making jerky. want to be sure it is safe

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by seldomseensmith, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. I bought some sirloin and cut it in strips and used a marinade. Was planning on smoking it at 150 ish till its done. I wasnt concerned but I have read a few bits and pieces about curing and safety and I wanted to make sure im not doing anything unsafe.
  2. earache_my_eye

    earache_my_eye Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    you will get varying opinions on this....and, quite frankly, it depends most on how you intend to store it.....if it even HAS to be stored. Jerky around here doesn't last very long...[​IMG]

    Introducing cure to the meat is mostly for when it will be at less than ideal temps for any length of time. If you smoke/dehydrate your jerky at 150+ until it is done, and store it in a sealed container, in a cool place it should be OK for a relatively short time. (a week..??) However, if you keep it sealed and in the refrigerator, it will keep much longer.....if frozen...almost indefinitely.

    The main purpose of curing is to eliminate the nasty bacterias inside the meat before it is dehydrated....thus making a more stable product that can withstand sitting on a countertop in a jar at room temperature.

    Hope this helps,
  3. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    A pretty good synopsys right here. Also think "danger zone" for a guideline as well. If the meat is gonna be between 40 and 140 for over 4 hours during processing, cure it. And ANY ground meat product even close to this is suspect in my book. Any sausage I make for smoking is cured, unless it's a hot smoke at cooking temps.
  4. it actually depends on what kind of jerky. If strips of steak and you've marinaded - as long as the marinade has some giood antibacterial agents. cure is unnecessary.
    Good antibacterial agents include: salt, honey, vinegar (or any other acid coke will kill anything) or alochol. For personal preference I like at least 2 of the above per marinade.
    With thins strips of meat I'm talking 1/4 inch or less. Simply rubbing with salt and drying is sufficient. The salt will penetrate throught the entire meat. Dehydrating will further impede bacteria.

    I would Add a cure only if you are
    A) making thick jerky from ground meat that has none of the above antibacterial agents in the mix or
    b) making sausages that are going to be hanging around at ambient temps or warmer.
    Again I'd personally use honey and alcohol as flavour and antibacterial agents in my sausage. But then I'm not planning on cold smoking any sausage that hasn't previously been boiled :)

    Ordinary salted/marinated, cut from solid meat jerky does not require a cure.

    I've made a lot of cured biltong, some jerky and a lot of sausage. never used a nitrite based cure yet.
    Thinking about ham and bacon - so will probably try it then. But it's more for the actual effect it has on the taste and texture of the meat than for any preservative properties.

    The world lived on dried and salted meat for thousands of winters before anyone thought adding saltpetre to the cure was necessary.
  5. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    A portion of this thread, and you DID reply to it... ;{)

    "The origin of the use of nitrite is lost in history. Salt containing nitrates was used in Homer’s time (850 B.C.) to preserve meat. Nitrate was present originally as a natural impurity in the salts used in curing but, unknown to the users, was a key ingredient in the curing process. The Romans, who learned the art of curing meat with salt from the Greeks, were the first to note the reddening effect now attributed to nitrite. Although the role of nitrites in cured meat was not really understood until early in the 20th century, it is clear that for thousands of years nitrite has played an important role in meat curing."
  6. lmao - well there you go. who knew :)
    But still for basic jerky I'd just use salt and spices.

    likewise curing some salmon tonight, salt, sugar, dill.

    Not everything needs nitrites. and I'd rather not eat it if I don't have to :)

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