Always use cure?

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by smoke_chef, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. smoke_chef

    smoke_chef Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I have 5 pounds of beef sliced between 1/8 and 1/4 inch think sitting in my fridge waiting for marinade and then the food dehydrator. But, I did another batch from ground beef for my wife using LEM's original recipe mix. In the instructions, it says ALWAYS USE CURE when making jerky. Then it goes on to explain their packet already has it in it. So, for my sliced jerky, I wasn't planning on using any. I've done a search here and found several threads about cure but none that explain if it must be used with all methods of jerky making.

    Also... with the jerky I made in the oven out of ground beef. It seems very dry to me but I've stored it in the fridge. Is that necessary?

    Thanks in advance for the expert advice. I love this site. You guys (and gals) are awesome!!
  2. elginplowboy

    elginplowboy Meat Mopper

    Yep, always for me. I look at it this way, using cure vs emergency room(possible death). Which is cheaper? Also kinda like driving a car without a seat belt, yea u might be ok and people have done it in the past but do u really want to chance the one time u need it?
  3. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    I have never used cure in making my beef jerky and I've never had a problem. I've used homemade marinades and store bought. I'm sure the safety police will be around shortly yelling botulism but I've been making jerky this way for about 10 years and neither myself nor anyone that's had my jerky has had a problem. I do set my dehydrator at the highest setting and it dries for at least four hours depending on thickness then in vacuum bags for storage. Sometimes if I know it isn't going to last long I forgo the vacuum bags and straight into zip top bags. Do what you feel most comfortable with obviously but don't be scared by everything either :)
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
  4. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     The rule is you have to get your product between 40-140 degrees in less than 4 hours to not have to use cure……Cure is used as insurance to protect against different food born bacteria’s when smoking for long low temperature smokes. When you are smoking you’re creating a “perfect” environment for bacteria to grow…. Most food born bacteria’s loves a warm, 40-140 degree high Carbon Dioxide rich environment to grow…. When dehydrating you do not have as good of an environment for it to grow in, but the possibility is still there that is can. Why take the risk???  ShoneyBoy
  5. smoke_chef

    smoke_chef Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    All good comments. Thanks everyone. I understand "better safe than sorry" much more than I did all the stuff I was getting from a google search. This is site is great.
  6. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

     I'm with Brooksy as far as no cure goes, I ''ve been making jerky for over 20 years with no cure but always a two day soak in the brine and then to the dehydrator on high for around 5 hours.
  7. I've always used cure and seasoning blend.  I clean the meat and prep area with a light bleach solution also to ensure no bacteria are gonna cling to my eats. I slice the meat cross grain about 1/8", lay all the slices out flat then sprinkle the spices/cure evenly. If I'm doing teriyaki I drizzle Yoshida's Gourmet sauce ( you can of course use any sauce but I like teriyaki )along each slice.  Flip the meat, repeat the process then roll and mix all the slices.  Next I layer all the slices in a glass casserole dish, crossing each layer. Cover with plastic wrap and let it set for 24 hrs before smoking. After smoking I vac pack and store in fridge (or freezer - when I make a lot). Sorry no pics at this time but will post some next time I make some. Hope this was helpful.
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I haven't made Jerky in years, but I never used cure for Jerky.

    However my Son asked me for a Jerky recipe, and I gave him one using Tender Quick.

    If I do any Jerky in the future, it will be with TQ-----Tastes Great & extra safe!!

  9. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    What he said !
  10. Jerky is one of my favorite things to do. I have had great luck using top round sliced thick, about 1/8" - 1/4", and I use Hi Mountain Jerky Cure &Seasoning blending hickory and mesquite. Follow the directions for mixing and apply on both sides of each slice, cover and let cure over night. If using an offset smoker I use hickory and mesquite wood chunks directly on charcoal and keep the temp at about 225 degrees turning the slices about 30 minutes for a total of 1 hour cook. Check after 45. Minutes and finished to desired tenderness. I like my jerky to be moist and a bit chewy, rather than dry and tough. If using a Traeger, or similar, I blend hickory and mesquite pallets and smoke at the same temp and time. Comparing both processes, I prefer the offset fire smoker results to the Traeger. There seems to be a better smoke flavor from real flavor wood chucks rather than pallets.

    The reviews from everyone have been outstanding! Enjoy and let me know how it comes out for you.:grilling_smilie:
  11. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I agree with  Brooksy and Crazy Moon.  I've been making jerky for 15 - 20 years and I've never used cure.  Like CrazyMoon, I let it marinate for at least 1 day if not 2 and run it on high in the dehydrator.  This summer I tried smoking it first then into the dehydrator.  It came out amazing.  
  12. You can use vinegar, which acts as a cure, but it is not a cure. Other than that, you should always use salt or sodium nitrite.
  13. pabs

    pabs Newbie

    i agree. better safe than sorry.
  14. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke Fire Starter

    Better safe than sorry is a great motto... knowing what makes it "safe" is better IMO.

    IF you are going to have your jerky reach 160F IT within 4 hours of removing from the fridge, AND it will be eaten in a reasonable period of time (i.e. not making enough to last months), then cure isn't necessary for safety.  IF it will not be eaten quickly, OR you are dehydrating it at a low enough temp that it won't get to 160F IT "quickly", then it needs to be cured to be "better safe than sorry" (based on FDA etc guidelines for safe food preparation for jerky).

    I do some jerky with cure, some without.  It all depends on how I'm preparing it and how long I expect it to last... which generally isn't too long :D
  15. I use to smoke my jerky for 2-1/2 hrs at 200 degrees without cure and never had a problem . Recently I've done summer sausage and snack sticks and pink salt is the norm . I don't take chances anymore especially with all the jerky that's consumed by my kids .

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