certainly can! I've done it a few times. Go for it!
  3. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    yes you can but it’s more like sticks than jerky.

    Good luck
  4. illini40

    illini40 Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you both. Any initial tips or things to consider? I have not done any research so far...other than seeing the jerky guns in stores and thinking if it would work.

    5GRILLZNTN Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Make sure you get a gun that has the round end as well. That well let you make snack sticks, brats, etc
  6. Lonzinomaker

    Lonzinomaker Smoke Blower

    You don't need a gun. I roll it out in a 9 x 14 rectangle about 1/4 in thick while on a silicone cookie sheet, transfer to a frogmat, smoke and then slice with a pizza cutter when done.
    SonnyE likes this.
  7. bregent

    bregent Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Use the leanest ground beef you can find, or better yet, grind it yourself.
  8. illini40

    illini40 Smoking Fanatic

    Is 90/10 ok? Or even leaner?

    I have some venison in the freezer that I should try too.
  9. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I made many pounds of GB into Jerky. But it wasn't the taste I wanted. Very close, but not quite there for me.
    But eventually, and because I was making batches of Whole Muscle Jerky in a comparison, I decided I only want to make Whole Muscle Jerky.
    But I'm in no way new to drying up meat, been chewing on my failures since about 1968 or there abouts.
    Got to eat a lot of failures to find just what you like. It's OK, it hides the evidence.

    Beef Jerky is so very simple. Take some Round Steak, or other lean cut of beef, cut it into ~1/4 thick strips, Salt and Pepper just like you would if it was setting on a plate ready to eat. Then dry it until it breaks when bent.
    That is Jerky from centuries ago. Because Jerky was the only way to preserve meat other than salting it to death.
    Many a cowboy had a pile of Jerky in his saddlebag to chew on.
    Yep, it can be that simple.

    Now, it is a good idea to add Prague Powder, Cure #1 to your Jerky. Just as a precaution to help kill any bad stuff growing in your raw materials. And it also enhances the flavor. ;)
    If you make GB Jerky, you can make it even better by letting the mixed ball of meat and seasonings sit covered in the fridge for an hour or two to let all the flavors marry the meat. Then continue with whatever shapes you want.
    The best shape I came up with was just round like a thin hamburger patty after all the stuff was in it. I thought of them as Jerky Cookies. Only kinda man sized as cookies go.

    Walmart is a source for Prague Powder, as is Amazon. Get a pound of it. It isn't a huge jar, and it isn't expensive, and it will last a long time. Recipes call for <1/4 tsp per pound, or you can get really finicky and weigh it. I've done both, I prefer to use 1/4 tsp, leveled with a knife. It neutralizes with heat, and with stomach acids. So I personally am not afraid of it.
    I'm more concerned of bags and containers coming out of drive through windows. :rolleyes:

    Want a good source for recipes to play with? Jerkyholic makes it his pastime finding, testing and publishing worthy Jerky recipes. He does a wide variety of meats. You might find it as interesting as I do.
    Or if you want to try whole muscle jerky, or use some of your Deer Meat, https://www.jerkyholic.com/basic-jerky/

    Basically, I find most recipes will cross over to Pork Loin which currently is my choice. And I have some in my smoker right now. I don't usually do my jerky in my smoker. But I'm winding up to cold smoke BACON in a couple of days :emoji_cold_sweat:
    First time for BACON for me.
    Anyway, I have a couple of pounds of Pork Loin I started yesterday, and vacuum marinaded overnight in the fridge.
    Might be a little weird because I screwed up on the Worcestershire Sauce and put too much in. :emoji_flushed:
    But like I said, I eat my mistakes. Next time they see the light of day, nobody would recognize them.

    You can do it! Just read and get all the ingredients ahead of time. Then follow the recipes and their ya go!
  10. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm not sure you can classify ground dried meat as jerky. The same way hamburger steak is not really a steak.

    Not saying it can't be good but to me jerky is lean air dried whole muscle meat.
    chopsaw likes this.
  11. illini40

    illini40 Smoking Fanatic

    I have some ground beef and venison thawing to try out tomorrow.

    I picked up a cheap jerky gun to try a first attempt.

    My plan is to smoke it on the Traeger at around 200* or less.

    What rough time estimate do you think? Am I just checking the texture and how hard it is getting to determine when to pull it off?