Newbie's first post, procede with caution.

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by lazykb, Sep 12, 2014.

  1. lazykb

    lazykb Newbie

    Hello folks.  This is my first time so please be gentle.  I am new to the forum and new to smoking.  Well there was that time back in college with Bill but neither one of us inhaled, honest.  Last Christmas a friend served a smoked salmon at his party.  It was delicious.  This past spring a buddy brought a smoked venison pastrami to our trout fishing camp.  It was delicious also.  Well one day thinking out loud, I mentioned I would like to look into smoking meats some day.  Last week was my birthday and my wife presented me with a Bradley four rack electric smoker.  I was a little less than thrilled not knowing anything about the process much less about the available equipment.  But, I have been married long enough to smile, say thank you, and be appreciative.  So now I have a smoker.  I hope it is a good brand.  Time will tell.  One thing I am not excited about is having to buy the wood from one source.  I had envisioned clearing some trees and using what was available.  Anyway....I am now the proud owner of a smoker.  A buddy and I are going to Wyoming next week and I thought having some venison jerky to munch on might give us something to do on the long way out there, so I got on the net and picked a couple of recipes and mixed up some marinade (you do call it marinade don't you?). I cut the meat into !/4 inch strips, with the grain,  put half in a covered bowl with one recipe and the other half in plastic storage bags, 1 gal., squeezed the air out, and laid them flat in the frig.  Now further reading reveals I may have already made some mistakes, so please if you will, answer the following questions;

    1.  Should I have pounded the meat first?

    2.  Should I have used a vacuum sealer to draw the marinade into the meat?  I have one available.

    Also I have additional questions;

    3.  What is a "cure"  and is it always necessary.  I didn't use any.

    4.  Do I run the smoke the entire time I am cooking/drying the meat, or just for awhile?

    5,  I once made jerky in the oven and used toothpicks to suspend the meat from the oven racks.  The racks in the smoker are of a crisscrossed construction and I don't think the toothpicks will work.  I read of a guy using paperclips.  I thought that was ingenious.  Should I try that or just lay the meat flat on the racks?  Do I need to rotate the racks?  Do I need to rotate the racks if I hang the strips?

    6.  I tried to season the smoker this morning and it never came up to the desired temp.  I left the vent partially open, when I closed it the temp rose a little, the vent closure still has small holes allowing the smoke to escape.  It was 55 degrees outside and I read reviews that said ambient temperature was important.  If true does that limit smoking to mild days only?

    Any other suggestion would very much be appreciated.  Like I said in the beginning this is my first time so please be gentle.  You could blow smoke up my skirt and I would believe everything you said.

    I promise future posts won't be so long, I'll do my home work.
  2. smokerjim

    smokerjim Meat Mopper

    welcome to the forum,if you want to learn you're in the right spot,to answer some of your questions, i don't think you need to pound out the meat, don't think you need to vacum seal although it might speed up the process a little, mostly cure is for smoking meats at low temps for long periods,it's so the meat won't can run the smoke as long as you want,it depends on how smoky you want it,my opinion is to much smoke is not always good. i would spin your racks now and then, smokers are all a little different with hot and cool spots, you should cut your meat across the grain,it will make it a little more tender.hope this helps alittle, you could also look in the archives here there is a ton of info. just key in what your looking for. good luck
  3. [​IMG]

     I always use cure in jerkey.

    Will you drop by roll call when you get a chance so we can all give you a proper SMF welcome?

    Happy smoken.

  4. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Meat doesn't need to be pounded

    meat doesn't need a vacuum marinade

    marinate 1-2 days in a glass dish or bag, no metal bowls

    I don't use cure (30 years) but may die from botulism some day  so buy some cure next time

    cut with the grain -its JERKY [​IMG]

    lay the meat  on your racks as the criss cross will hold it

     rotate racks but you will get heat loss

    don't smoke too much unless you want it REAL smoky

    temps vary from smoker to smoker so watch the product after 2-3 hours,3-4 hours ???
  5. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I was going to answer each of your questions but CrazyMoon answered all of the questions basically as I would have so CrazyMoon, thanks for saving me some typing. One comment.  You can pound if you want but imagine how long that would take depending how much you are making.  When I make jerky I normally do at least 15 pounds but normally more so I don't have the time to pound.  However I do have this little toy that works nicely.  I use it all of the time. 

    Let us know what you do and how it turns out.  Also most folks here love pictures so if you can, photograph your steps. 

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