First time jerky smoke

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
Jul 9, 2005
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Hello Jerky Fans,
I need help. Today I used my big block GOSM in an attempt to smoke some jerky. I used a recipe from Mary Bell's Jerky book to prepare the marianade. All was well when I placed the strips into the smoker. I cut the beef into approx. 1/4" thick strips.

I assumed that the teperature should be in the 200 - 225* range while using hickory chips to smoke. However, when I checked the jerky after about an hour, I found that some of it was over done. (I had thought the jerky would take about 3 - 4 hours). Some of it was like charcoal the rest of it finished in about a half hour later and seemed to be over smoked (dark appearance strong smoke flavor). My question is ..... at what temp should I smoke the jerky? Was I too high? Was temp the problem? Any help will be much appreciated.
Bill when I use my GOSM for jerky I try to keep the smoker temp between 170-190 degrees. You have to remember that these are thin strips of meat and not the large chunks such as a loin or boston butt that can hold up to the 200-225 * temps.

After about an hours time I check the meat and the meat that looks done gets pulled out. I also prefer a thicker jerky and usually slice it about 3/8 inch thick.
Hey Bill, IM with Dutch on this one, I also cut my strips a lil thicker and cook around 170 to 190. I have the same smoker as both of you, and have produced several batchs of jerky that I cant stop eating and neither can my friends and family. My cook times range between 1.5 to 3 hrs depending on which level of the smoker I use. The closer to the fire box the shorter the cook time.
Good luck on the next batch,
Wow, ya'll cook jerky?

Everything I've read about jerky says not to cook it so I've always tried to keep my smoker between 130-150*. A lot of folks make jerky in a dehydrator which uses not heat just dry air. We have a dehydrator kit for our convection oven that says to set the oven on its lowest setting (170*) and has a magnetic stop-block to prop the oven door open so the temperature stays cooler. So I didn't know you could successful make jerky at higher temperatures. It takes 4 to 6 hours for us to dry it in the smoker. I may have to give higher temperatures a try.

If the meat begins to sweat we also blot it dry as I've heard if the meat is wet it can turn rancid pretty quick (although it never lasts long enough to).
Thank you for your responses. Seems pretty clear that I was way overboard with my heat and time. Much of what I pulled out was not edible. Live and learn. Thanks again. I've learned someting so I'll try again.
first time to post here. i think did post on the old forum. what i would like to know is when useing my dehydrator do i need to bring the temp. of the meat up to 160 before putting it into the dehydrator? also when making hamberger type jerky do you use a cure? or how do you bring it to 160 andnot cook it ? kind of hard to run it thought a jerky gun cooked. i'm just new to this jerky making so Mahalos for any help you can give me. Aloha Curt
You know I've always heard that the best environment to dry any food be it plant or meat is supposed to be very cool, dry, and windy (think Mt. Everest not the Sahara). Along those lines I've used the Alton Brown method as demonstrated on his show Good Eats. This also works well with drying fresh herbs by the way. I'll have to give this a try by adding some smoke before drying. Anyway here is what he did. Marinate your strips per your recipe and pat dry with paper towels (if using a smoker this is where I would add the extra step but just enough to add a good smokey flavor). Buy some cellulose air filters at the hardware store and lay the strips down in the grids. Stack the filters and top them with an empty one then bungee cord the stack ontop of a box fan. Turn your fan on and let it dry the meat out.
Howdy linecut.

When making jerky you are only trying to dry it, not cook it. That is why the cure is so important, especially with ground meats. Be sure to cure the meat properly and marinate it well. Ground meat like hamburger requires a dry cure and marinate, sliced meats are usually wet. Like Lady J said, dry off any wet marinade before dehydrating. An electric dehydrator will work fine for making jerky, cold smoking it in a smoker adds another layer of flavor. Don't worry about bringing the meat to 160*, that is only for cooking and you are not cooking jerky, only drying it out. The curing process makes it safe to eat.
I've read the posts regarding jerky temps (<170°) but not much is said about the marinade. Some have said to cure, but do you use a wet marinade or a dry rub? I have the meat, the wood and the desire. All I lack is your help to go where many have gone before me.............Kevin
There are wet and dry methods for curing and seasoning jerky. You just have to try a few until you find what you like. The High Mountain Jerky cures are a simple and convenient way to make good jerky. Here is a link to the site if interested:
I don't think its even possible to have jerky that isn't chewy. I have made lots of jerky in my life time in my cold smoker and its always chewy. You might try cutting the meat thinner and drying it more, then it would break apart easier and not be so hard to chew. I think the Hi Mountain cure is a great one, its made about 125 miles from me.

Here's yesterday batch from beef bacon strips I made with Curlys Beef bacon mix. Made 7 lbs for work tomorrow! This is made from lean hamburger meat!

It'll be gone in a few hours at work ...
bwsmith_2000;4606 said:
Hello Jerky Fans,
I need help. Today I used my big block GOSM in an attempt to smoke some jerky.

Your going to find that there are a lot of opinions about jerky and many different methods you can use. I'm a big jerk myself, or so others tell me! I've been making jerky for years and have evolved my methods from the wet brine, to my own dry brine method.

I cut the meat fairly thick in either strip or slabs and if I'm lazy have even used chunks of stew meat from Sam's or Costco!
I dredge the meat in 2-1 mix of Tender-quick and brown sugar with a few tablespoons of Lawry's Seasoned Salt, garlic, black/ white and red pepper, onion powder and sometimes Zatterans Crawfish boil! I usually add some tenderizer too,but I don't think it actually does any good. The process of jerking tightens up the structure of the meat and defeats the action of the "Adolph's".

I put a weight on top of the meat and allow it to "horse" for at least three days which removes most of the liquid from the meat. I drain it on the third day and rearrange the pieces, then I add a mixture of 2 cups soy to one cup each red wine and apple juice, and a shot or two of Tabasco and Lea and Perron's. (you only need enough to cover the meat and keep it under the fluid) Reapply the weight and go let it go for another two days.

On the fifth day I remove the meat (don't rinse it off!) and place it on my racks under a fan and lightly sprinkle it with with an equal mixture of black pepper, garlic and onion powder. I let it air dry for 24 hours before introducing it to a fairly cold smoke at 110-125F no hotter! I only smoke for about 3 hours and the rest of the time is just for additional drying, usually about 6-7 hours total. I then seal it in Tupperware overnight and it if seems a bit too soft the next day, it's back in the smoker for an additional hour or two.

After years of working at this I think this process makes the best jerky, it's admittedly a bit more work, and takes more time then the "wet brine and smoke", "Lhuer Jensen" method. But the result is a soft, red colored, almost translucent product that people seem to love. You can adjust the spices according to your own taste, it's the dry brine with cure and horsing, adding the liquids second, followed by air drying and cold smoke that makes this process superior to all the others I've tried. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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