First attempt at jerky...

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by steve o, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. steve o

    steve o Newbie

    Four pounds of London Broil Round.

    I trimmed the fat, cut thin and against the grain, and it is now marinating in Newman's Own Honey Terriyaki marinade.

    Not sure if I should use any smoke or if I should just cook it at like 140 for 4+ hours.

    I don't know what type of wood I would want to burn though. I think I have some apple wood that might taste nice? I don't know. I am a newb.
  2. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    apple should be fine, keep your temperatures very low - 140 or lower, if possible. go LIGHT on the smoke becuase it is easy to get too much, especially considering jerky which is meant to dry out and shrink and condense in its flavors.

    curious about your decision to cut against the grain. nothing rong with doing so, but most jerky is cut with the grain for a chewier, more jerky-like texture. any reaosn in particular?

    either way, i think you're in for some good stuff!
  3. steve o

    steve o Newbie

    I didn't decide to do this until I got out of work early today so my preparation was limited. I called a friend who makes a lot of jerky but he couldn't talk long and said only what type of meat to get.

    I pulled up one article on my iPhone and it said to cut against the grain for a chewey texture.
  4. steve o

    steve o Newbie

    Just checked. Out of apple. I have Cherry, Maple, and Alder.

    Maple is my first instinct of those three.
  5. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    no problems at all, i've done it both ways and to me it tastes all the same. cutting with the grain tends to make it more chewy, against the grain tends to be easier to chew - either way, it's all good ~

    i wouls day to go ahead and go with the smoke, just remember to keep the temps low and the smoke light. you might also smoke for a couple of hours and then finish in an oven or dehydrator. i do that quite often and it's all good. in my post above, i said to keep the temps at 140 or below, but you should be just fine if it's a little higher, say up around 160 or 70.
  6. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    of the three, maple would also be my first choice, but i have also blended those three woods with good results. you may want to try a combination of woods and there's nothing wrong with that.
  7. steve o

    steve o Newbie

    When I take the jerky out of the marinade do I want the marinade to stick to the jerky or do I want it to come off?

    I plan to skewer the jerky with toothpicks and hang them from the racks.
  8. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If this is the plan- I don't see a mention of a curing agent...[​IMG]
  9. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Richtee set me straight on this fine point.........take heed.......a curing agent is a must.

    Good luck, John
  10. davef63

    davef63 Smoke Blower

    i think you want the jerky dry before you apply smoke, pat off with paper towels,put in smoker, and dry @around 180* no smoke, then smoke lightly till you like the texture, seems its always better the next day.
  11. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    steve - some folks like to keep the marinade on the jerky and others like to rinse it off - it's kind of a personal choice, depending on how intense you want the flavor to be, how much you are drying the jerky (leathery dry or just slightly dry, like kippered beef, etc.).

    dave's got a good idea with the patting dry (which will take te excess off but leave some on) and then allowing it to sit and air dry a while to form a pellicle. 180 degrees should be ok, but i wouldn't go any higher than that.

    as for the cure, it depends on many things, but mostly on what you want your end product to be like. once again, if you like a dry, tough leathery jerky, all is good. if you're looking for something like kippered beef (very moist with a slightly-dry outside), i'd be using a cure next time.

    the important thing is to dry the meat, which provides an environment that is not compatible with bacterial growth. the salt from the marinade will help with this, as will finishing your jerky on the dry side with temps at a minimum of 160. it's all good, but if you want a moist kippered-beef jerky, a cure next time is adviseable.

    keep in mind that jerky is the oldest form of meat preservation in the world. cultures across the world would cut thin strips and hang them out with only the heat from the sun and the dehydrating action of the wind to do the work. most times this was done without even salt. they not only survived, but thrived enough to develop civilizations and running water and electricity and all that fancy stuff.
  12. steve o

    steve o Newbie

    What is a curing agent?!?! [​IMG]
  13. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You need either Insta cure #1 or Tender Quick to cure the meat to prevent spoilage...
    They contain sodium nitrite that prohibits bacteria growth... They are a must when making jerky, snack sticks, summer sausage etc.
  14. steve o

    steve o Newbie

    OK well it is marinated and in the smoker/oven. I was under the impression that leaving the heat on 160 for like 5 hours would dry it out.

    I figured leave it in for 6 hours at 160 and smoke for the final hour.

    If that isn't a good idea. What should I do now, it is already in and getting up to temp?
  15. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Tell us exactly what you have done in preparing the meat and someone will be more able to assist in a solution.

    My opinion is that without cure the meat would have to be refrigerated just like any other cooked meat would. I would not feel safe storing it in a non refrigerated container. But that is just me, I tend to err on the side of safety...
  16. steve o

    steve o Newbie

    I soaked it in the marinade for four five hours (in the fridge)and just put it in the smoker/oven at 160 with the smoke off.

    I haven't used any cure or any rub or anything. Just the marinade.

    I would assume it is too late to run to the store and get the cure and then cure it.

    If I have to refridgerate it than I will do that. All the quicky how to things I read just said to marinate it and then cook at 160 for 4-6 hours.
  17. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have done a few things of jerky but in a dehydrator and then I tried it in the smoker and I burned them bad. But next time I might try this cure thing
  18. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    No cure, you must store the jerky in the cooler. It will be fine, just keep it cool after it is done.

    Second, since you don't have cure you must take the meat above 135 F within four hours. That is the guide for how hot your fire should be. I would say a 180 F temp should do it.

    You will hear of old timer cures with salt only. This is from the days of yore, when salt was unrefined and carried about 9 percent sodium nitrite/nitrate in it naturally. That changed with processed salts.

    Making jerky with cure is a Best Practice listed in the 2009 food code. (Finally it tooks us until 2006 to even get curing and smoking listed as an option.)

    Please follow the best practices and you will learn this craft safely and have a great time doing it.

    There is a method for process salt cured jerky, but it is a more advanced proceedure using HACCP.
  19. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    the big thing to keep in mind with jerky is that the idea is not to cook it, it is to dry it. the heat and airflow will do that just fine.

    140 is plenty hot, 160 is fine, but if you go over 175 or so, you realy do risk burning it and ending up with a pan ful of overdone steak strips, so keep an eye on it.

    if you do want to put smoke on it, you want to put it on at the beginning rather than at the end. remember, you are drying the meat, and as it dries, the outside is going to get hard, this makes it impervious to many things, including smoke, which will not be able to penetrate or permeate the jerky.

    if you prefer the drier, harder jerky, then all is good. store it wherever you want as long as it can breathe. i usually use jars with hole punched in the lids. well-dried jerky is not cured, but nothing is going to get into it and the salt from the marinade is an added protection.

    if you like a moist, kipper-like jerky, then be sure to heat it well beyond 160 degrees, store it in the fridge, eat it within a week or so and be sure to use a cure next time. you can get tender-quik at any grocery store. i haven't used the insta-cure or prague powder, but those work just as well.
  20. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    bbaly, most folks are unaware of what HACCP is, let alone what it requires. Your statement "....a more advanced procedure using HACCP." is not only confusing but inaccurate.

    HACCP as you know, is a named procedure, a noun. The utilization of HACCP as a verb, as a "thing" one must "do" is incorrect, and certainly you know that and inadvertently used it that way.

    So, given your expertise, you might want to clarify your practice for the new folks and maybe explain your knowledge of HACCP as well.

    Just trying to help out a fellow expert! You're doing great , bud!

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