Illness from jerky

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
OTBS Member
Sep 8, 2006
Casa Grande, AZ
Was reading a USDA thing on jerky and it said that it is best to "cook" the meat (bring it to 160'F) before drying it to avoid nasties. I have used a dehydrator for most of my life to make jerky and have never cooked the meat first. Never had any problems either and I have made TONS of jerky.

What temp do ya'll bring your smokers to for jerky and for how long do you smoke the meat? I am asking Santa Clause for a true smoker for Christmas so I don't have to use the old Weber grill anymore...
Every thing I have read says to get the jerky up to 145* for at least 10 minutes. And by the way, thats the same temp that the HI Mountain Seasonings people say to take boston butts for canadian bacon.

Also, if you're looking for a "real" smoker, I'd encourage you to consider the Webber Bullet or the big block GOSM. I've used both and highly recommend them.
Not sure of where you're coming from. But the advise holds..... 145* for at least 10 min. for jerky.

For canadian bacon, 145* also holds...... at least per the Hi Mountain recommendation .... and mine.
I'm no doctor but I trust Venison more than factory beef. I've made venison jerky for years at 140-150 degrees. To my knowledge I've never been or heard of anyone becoming ill from it. Just my experience of course.

I have known folks that got sick from eating jerky.
They failed to blot the excess fat from the meat after smoking it. That jerky was then placed in a jar and the jar was kept on the countertop for easy access. The fat eventually went rancid which caused them to get sick.

Course this would never happen at my house, cuz it's usually gone in two days!!
I was just trying to pinpoint what type of meat the USDA was referring to. Actually the USDA recommends that ALL meat wild and tame be brought to 160 for 5 to 10 minutes before drying to kill any would be bugs. You can check it out at any of the county extension, university or USDA websites.
I have never done this before either.
I will say this though, my corn fed black angus steer is 100 times more trustworthy to be disease free than ANY deer you or I will ever kill. And with all the nasty stuff coming from these dirty asian countries with little or no laws for safety or hygiene, and with the crap that our own irresponsible residents are dumping into the water and onto the ground, I'm not so sure it wouldn't be a good idea to go with the USDA's recommendations.
I use the Hi Mountain Jerky seasoning and cure. I thought that it would be ok since it was cured to let the jerky be left out of the fridge. After reading my instructions it definitely tells you that the jerky is still not fully cured and should be refrigerated. I still have the same problem that Dutch has though, It all is gone before I have to worry about refrigeration :D
I am new to this so help me out, do you put in the stove at 145 for ten minutes before putting it on the smoker? And once you put it on th smoker, how do you know it is done?
mdgoos, if your smoker cannot maintain temps below 200* you can use your oven. Use a good instant read thermometer to monitor your temps. A more ideal tool to use would be a digital thermometer that's designed for grilling and smoking. Check out the Thermometer forum in the Smoking Supplies and Equipment section.
I see that this post is old but I am hoping that perhaps others can still shed some insight on this subject.

A previous reply mentioned that jerky needed to get up to 145* for at least 10 minutes. Since Jerky is typically cut too thin to insert a meat thermometer, how do you know when it has reached temperature? Or do you simply need to get the temperature within the oven/smoker up to 145 for 10 minutes?

I just finished my first batch - 4 lbs. if beef, smoked at 170* to 200* for 4 hours. Although I am pretty confident it is safe, at this point I would still like to better understand the minimum threshold.
This is a very good question that Caveman poses here. USDA recommends that the meat be boiled for 10 minutes before placing in the smoker.
Does boiling before it's slice and marinaded count? It seems to me that boiling it after it is sliced and marinaded would wash all that great seasoning away, and curl up the slices.
The problem is, when the USDA sends out this info, they neglect to tell us anything else. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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