Help please!

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by action, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. I am going to try my hand at beef jerky. I have a london broil all sliced up-but need directions. Can some one please help me from here? I will be using a MEC smoker. Just need something simple for a first time and maybe a temp and time. sliced maybe 1/4-3/8.
    Thanks for any help.
  2. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Some jerky master will be along shortly to give you a hand. I usually just make ground meat jerky, so can't help you with this one.
  3. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey Jack...I'm assuming that you have not put a cure on the meat you are using. If not cured, then it is recommended that you bring the meat up to a safe temp before it is dried out. Which is kind of an undesirable thing to do with jerky.

    This is a copy/paste from an older thread on cubesteak jerky I did late last summer. It's pretty detailed, but the highlights should lead you into what your looking for.

    Cube steak is actually the process itself, it's not reference to the cut of meat. In some areas of the country, and depending on your individual ethnic background, it might be called chopped steak. It is different from tenderizing as you would with a spiney mallet, or a needled process. I own and have used both of these tools. Cubed steak meat has cuts or scores (lacerations) half the way through the thickness & all the way across on one side, then like you would rotate it 90 degrees and flip over to do the other side, so the cuts are running perpendicular. The cuts are pretty close together, maybe from 1/4" down to 3/16". And, yes, it is for faster cooking and a more tender fried product, probably used mostly for Chicken Fried Steak. Very tender, and if not seared or crisped-up well on the outside it will tend to fall apart. Anyway, depending on who did the cubing and probably the actual cut of meat used will determine the type of cube process, as I have seen double cut on one side and none on the other side, and even double on both sides. Double scoring gives it a checkered or squared cut pattern, hence "cube" steak.

    The meat for my jerky was cut into thicker squared fingers (not strips) of 5/8 to 3/4 inch due to the nature of it wanting to fall apart if cut too small, and also due to the additional shrinkage of the meat. I wanted a pretty dry jerky product so these are the 2 reasons for size.

    Seasoning was kosher salt, coarse black pepper and garlic granules, applied fairly heavy after cutting, then just placed into a large bowl to marinate in the seasoning and it's own juices while the smoker got prepped and was ready, maybe 15 minutes. Really, the smoker was mostly set to go, but I wanted to make sure I had a nice low steady flame on that big burner, have my racks set-up for loading and placement, and get a good soak of the seasonings.

    Ambient temps at start and end of smoke/drying were 53/74, respectively. Winds were very light (especially for around here), overall a really good day for smoke. One of those days that makes you wish you had more goodies ready to smoke...

    Smoke was Hickory for the first 3/4 hour with very light wisps o' the thin blue. Smoker temp climbed from 115 to 145 in 35 minutes or so, and I figured much more smoke time would be too heavy. I used 2 chunks about 1" thick, 2" wide & 2-1/2" long. Not much.

    Smoker temps at start of smoke were 115 and took about 3/4 hour to climb to 155. Then, she ran at 150 to 162 for the majority of the rest of the cook, total time was 6-1/2 hours. It did try climbimg a lot towards the end as the light breeze thoughout the day actually died to nothing, so I did have keep closer watch over her. Smoker rig is my modded SNP with LPG conversion, by the way. Think (no, I know) I'm gonna love working with this rig.

    Taste and texture: flavor was pretty tasty, nise and light on the smoke so it wasn't over-powering, though I would have liked a bit of heat and more tang/zest, maybe some Chille powder or Cayenne (or both). I had to be careful of my wife's taste, gotta keep mama happy too ya know. Kid's will love it no matter what...homemade jerky is a serious treat here. I've only done it a couple of times. Texture was somewhat hard and some of it is actually brittle and will snap apart when you bend it. It is more dry than I really wanted, but it'll do. I was busy trying to post my week-old Brisket/Rib/Shrmp smoke pics while doing the jerky...distractions, distractions, distraction. I know better than that! Ahh, it's OK. My last batch went into the freezer for preservation, it was tieriaki/pineapple marinade with mesquite smoke and man was it good. This cube steak jerky could probably lay around on the counter in the baggie for weeks (it would never last that long), but we have a large domestic long-hair cat named "Curious". He's always into something.

    Storage should be good as it is so dry, though I did not use a cure on this. I would like to try it with cure and put a small bag of it in a dark closet with the date marked on it so I could dig it out after several months to see what happens...mold growth might be a problem without the use of other commercially used preservatives. Smoking is a natural preservative, though not as effective as the chemical means.

    Starting weight of the total uncut meat was 10.3 lbs and ending weight of 3.2, pretty dry. Did'nt get pics of this as I used a neighbor's kitchen scale at her house just for a quick check. Don't have my own (yet). Been looking though, and there are some good buys out there for 'em.

    Edibility is OK, a bit tougher than I like but not bad. This could be improved by spritzing with water or your favorite smoking spritz juice, then just let it soften for a few minutes and basically do a partial reconstitute of the meat. It would be similar to using dehydrated foods, gotta put some fluid in it before eating, heat would quicken the process, as long as not too much heat is used.

    When I do my next batch of jerky I'll be doing the bend test of the meat way sooner than I did here. Looks are very decieving when it comes to the doneness of slow heated and smoked meats. I'll also run my temps even lower than I did to slow things down more. That should give a better drying with less variances in the product. I didn't touch the meat until it came off, so, no rotations of smoker rack positions or movement whatsoever. Course, that could be a good thing, having some meat not quite as dry as other, gives some different textures to try. Though I thought soting it by texture/dryness would be a good idea if it would'nt be chilled during storage.

    Good luck with your smoke, Jack!

  4. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    excellent advice there from a fine wyomingite. the only thing i canadd to it is based on my own mistakes. for years, i only used salty ingredients for my brine. if i did add any sweetness, it was only a bare hint. the last year or so, i've learned the value of balancing the sweet and salty, and also the spice, if you like a little red or black pepper or other zestiness. with that in mind, all i can say is have fun experimenting but try to seek balance.
  5. countrysmoked

    countrysmoked Smoke Blower

    I have used this recipe from a bow hunter site a few times and it is good

    I usually tweak it a little different every time

    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]2 cups: brown sugar[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]1 tsp: pepper[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]1 tsp: garlic powder[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]2 tsp: onion powder[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]1 tsp: ginger[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]1-1/2 tsp tabasco ( optional )[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]1 tsp: cajun ( luzianne or creole ) opt[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]1 tsp: liquid smoke[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]1/2 cup: soy sauce[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]1/2 cup: teriyaki[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]1/2 cup: worcestershire[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]1 cup: dry red wine[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]1/2 cup: hot water[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]Dash of oj[/size][/font]
    [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]1 cup: salt[/size][/font][font=Arial,Helvetica][size=-1]Mix all together in big pot put in meat ie (deer, elk, or a good cut of beef ) cut meat into thin strips and let set in brine for 2 or 3 days, use 3 pans of apple or cherry chips and smoke 10 hrs check and turn after 8 hrs the taste is worth waiting for. Brine marinates about 10 to 15 lbs of meat ENJOY![/size][/font]
  6. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  7. Thank you-Thank you-Thank you
  8. builder59

    builder59 Smoke Blower

    Good luck on your smoke and welcome to the forum. Like the guys said pay attention to your heat, do some sort of brine or semi dry rub overnight and I usually never go over 150 degrees. I also take mine out when it is still just slightly red in the middle. In my opinion this keeps it juicy and it will still dry out in your fridge or storage container. I'm not saying to do it like a steak medium rare. When the pieces start to give up some oils that is when I typically take it off. I don't like jerky that breaks when you bend it. Best of luck to you.

  9. I am going to smoke tomorrow. I am going to try a corn beef/pastrami and Jerky. Probably not the best to try together but! Any tips on temps and times to try this? About a 5lb corn beef and about 5 lb jerky. Thanks again for everyones help.
  10. Pastrami needs to be smoked at around 200 degrees to an internal of 165. That is way too hot to try and dry jerky. A lot of smokers have trouble getting temps under 200 anyway, so if thats your case go for it.

    Here is a q-view from my last bout with jerky. Maybe you'll get some ideas.
  11. Thanks I will try them seperate!
    Thanks Jack
  12. builder59

    builder59 Smoke Blower

    Even though the jerky can be a little moist, like I said in my earlier post if you cut it with the grain it will still pull your dentures out when you eat it and it chews for a long time.

  13. Jerky is on. Sat in brine for 1 1/2 days smoker temp set at 150. Also thru in some almonds to see how they come out. We will see how it goes. Pastrami will go on after Jerky.
    Thanks Jack
  14. Jerky came out OK. Tasted really good. Outside of racks seemed to be well done.inside not quite done. Temps were kept at 150/160 maybe smoke longer at lower temps? Al and al pretty good but would like to improve. What do you think? Almonds were really good. Could smoke a little longer but don't like them over done.
    Thanks Jack
  15. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The outside edges of your smoker racks on verticals can get hotter than the mid sections. My GOSM instruction book said to stay at least 1-1/2 inches away from the chamber walls/door, to avoid hot spots...and they weren't kidding either. The only way to tell for sure is with oven rack therms placed in several different locations while it's running.

    Jerky can be touchy the first few batches as well. It takes a bit of practice...I know from experience how quickly it can go from looking great, to being over-dried.

    Good luck on the Pastrami!

  16. Thanks!

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