Beef Jerky "Sweat", how to avoid?

Discussion in 'Drying/Dehydrating' started by mlol, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. mlol

    mlol Newbie

    I am working on finalizing my product for sale and recently started noticing my beef jerky sometimes starts to sweat. What is the best way to "stabilize" the jerky for packaging?

    Currently my process goes something like:

    1. Dehydrate 4 hours

    2. Put into air tight container to equalize moisture

    3. Package

    After step 2 some pieces start to sweat. I'm worried if I package it like this the jerky will go bad faster due to the moisture in the packaging. However I dont want the jerky TOO dry either, hence the reason for step 2 in the first place. If I dont do step 2 it dries out pretty bad and becomes too tough/crispy/dry.

    I'm wondering if its due to the steps or the recipe. I did 2 variations, one my normal recipe, and one with an extra step. After I marinated, patted dry, I tossed it in a salty/vinegary solution. This version doesnt sweat. The normal version (marinade, pat dry, then dehydrate) is what is sweating.

    Any ideas?

  2. MLOL, if you have a moisture issue it has to be one of two things. One, you need to dehydrate longer. You should be loosing 45 /50 % weight if it is dried properly. Two, you are not allowing the jerky to get to ambient temperature before vaccume sealing the bag. The problem is probably # 2. The moisture doesn't hurt a thing. It,s just a cosmetic issue. My sweet and smokey jerky when vacuum sealed leaves a sticky moisture in the bag. Mostly because I don't dehydrate it to 50% . As long as customers don't complain don't sweat it.
  3. ldrus

    ldrus Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I second what jerky said, have u tried playing with your drying times? I like to go between 5 1/2 to 6 hrs in dehydrator .
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Are you placing the jerky into the air tight container while it's warm. As in warmer than the ambient temperature of the air? That will cause sweating. Think of it this way, take a shower go get in your cold car close the door. What happens to your windows? Condensation forms.

    So from that more than likely as the others have said to much moisture in your product, and sealing it in your air right container prior to packaging is causing this.

    You need to let your jerky stabilize to ambient temp then pack.

    I hope you are using cure. what your are describing is a good way to cause bacterial growth.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  5. bigwheel

    bigwheel Smoking Fanatic

    Sounds like a short cycle to me. I have settled in on 11 two more in the oven to kill the ecoli. Fresh made jerky do not need much of any excuse to start sweating. Air tight container makes it happen every After mine is made up I unplug it from the heat and smoke and let the fan blow on it all night. Next day. I lay it flat on paper towels an give it another half day..then move it to a bucket with a loose fitting lid. I gradually shut off more air until it quits tryng to prespire..then bag it up..and feel fairly dont get cute and stick the bags in the ice box..that makes it sweat again. Its a touchy feely type other What temp that jerky maker runs at..I dont have a clue.

    Since we is on the jerky topic just wanted to let yall know I got officially legal today. A nice old pal who owns a bbq restaurant is going to kindly allow me to make the delicious morsels in his totally health goon inspected Commercial kitchen...and also attempt to peddle it.  What a guy huh? Got another chum working up a distinctive logo and printing up labels shortly after. I am very proud of that..and do not have to feel guilty about illegal stuff and nobody can nag at me for being an immoral person huh? lol
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  6. mlol

    mlol Newbie

    Thanks for the replies everyone, very helpful. It seems my issue is probably that I wasnt waiting for the jerky to cool to ambient temp enough. I will try this again via leaving it in the dehydrator turned off overnight. I will test this on the next batch this week.

    Now, I'm not using cure. I have seen some recipes that use cure and some that dont, it seemed to me this is not a requirement. However are all commercially sold jerkys using cure? If so, what exactly is the cure called? I need to figure out what it is called and where I can buy it in Germany so I need specifics.


  7. bigwheel

    bigwheel Smoking Fanatic

    I been making the stuff for 50 years and never had a bit of cure on it. Now I use strips of solid meat but if I ever turned into a hamburger meat squirter I would prob use some. For sausage making all I use is Morton's Tender Quick. Best way to use it is pretend its salt..which is mainly what it it. For example if your recipe calls for a Tablespoon of salt just use the TQ. It will cure it just right and is prob available in your neck of he woods. For cured sausage the rate of 1 1/2 teaspoons per pound of meat works just right for me. Low salt folks might drop to 1 teaspoon. Keep us posted on the adventures.
  8. mlol

    mlol Newbie

    Hey everyone thanks for your input!

    I think it could be the fact that I didnt wait for the jerky to reach room temp before packaging, or that I need to let it air dry a little bit after the dehydration process. I noticed this same batch i did last time that was pretty sweaty afterwards, i opened the lid to the tupperware and let it sit for a day and it seemed to mellow out a bit.

    I'm just wondering how this works in production? I was counting on 1 day for marinading, 4 hours for dehydrating, and then packaging shortly after, if I need to add in another day for "stabilization" that could make the process pretty long when I want to produce volume.
  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    bigwheel...... I find some of your information dangerous..... nitrite and nitrate are poisons when used in unacceptable amounts...
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  11. bigwheel

    bigwheel Smoking Fanatic

    If it gets strong enough to kill a person it be way too salty for a human to eat. That is why they mix it with salt. Prevents Get a
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Interesting way to look at handling a "potentially" life threatening chemical.....
  13. bigwheel

    bigwheel Smoking Fanatic

    Yep it took a pretty smart person to think of mixing it with a bunch of salt. Built in safe guard to preserve life and health.

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