Question about using cure.

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by realfloopyguy, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. I got my stomach stapled in July and cooking a big old honkin piece of meat just aint the same!(I've got 2 pork butts in the smoker right now:p)

    I've been eating a lot of jerky and then I decided to make my own. I tried it without cure and it was edible but the texture wasn't right. I knew it was because I wasn't using a cure.

    As a side note - I also dried out a cooked eye of round roast. Interesting to say the least. I'm pretty sure it is dry and stable forever. It has no moisture at all. It would make good meat for a stew probably when camping. The roast was overcooked before drying.

    I bought some cure and I made 5lb of jerky the other night. I've been eating it(even when it was raw, you know you all do it too.) through various stages of drying.

    I don't want dry jerky. I wan't a little chew. I made one with honey and one without. The one with honey is certainly chewier. I like it and I will start adding honey to all of my recipes from now on since I can't taste the honey anyway.

    My question is this:

    How dry do I need to get cured jerky to make it shelf stable? Can it still be rather moist like some commercial ones? I made this with 1 tsp pink salt per 5lb as weighed with the liquids(5lbs of meat, 1lb of brine) and marinated in it for 24 hours. The brine consisted of soy sauce, Worcestershire, vinegar, and spices.

    Most recipes give a temperature/time or a 'until desired consistency'. Let's say my desired consistency is something akin to smoked salmon consistency? How about the consistency of biltong?

    Is there some minimum level of drying that must take place?
  2. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Rule of thumb for drying meats is 30-35% weight loss.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
    realfloopyguy likes this.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The initial weight is measured BEFORE any liquids are added...
    If you use a liquid brine/marinade, cook the jerky to 180, in the liquid, then put in the dryer.. That will kill all pathogens.. after cooking, cool the liquid THEN add the cure... Cure above 130 ish starts to break down...
  4. Initial weight in regards to amount of cure or initial weight in relation to final weight after drying?

    Cooking the meat is out. I don't like the texture of it that way. I can cook the brine itself. I used about 2 cups for 5lbs of meat. It was really just enough to coat the meat more than anything. I measured the cure for the total weight because I assumed the cure would work the same way with the spices/liquid as it does the meat.

    The marinade/liquid was honey, soy sauce, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce with spices added in. I can switch to a dry rub if I have to but reading on smoking meats forums I got the impression I could just add it to brine/marinade and that the point of the cure was to not have to cook it.
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Initial weight of the meat before any additions, is your starting point for weight loss while dehydrating/dying..
  6. The jerky came out perfect. I'm going to start a new batch in the next day or so.

    I've lost 100lb since July and I need lots of protein to keep my muscle mass and jerky is what is keeping me going. I eat about 4oz a day(usually 2-3oz for breakfast and 1-2oz for a snack at some point in the day)

    I used soy, Worcestershire, and vinegar in both variations. One had honey in it, different types of chile powders, and onion/garlic powder.

    The other had Asian chile garlic paste. This one tasted good but the texture wasn't as good.

    The honey definitely gave the chile flavored one a nicer texture but the asian flavored one was really good too but a little crumbly on the outside.
  7. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I would not eat more than a couple ounces of jerky per day. Jerky can have 450 mg of sodium per ounce. Plus a bunch of cure in ya is not real great.
    Sounds good though. Glad your making yummy product.
  8. Thanks for reminding me about the nitrites/nitrates.

    Even with the jerky, I probably don't hit the daily recommended sodium intake as I only eat 4-5oz of food 3 times a day.

    I'm not suggesting a beef jerky diet is the healthiest thing in the world but it is probably better for you than grabbing a McD's egg McMuffin every morning.

    I do try to mix it up though since you can't live on just one thing. I eat boiled eggs, hummus with cheese crisps, yogurt, dried fruit, nuts, and a few other things alternatively in spurts. Jerky is my favorite though because sometimes I can only stomach an ounce or two and it stays with me for a long time, is easy to keep around, and tastes great.

    A thought on the cure itself:

    The cure is a tiny amount. Most of the nitrites in our diets come from vegetables and not curedmeat. A salad has more nitrites in it than a serving of jerky would.

    Nitrites are actually good for you. Nitrites are one of the main reasons salads are good for you. They can turn into something that is not good for you in the absence of nutrients. Marinating your jerky in a brine containing vitamins/nutrients would probably stop the bad thing, nitrosamines, from forming to begin with. A marinade with orange juice or beet juice would likely fit this bill. As a side note: Beets have a huge amount of nitrates in them(which turn to nitrites in your body), I wonder if you would need to adjust the cure if using beet juice as a marinade?

    I might have to make a nitrite/nitrate thread.
  9. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I think a bunch of greens or vegetables have antioxidants that may neutralize a % of the bad stuff..
    I was just thinking... Hope this guy doesn't go on a jerky diet.. You sound like your hip to all that stuff.. Good to know.. :)

  10. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The concern with nitrities is when they react with the meat and create nitrosamines.
  11. Doesn't much of that take place under high heat conditions, meaning that jerky wouldn't be as bad as something like bacon or cooked sausages would be given that the heat is very minor in jerky?
  12. Rings,

    I got my stomach stapled(the sleeve). I don't eat much at one time anymore and the huge protein numbers on a small amount of jerky make it a perfect meal. I could make it without any salt or cure and keep it in the fridge. Nothing beats an good old fashioned strip of chewy beef jerky loaded down with salt and some cure though, ya know?

    I might try making some sort of chewy beef/honey/vegetable meat stick. A lot of my vitamins and the like come from supplements at the moment.
  13. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I understand the stomach acid also acts like a catalyst in these reactions (in the absence of heat). Not trying to scare you off (i eat cured meats all the time).

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