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Beef Jerky - salt or cure


Joined May 24, 2018
Hey guys.
I've been making Jerky for a few months on my GMG Daniel Boone pellet smoker and it's been turning out great so far.

But I want to try giving some away to family members, friends and I don't want to worry about them keeping it in the refrigerator. Currently, I use eye of round roast, sliced thinly, and marinaded with a Teriyaki style sauce overnight. There is no cure in that mixture - and no added salt besides the Soy sauce.
I dry the jerky in my smoker at a temp of 160 for about 4 hours, but before it's done I will crank it to 180 for 20 mins just to try to kill off any bugs (botulism?)

If I am going to allow people to leave Jerky out on their counter after it's made - do I need to start using a curing salt that has sodium nitrite in it? Do you recommend Prague Powder #1?

If so, should I cure before the marinade or mix the cure in with the marinade? How long does PP#1 need to work its magic?

And then the big question: will this affect the flavor?

Thanks for the help, and Cheers!


Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
Joined Oct 6, 2017
several areas of question here. Most have been answered in prior post here so try some searching.

Scratching the surface:

Cure 1 will change the flavor.

Cure 1 should be used if smoking at low temps(80f - 130f long time) and smoked(no oxegen) these conditions grow the Botulism.

Cure 1 is not needed if you keep meat prep and marinating in the correct refrigeration zone and your cook method gets the beef(other meats differ) to 160f internal quickly (my dehydrator internal temp cycles 140F to 180F and the meat is at 160F within an hour)

I don't treat Cure 1 as counter stable (I keep in the refrigerator).
I don't treat No Cure 1 as counter stable (I keep in the refrigerator) eat within 2 days or freeze and eat within month.

Please search the forum for further details and answers!!!!


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Dec 13, 2017
Hi Sam, Welcome to SMF!
I'm particularly fond of traditional flavor Jerky, myself.
Most of what I make does include Prague Powder #1 in the cure/marinade.
Since you are making what is called Whole Muscle Jerky, then overnight curing works better, in my opinion.
I pull down many recipes from Will's Jerkyholic's site.
Foremost if you will be sharing your Jerky is Food Safety. It's one thing to upset your own tummy, but handing off your delicacies and accidentally sickening others is not an experience you want.

So full disclosure about what you are sharing is necessary. Some folks get freaked out about Nitrites and such. Truth is, most of it is neutralized in the process. And it is very minimal in the overall recipes.
I use 1/4 level teaspoon, per 1 pound of whole muscle meat. Others subscribe to weighing the #1. The use subscribed is 1 tsp per 5 pounds of meat. So I error towards a little heavy anyway.
I also use Prague Powder #1 in the same amount, in Ground Beef Jerky, but with GB, liquid is kept to a very minimal amount, and mostly dry ingredients are used. Except for Soy Sauce and Worcester sauce. Which both are high sodium items.
I blend the dry ingredients well in a bowl, then spread and mix into the GB.

But the Prague Powder is, in my opinion, a good addition and a flavor enhancing addition. Gives my jerky a more "Authentic" taste like I grew up loving. When I had the money, I would almost always choose Jerky at the Jr. High School snack stand, over any candies.
I know, I'm weird.

But my preference is for whole muscle Jerky, now.
Food Safety First! Especially if sharing.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Mar 1, 2014
I use cure and always refrigerate to prevent mold. Cure is not going stop that.


Fire Starter
Joined Oct 13, 2016
If you have the correct amount of sugar, salt, acidity, AND remove enough moisture, you the jerky can be shelf stable with or without nitrates. Alton Brown has a raw jerky recipe that is shelf stable and has no cure (Link below). He dries fruit using a similar method using lemon juice instead of sulfur and I’ve been drying shelf stable fruit this way for years without issues.

Side-note, cooking will only kill the bacterica but not destroy the toxin responsible for botulism. Which is really only a concern if you aren’t taking the proper steps to inhibit bacterial growth.


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