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Home vs. commercial jerky

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by buckscent, Apr 1, 2019.

  1. buckscent

    buckscent Smoke Blower

    what is the main thing in say jack links or really any commercially sold jerky that makes it last so long. Home made lasts 2-4 weeks depending how you store it. Commercial lasts what? 2-4 months?
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Probably pink salt (cure #1). I use it with my jerky marinades, store the jerky in the fridge, and it will last at least 3 months if I haven't eaten all of it by then. It is usually gone in 4-6 weeks, but not always.
  3. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sodium nitrite, Lactic acid (inhibits certain bad bacteria from growing), sodium erythorbate, and various other preservatives. Possibly citric acid as well to drop the pH below 5.3.
  4. buckscent

    buckscent Smoke Blower

    Yea I use pink #1. Sometimes though I get some that get mold like a week or 2 after it’s made. And commercial jerky is not kept cold, it’s in the stores on an isle or hanging on an endcap.
  5. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    How dry are you finishing your jerky?

    Most commercially produced jerky is packaged with a moisture absorption pack to keep the package dry so mold will not grow. If you have your jerky sealed up without a moisture pack, the air will become too saturated with humidity and mold can grow.
    SGMan likes this.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Commercial jerky may have an inert atmosphere in the bag... like nitrogen ... Bacteria can't grow in an inert atmosphere...
    indaswamp likes this.
  7. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    ^^^^^true that Dave. Great post!
  8. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well...Aerobic bacteria (and most molds) can't grow in an oxygen free environment, but Anaerobic bacteria can; which is what botulism bacteria are....
    bill ace 350 likes this.
  9. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Yup . I bought a tupperware container for spaghetti . About 4 " in diameter and maybe 14 " tall . The lid has a damper like slot . I put paper towel in the bottom fill with jerky and leave the slot cracked open . Store mine in the fridge . No more mold .
    indaswamp likes this.
  10. indaswamp

    indaswamp Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good thinking chop!
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cure, Salt and Smoke, all help control bacteria and mold. BUT, if you want shelf stable for months? You need to control Water Activity, a measurement of water available to pass from the meat through the cell wall to the bacteria or mold spores for growth. Pathogens and Spoilage bacteria will become dormant when Aw drops below 0.91. Mold needs very little moisture to grow and only goes dormant when Aw drops below 0.70. The very small amount of water needed for mold growth is not easily detected by feel, weight reduction of chewing it. This amount of water requires Lab Testing or your purchase of the expensive, precision equipment.
    With some research or training you can pretty easily learn when you are below the 0.91 threshold for bacterial growth but getting dry enough to inhibit mold is often hit or miss...JJ
    indaswamp likes this.
  12. rob g

    rob g Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    I've been vac packing my jerky into small quantities and storing it in the freezer. I just take out enough to eat up in a short period of time.
  13. buckscent

    buckscent Smoke Blower

    I think I read that the big commercial companies shoot nitrogen in the bag before they put the jerky in. I think several things play into the length game. Like trimming as much fat as possible, After dehydrating lay out for a day to air dry, dehydrate longer to get as much Water out as possible, add oxygen pack to the bag.
  14. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I always add cure to mine, hot smoke it for about 6 or 7 hours, and store it in a zip lock bag in the fridge. Just found a bag with two pieces in it tucked away in a fridge drawer. Been there for about a year. It still tasted great--it was in just the same condition as when it went into the fridge.
  15. crazymoon

    crazymoon Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I chamber seal my jerky and store in the fridge ,sometimes for over a year when packages get stuffed in the back ! Always tastes great and always made with cure #1.
  16. bill ace 350

    bill ace 350 Smoking Fanatic

    Just stumbled across this thread!

    Absolutely GREAT catch!

    Excellent reminder that even the "experts" make mistakes!
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019