how long to cold smoke beef for jerky?

Discussion in 'Info and Practices' started by mrpink, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. mrpink

    mrpink Newbie


    I'm going to make sone jerky in my dehydrator, but was going to smoke it first.

    Has anyone cold smoked beef strips, and if so, how long did you smoke them for?

    Also would you cold smoke before or after marinating?

  2. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    After curing is done for a day or more I put mine in the smoker at 200 for an hour and a half to a couple hours. Till the meat reaches 165 at least. But I don't use a dehydration machine.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
  3. mrpink

    mrpink Newbie

    I only have a cold smoker, so the smoking will be for flavour only rather than drying.

    I was thinking of smoking for a few hours after slicing, and then curing/marinating then drying in dehydrator.

    Maybe I should marinate first then smoke?
  4. phatbac

    phatbac Master of the Pit

    I would marinade before the smoke. I have never smoked and used a dehydrator just cold smoke till they were done. I smoked in a cold smoker about 165 degrees for about 8 hours with about 4 hours of hickory pellet smoke. came out great. but if you are going to smoke that long at a low temp make sure to use Prague powder in your marinade.

    Happy Smoking,

    phatbac (Aaron)
  5. smokedcaveman

    smokedcaveman Smoke Blower

    there's a bit of a consensus that you're going to want to marinade first, then smoke.

    couple reasons for -

    one, the marinade can (and will) wash some of your smoke flavor out - not good. two - smoking, even cold smoking, changes the surface proteins of the meat, making it more difficult for things like marinades or seasonings to penetrate. so you'll wind up with both under-marinated and under-smoked meat going into the dehydrator.

    another one would be food safety - depending on how long you're cold smoking, your meat (unmarinated) will be in the danger zone for pathogens for too long (40f-140f). Whereas, if you marinade first, you're at least going to be adding salt and maybe sugar, which'll make the meat less hospitable to stuff that wants to grow on it. (and you'll have an even greater measure of safety if you're nitrate curing - prague powder, etc) 

    I speak from personal experience.. I had that idea before, and I tinkered for a while trying to get it right, and did some research into the why. 

    here's what I found works - vinegar soak the meat strips for about 30 minutes (step from biltong making that helps eliminate surface pathogens), then into the marinade for the allotted time in the fridge (usually overnight) take out of marinade, dry in fridge on rack for 12-24 hours (pellicle formation - lets you capture a solid smoke flavor) into the smoker for several hours (depending on wood, temperature, intensity of flavor, etc) and then, if you're dehydrating, you can either 'semi-cook' (dehydrator at 165F) your jerky.. or if you've done well with curing and smoking, you can cool dehydrate at about 100F (which turns out a better product)

    curing and cooking to 165 is an industrial regulation to ensure it's shelf stable for as long as possible - if you're nervous about it, then by all means cook it with the dehydrator. (no sarcasm, I promise)

    it'll still be good. I personally trust the cure that I use and the hours of smoke I lay on to make it totally uninviting to the microbial nasties. that and because jerky and other stuff goes so fast around me, it never really has time to think about going bad.
  6. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    In this case, if you are going to use a cure, it needs to be nitrite like Prague #1 or Instacure #!, not nitrate, which is #2.

    The rest of the advise looks good to me..
  7. smokedcaveman

    smokedcaveman Smoke Blower

    I stand corrected. I was in a hurry when I was typing and didn't double check. thanks for the catch!
  8. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Definitely add cure #1 to the meat prior to cold smoking.

    1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of meat, or 5.67 grams. 1.13 grams of cure per 1 pound of meat.

    The following recipe is traditional Thai Jerky. Normally not smoked, but dried in the sun (no cure). After drying the jerky is served hot and quickly heated in a wok or similar super hot pan.

    The version in this thread is smoked and dried in the smoker. Please note that I do use cure #1 which traditionally wouldn't be used.
  9. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I don't do dehydrated stuff like you get at the jerky store in bulk bins that can be left out for weeks. That stuff is like boot leather. I like thicker meaty chewable jerky that's like eating steak. Store in the fridge and freezer .
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
  10. I've used this Thai Jerky recipe before and it's great! I did 5 lbs and added 1 tsp of #1 cure and let marinade for 24 hrs.   Smoked for a few hours and then finished in my dehydrator at 145° for about 5 hours until it reached the desired doneness. The fish sauce will dissipate after being smoked. Put it in the fridge afterwards and it tasted better 2 days later. Going to try using pork loin next which I heard is just as good as beef.

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