Long time jerky maker, but still have some questions - Slicing, curing, marinating time, food safety

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by synapse88, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. synapse88

    synapse88 Newbie

    Hey everyone, I've been making a traditional jerky a while now, with a heavy soy (1/4 cup/1 lb) and worcestershire (1/4 cup/1.5lb) recipe, but I wanted to pose some questions for you, more experienced jerky makers :)

    1 - Slicing - Do you slice at home, or do you have the butcher slice? If the former, what slicer do you use, and if the latter, what butcher/grocery chain does your slicing? I use this cheapo Cuisinart thing but it's not very consistent on the thickness, even when pre-freezing. 

    2 - Curing - Do you guys normally cure? I never have and have never had a problem...is curing only necessary when you're not using so much salt in the recipe? I'd like to avoid it if possible.

    3 - Dehydrator vs Smoker - I've always used a dehydrator and have liquid smoke in the recipe (1 tsp/1 lb, and people really seem to love it once I got my recipe honed in. Honestly, how much better is the smoked jerky? I like some smoke (think smoked pork butts and brisket) but don't like an overwhelming amount of smoke. Do I need to invest in a smoker to make better jerky than I do now? If so please suggest models.

    4 - Marinating time - I usually do 24 hours or a bit under...I can't imagine it needs more than that when making jerky of regular thickness. Have you all actually noticed a difference by marinating for more than 1 day? Would I have to tone down the amounts of spices etc if I wanted to go longer than 24?

    General food safety questions - So after my jerky is done, I cool, then seal in food saver vacuumed bags, usually with a desicant packet, and store at room temperature up to a month. Is that enough? I've seen talk of doing a post drying bake at 275 for 10 minutes to kill pathogens, the curing stuff above etc, am I missing any best practices I'mm not currently following? I'm thinking the curing is to keep the jerky shelf stable for a year+ on end or whatever, which I have no interest in. My jerky us usually consumer within weeks.  

     Lastly are there any forums etc for beginning a jerky sales business? Not really interested in doing that, but would love to read about the experiences of others that have.  

    Thanks guys!!
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  3. synapse88

    synapse88 Newbie

    Thanks Ray!

    Anyone else care to weigh in?
  4. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  5. uncle eddie

    uncle eddie Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    1.  Slicing - I slice by hand.  My batches are normally in the 3 to 5 pound range pre-dehydration.  Even if the batches were 10 or 15 pounds, I would probably slice by hand.  Of course, my knives are very sharp.

    2. Curing - I use Kikkoman soy sauce based marinate - so it is salted for sure - and I have never used cure either.  I shrink wrap and store my to-be-eaten-at-a-later-date in the fridge or the freezer.

    3.  I use a dehydrator and have for decades.  It is a personal preference for me and I do not care for the smoked jerky as much - BUT - if I was fishing with you and you brought a batch of smoked jerky, I would eat all you could spare 


    4.  Marinating time - at least overnight - but I prefer 24 hours.  I marinate it in the fridge.

    Food Safety - Any jerky I plan to eat in the next week or two can stay in the air.  Any jerky planned to be eaten at a later date is either shrink-wrapped and put in the fridge (to be comsumed in the next 4 weeks or so).  Anything that will be consumed a month or more after making is frozen.

    Forum - No idea there - but on Shark Tank a guy came in with his premium steak jerky and got more than 1 shark to invest.  


    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
    SonnyE likes this.
  6. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

  7. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  8. I slice my jerky by hand, haven't found a slicer that I quite like. I'd prefer the slicer that attaches to the counter, slices about 1/4 thick. Anyone have one? If so do you like it? I prefer using London broil for the beef jerky since its thicker, that way when it's done it doesn't look like shoestrings! I also just started using liquid smoke in my recipe again, and it's great as long as you don't use too much.
  9. About the jeky sales business.. I would live to do something like that, or at least start out with a vendor cart and go from there. Right now I just sell batches here and there to friends, but have a lot of orders so with my full time job it's like I have 2 jobs lol! Love it though..
  10. tsonka

    tsonka Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Im making Jerky this weekend which I make 2-3 times a year

    1 - Slicing - I slice mine by hand. HOWEVER I am really thinking about buying Cabalas 12in slicer which is on sale .. But currently I slice by hand

    2 - Curing - Soy Sauce based marinade 

    3 - Dehydrator vs Smoker - I have 2 dehydrators with the round plastic trays

    4 - Marinating time - 8-12 hours. I have found that there is minimal difference between overnight-12 hours and going 24 hours. I slice meat middle afternoon, put in marinade, let sit overnight then start early the next morning
  11. started making jerky about three years ago....got hooked, now make three to five 20+ LB batches a week.

    Slicing- I use an Aventco SL310 slicer I bought at webstaurantStore.com....... Awesome slicer, cuts evenly, thin, thicker, has a built in sharpener.

    Curing- I cure every batch regardless of meat or recipe, or the storing process. BETTER SAFE THEN SORRY!!!

    Dehydrator vs. smoker- I have done both, I've started out in the smoker for an hour then finished in the dehydrator, I've done full smoke. I've done full dehydrate with liquid smoke in the recipe. Nowadays I find myself going the full dehydrate method because of the amount I am doing.

    Marinating time- I go at least 24 hours. But my normal time is 36 hours. I have seen a difference in the taste/texture in marinating longer. I do pork, chicken, turkey, and beef jerky. all cut meat.... no ground meat.

    Selling jerky- I have no desire to have to go through all the hoopla, inspections, and red tape to be able to sell my jerky (officially). I make jerky for friends, family and coworkers.
  12. rc4u

    rc4u Smoke Blower

  13. myownidaho

    myownidaho Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I partially freeze and hand slice.

    Yes, I use Cure #1 for safety and extended shelf stability. I also vacuum seal and throw in the deep freeze.

    Several hours of smoke, finish in the dehydrator.

    Somewhere around 18 hours in the marinade.

    No interest in the commercial aspect. Too many bs hoops to jump through in the food industry. If you’re going that route, you definitely want a good slicer instead of doing it by hand.
  14. SonnyE

    SonnyE Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
  15. SonnyE

    SonnyE Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    PS: As for your slicer, try slower smoother strokes. Give the blade time to do the work.
  16. Great thread love the comments I an Newbie. About to make first jerky. I have a smoker so to dry it out should I smoke it longer?. I have pellet smoker so I can take from smoke mode to oven easy enough just open the indirect fire slide and turn up the heat to dry it out. Now why hanging meat? It works better that way? Love this place it is very helpful will have to pony up some dollars and become paid member.

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