Making Jerky less salty with Tenderquick

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by kumatae, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. kumatae

    kumatae Fire Starter

    Okay, I feel like I've gotten everything down with making jerky in my MES except it's hit and miss with being salty.  I do want to ensure that meat doesn't spoil or go bad so I want to add tenderquick, but can someone please recommend what I can do to lessen the salty taste of my jerky?  Here's my recipe.

    1 cup of soy sauce

    1 cup of water

    1 tablespoon of sesame seed oil

    1 tablespoon of garlic powder

    1 tablespoon of onion powder

    2 tablespoon of pepper

    5 tablespoon of brown sugar

    3 tablespoon of siracha sauce

    1 tablespoon of tenderquick per pound of meat

    I'll mix the marinade really well ensuring everything is dissolved and mixed. 

    So that will produce enough marinade to do about 4 pounds.  I slice them to about 1/8 of an inch.  Is there anything I can add to make it less salty?  Any help would be much appreciated.  Thank you.
  2. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    my 2 cents is leave the tender quick out and use cure#1
  3. smker

    smker Meat Mopper

    ya tenderquick wont cure the meat,   i dont have any of that on hand to check the ingredients but its like an enzyme that brakes down the fibers  making the meat tender.

    edited by DaveOmak....
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2013
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Morton's Tender Quick has Nitrate and Nitrite in it..... It is to be used for curing meats and not as a seasoning....  

    To reduce the salt, use cure #1

    There has been some confusion, on this forum, about the proper use of Morton's Tender Quick...  Dave


    NOTE: Morton Tender Quick is not a meat tenderizer, or should either be used as a seasoning. These two premixes are essentially the same, and can be used interchangeably. Both are considered fast cures. The difference between the two is that the Sugar Cure has added dextrose and a packet of spice mix. They both contain a combination of high grade salt, sugar, plus both sodium nitrate (.5%) and sodium nitrite (.5%). 

    Like cure #1, these premix cures have been developed as a cure for meat, poultry, game, fish and sausage that require short curing times, and will be fully cooked. They are NOT interchangeable with cure #1; they measure differently. Unlike cure #1, you don't use any additional salt when making sausage.

    NOTE:  Morton Tender Quick is not a meat tenderizer, and the Sugar cures are not seasonings. These are cures that only should be used in recipes calling for curing meat fish, and poultry. They can be used in recipes that call for cure #1, but because they are measured differently and the salt they contain, they are not directly interchangeable with cure #1, or cure #2, saltpeter or Morton Smoke Flavored Sugar Cure.
  5. donr

    donr Smoking Fanatic

    Low sodium soy sauce.
  6. kumatae

    kumatae Fire Starter

    Okay, I'm convinced. I'll give Cure #1 a try on my next batch. I'm seeing 1 teaspoon for about 5 pounds of sliced meat. Does that sound about right?
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes.... 1 tsp / 5#'s ....  The numbers in the following recipe take into account all the cure will not be going into the meat.... some will stay in the marinade... that is why the 3 #'s of meat and 1 tsp of cure..... 

    From the looks of your recipe, you could use it and add 1 tsp cure #1 and 3 #'s of meat...  the 1 cup of soy sauce probably will add enough salt to the mix, considering the recipe below uses 1/4 cup soy and 1 tsp salt... they will be very close in salt content....  

    From the Sausage Maker..... Sponsor of this site....    Dave
    Venison or Beef Jerky  
    from Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing by Rytek Kutas


    • 3 lbs. lean beef or venison
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. Insta Cure No. 1
    • 1 tsp. onion powder
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

    Jerky can be made from beef or venison as well as from a variety of game meats such as moose, elk or antelope. You should never use pork as it may contain the trichinae parasite.


    Make the meat as lean as possible while removing all fat, sinew and gristle. Too much fat in the jerky can cause it to go rancid. The meat should then be cut into strips about 1/4" - 1/2" thick and 1/2" - 3/4" wide. Mix the other ingredients together and pour the mixture over the meat. Gently mix the meat to evenly distribute the sauce. Let meat marinate in the refrigerator for approximately 24 hours. During this period, meat should be turned over once or twice.


    Using a food dehydrator, the meat will be dried to give it a leathery texture. When dehydrating meat for jerky, it is important to remember that there are no exact rules that apply to food dehydration because your results can be effected by room temperature, relative humidity and moisture levels in the food. To become proficient, it will be necessary to experiment with your drying techniques. If you use too much heat, food may harden on the outside while still being moist on the inside. On the other hand, with too little heat, your drying times will be very long. Also, overloading the shelves will result in long drying times.

    As a starting point, dry meat for 3-4 hours. The temperature of the meat should reach 145-150° F. Meat will be pliable when thoroughly dried, yet when a piece is bent and torn there should be no internal moisture.
  8. kumatae

    kumatae Fire Starter

    Thank you!!
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I am a fan of Cure #1 but there is no reason you can't use Tender Quick, lots of people do. As mentioned above Kikkoman Low Sodium, Green Cap, will work fine or can be cut with some Water Beer, Cola or anything you wish to try. Give it a try and if still too salty for your taste go to Cure #1...JJ

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