Ground meat jerky question

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Dec 27, 2013
New Jersey
Hi to all!

New to site and I joined so I can ask questions such as this of you more experienced smokers. My question is this- Call ground meat jerky what you want, but it is basically thin summer sausage, same as meat sticks. ie meat,cure and spices. So why when I make summer sausage can I take it low and slow smoking and drying starting at 120dgs. and gradually working my way up to 180 dgs.til internal meat temp. of 155-160? But when I do ground jerky USDA says I must first cook as quickly as possible to the 160 dg. point then lower my heat to dry? How does the salmonella know my food plans?
Read the ingredients..... SS should call for cure #1.... jerky recipes do not always use cure #1 in the recipe....

Dave it spot on...

I like to use my food dehydtator for jerkey, so all my recipies use cure or I plan on them being done in 3-4 hours.
Thanks Dave for the reply. Sorry I'm responding so late, but I was sitting in a tree most of yesterday. Didn't think of that until you posted. My 1st jerky recipes were the basic 1/2 cup each salt & sugar to a qt. of water from the Little Chief smoker book. No cure but the table salt, guess I was lucky I never got sick! Which brings me to my next question. I still use this basic recipe to smoke fish til about 140-145 dgs. Should I be tossing in some cure into the mix for safety? Will it change the flavor of the fish? Perhaps this should be in the fish thread, but your already on my thought train.
SB, morning.... I use the same 50-50 salt sugar for salmon... But...... when I joined this forum, I started adding cure #1 to it..
I have a thread explaining my cure/sugar/salt mix... The basic premise is..... I add 2% salt and 2% sugar to my fish by weight... and I add the appropriate amount of cure to the salt / sugar mix.... Then all I have to do is weigh the fish and add the proper amount of mix to it.... Not too salty, not too sweet... and the correct amount of cure is automatically added...
To figure all that out, I'll use grams... it's easier....

4 #'s of fish = 1816 gms... 4% of that is 73 grams..... (2% salt, 2% sugar)

1816 gms fish + 73 gms salt/sugar = 1889 total gms X 0.000150 (150 Ppm nitrite) is 0.28 gms nitrite / 0.0625 (6.25% nitrite in cure #1) = 4.5 gms cure #1 is what should be added to the 73 gms salt / sugar mix....
I mix up enough of the S/S/cure to do a big batch of fish... weigh out the proper amount to add to each fish, rub it in and put the fish in a plastic tub in the refer... turn the fish daily for several days.... rinse, dry, form the pellicle and smoke...

Since I started adding cure recently, I have not noticed a change in the flavor.... amazing how long one can go and not get sick... just lucky I guess.... of course all the fish I smoked was fresh caught... never saw a processor... never sat in the hold of a fishing boat or tender for 4-6 days either....

Anywho.... I reread all that math stuff up above and it makes sense to me... If I need to clarify anything, let me know....

Thanks Dave,

Looks like you are using a dry cure. I'll have to give that a try this spring when I get a fresh supply of state stocked trout.

I was also wondering if Pop's brine recipe would be good for fish. Thinking of stepping up to cure#1 from MTQ. That is one of the reasons I joined this site, for safety. I'm not to sure all the cure recipes on the Internet are safe. I have seen some with more then 2 tbs of MTQ to a pound of ground meat.
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SB...... Following some recipes that folks post can be a problem.... misprints etc.... I have tried brines for salmon... I prefer the texture and flavor a dry brine adds... I can add garlic and onion powder to it.... or a mix of seasonings.... and the flavor profile is good.. better than you get with a brine... In MHO.... I filet the fish and leave the skin on.. then cure... then you can slice into 1" wide strips for the smoker or what ever you prefer..

Thanks Dave, for your help & info.

Now if I can find the time between hunts to run the smoker I can put this knowledge to practice! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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